22 January, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Sane Psychopath

*** Special Feature - January 2019 ***

About the Book:

Are some crimes unpardonable? 
A young lawyer is about to find out. 
It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning. 
Until a man decided otherwise. 
And left an entire city horrified . . . scared . . . angry . . . baying for blood. 

This is the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured. 

In this case of Shanker Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident. 

Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande?

Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:

Like a huge majority of Punekars, Varun had no qualms about breaking the law when it came to helmets while driving a two-wheeler. He felt ashamed of this sometimes but it was his opinion that the highest court of the land had no business making helmets compulsory.

Pune had the highest number of two-wheelers in India in the absence of good public transport. The helmet rule was simply too inconvenient for too many people to be practically enforceable. Sure, riding without a helmet was risky but like smoking, people had a right to taking a risk, so long as it was confined to themselves only. Not wearing a helmet didn’t pose a risk to anyone but the rider.

However, unlike Punekars, he didn’t break any other traffic rule. Least of all that of talking on the cell-phone while driving. So when his mobile began ringing, as he rode to court on his scooter, Varun didn’t take the call immediately. Could it be Suryakant Palkar, he wondered nervously. It was well past nine. By the time he stopped at the traffic signal the cell had stopped ringing. He fished the mobile out of his pocket to take a look and it started ringing again. To his relief, it wasn’t Palkar. It was Nakul.
     “Hullo. Yes, Nakul?”
     “Where are you, Varun?” Nakul’s voice sounded tense.
     “On the way to the court. I am near Shivajinagar crossing.”
     “Don’t come to the court, Varun.” It was almost an order.
     “What do you mean? I have some work there, Nakul.”
     Nakul voice was urgent and anxious. “Just listen to me and don’t come to court today.”
     Varun felt uneasy. “Why not, Nakul?”
     “Because the bar association and Maharashtra Swabhiman Sena have organized a demonstration against you here,” Nakul blurted out after momentary hesitation.
“Things might get ugly. Everyone seems to be in a very aggressive mood. Stay away, Varun . . . just listen to me.”

Varun felt a chill in his bones. Suddenly he heard a cacophony of honks and engines revving. The light had turned to green. As he scrambled to put his phone in his pocket and move his scooter ahead, it stalled. The honks got shriller and impatient and he heard people swearing as they drove past him. He pressed the ignition again and mercifully the scooter re-started, but his mind was in tumult as he drove ahead. The court premises was less than half a kilometre away.

Should he proceed or heed Nakul’s emphatic advice? He had never thought of himself as an intrepid soul, but it disturbed him to know how anxious he was feeling now. Yet, inexorably, he neared the court premises. Even from a distance he could see a large gathering of lawyers standing with placards and shouting slogans. 
‘Varun Gupte stop being the devil’s advocate’ one placard read while another declared ‘Some crimes deserve no defence’. Varun gaped at the third one: ‘Hang Lande, boycott Gupte’. 
He also heard the slogans as he came within earshot— full-throated shouts of ‘Varun Gupte, shame, shame’ engulfed Varun. Were they going to lynch him? Would they start kicking and beating him any moment? He looked around for a friendly, sympathetic face. None was to be seen. Where was Nakul? Where were the lawyers dragging him?

About the Author:

Salil Desai is an author, columnist, and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015), and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and
Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book.
An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatized management training videos (www.relivingindia.
com) are much appreciated in the corporate world. He also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story
and scenario design, screenplay writing and film-making.
Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in
Denmark, hosted by the Danish Centre for Writers & Translators in June 2016.

Stalk the Author:
Website * Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series * Goodreads

Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of The Sane Psychopath.

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