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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Brutal by Uday Satpathy

Title:  Brutal
Author:  Uday Satpathy
Publisher: Bloody Good Book/Westland
Genre: Thriller (Crime)
Date:  2015
Price: Rs.165
Pages: 297

Before I begin to write about this book, I would like to describe a very interesting concept in publication which is a venture called  "Bloody Good Book". Herein prospective authors have to submit their manuscripts online on, wherein it is then uploaded for public judgement. If readers vote for this book with high ratings, it is then published in association with Westland. Unlike a single minded review and decision of one editorial team which may be biased, here what matters is the opinion of the very people who will in the end but the book, yes you are right, the readers. Also since not many people would take the pains of reading a bad book thoroughly, the bad ones will just get eliminated. It is in my opinion, a huge encouragement for the writer as he /she connects directly with audience they have written for, right at the first step before investment of their time and energies into getting a verdict on their story. 

So let's see if the very people who have been thanked on the first few pages of the book "Brutal" for going through the book and voting for it, are in sync with our judgement. Brutal as is clear from the blood stained cover-page is a  crime-thriller. Prakash a seasoned journalist is back from a break to cure his trauma from a previous mission. As if that is not enough his first day at work gets him involved in a case where a school teacher murders children in broad daylight and is to be tried. He is killed by a sharp shooter. The case that seems easy becomes murkier as he tries to go deep within the layers of investigation. On a parallel lane his colleague Seema, for whom he always had a soft corner holds on to another part of this stringy affair. Her hunt reaches to a doctor too scared to face daylight and evidence found leads her to the bizarre killings in Bandhavgarh national park and missing college students. Thus the author in alternate chapters develops the story on two parallel, unrelated lanes. It is a very clever strategy as it takes the of a reader to a point of conclusion, only to be changed by the next chapter as the story has moved in a different direction, like discovering unfitting puzzle pieces. The author slowly reveals the plot like removing layers in different parts of the dusty frame and the picture is clear only much later when he discloses it all. This in many ways is a more successful strategy than the one used by even best selling writers like Ashwin Sanghi in The Krishna Key, it being completely unpredictable.

However in the last part where the story is to be concluded his naivete takes over and he doesn't utilize the full potential of the very situation that emerged from the story he spun. Thus we have an engaging story which however could have been an entire mystery series, much to the loss of both the reader and the author. Having said that, what is commendable also is that the story remains crisp throughout and no unnecessary tangents are exploited just for flavour and that to a seasoned reader is a treat. In conclusion, it is undeniable that Uday Satpathy is original and an equal to some of the leading stalwarts in Indian crime thriller genre, but if he chooses to extract the full potential of his plots, we can have the equivalent of Clifton Chronicles coming from him. Wish him lots of John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer spirit, motivation and thinking. Waiting for the next book, nope I am sure it will be a series from him.

Rating:  3.5 stars on 5 (Being extremely strict)

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1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting review. I think a Brutal Good story is one that is not sugar coated and has been put as the things have happened. One doesn't try to romanticise it but reports honestly, brutally honestly.