18 January, 2016

#BookReview :: In The Shadows of Death by Sourabh Mukherjee

Sheetal Mehra, HR executive with Crescent Technologies, is found murdered in the toilet of a Kolkata hotel after an office party. ACP Agni Mitra finds out about her adulterous ways as he starts investigating into the murder. The miffed husband, a lecherous boss, one of her many jilted admirers – anyone could have killed her. The investigation is stuck in myriad perplexing questions when the murder of Meenakshi Menon, a Director with Altius Finance, hits the headlines. As more murders rock the city, it is not too long before the battle of wits with his unseen adversary turns personal for Agni. A ruthless killer walking the rain-washed streets of Kolkata. A detective battling storms brewing in his private life. Human relations infested with deceit. A generation struggling to cope with fast-changing ambitions and desires. In the Shadows of Death is a gripping page-turner with a heart-rending emotional core. 

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Kolkata is my hometown and I am always eager to read books set there. It makes me feel closer to Kolkata, no matter where I am. And when a mystery book is set in Kolkata, it is like the icing on the cake. 

When Sheetal Mehra is found murdered in a hotel, it was a straightforward murder case that Agni Mitra had to solve. Soon enough Sheetal’s adulterous life is uncovered giving Agni quite a few suspects – the husband, the boss and a number of jilted lovers. Then a second body turns up and things are not so straightforward any more. When a third body turns up, one thing is clear – there is a serial killer on the loose. Or is it? What is the connection between the victims? Is the killer a psychopath on the loose who kills for fun or is he targeting specific people? And why is the killer making it so personal for Agni?

The protagonist is the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Agni Mitra. He along with his team takes on the responsibility of solving these murders. But it is not easy, especially for Agni Mitra. On one hand, the killer is meticulous in his methods giving the authorities very little to work with. On the other hand things are too close to home for Agni. The author has done a really good job of building up the character of Agni Mitra and for most parts I found that I liked the guy. But there was something (that I cannot put my fingers on) missing from his personality. I wished for a little more of ‘x-factor’ in him. It is the antagonist that the author has done a perfect job with. I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted the culprit to be caught or not for reasons that I cannot divulge in fear of spoiling the story for you. The plot of the story is well laid out. It is not a complex one but the author has managed to keep things entertaining by throwing in quite a few red herrings. Plus there is the factor of the author indulging his readers to take a second look at the modern urban lifestyle and relationship. The definitions have changed without us really realizing and not all changes are for good. The complexities of relationships have become more complex with time.

Overall, Sourabh Mukherjee definitely has a winner here. It is not perfect in every way but it is a really good one.

Review Copy received from Srishti Publishers

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