Book Review : City of Death by Abheek Barua

  • ISIN: 9788193237212
  • Genre: Fiction / Crime Thriller
  • Publishers: Juggernaut Books
  • Price: Rs. 399/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)
On a muggy monsoon afternoon Sohini Sen gets a call from the chief minister's office. A young woman from a well-connected family in the city has been found brutally murdered. Sen is brought back from a bureaucratic wasteland to the thick of the action.

An intelligent and intuitive investigator who struggles with addiction and depression, Sen is ill-prepared for an investigation that is a political minefield with TV anchors and tabloids baying for blood. As various interested parties, armed with power and money, try to manipulate the murder enquiry. Sen is forced to question the very possibility of justice.

A moody atmospheric novel that is as much about the Indian city and the dark depth of the human mind as it is about crime and investigation, City of Death marks the debut of a brilliant new voice.

Behind the book


About the author  

ABHEEK BARUA has been with the financial sector for Twenty-Four years and is currently the Chief Economist of HDFC Bank. City of Death is his first novel.

Me thinks

The blurb of the book along with the cover make it a perfect choice according to me as I sit with hot hazelnut coffee on a rainy afternoon to start this book. The first two pages and am glued. What a terrific beginning, the types that would immediately grab the attention of the reader, give you goosebumps and promising to thrill you till the last word. I bring along some snacks and pray silently to stay undisturbed as I intend to finish this book. In my mind I am expecting a page turner, edge of the seat thriller sorts that will have a nail biting climax. I turn pages with a lot of expectations... only to be disappointed.

What was a promising start fizzles out somewhere in the middle with no depth in the narration. Crime thrillers usually need layers, loads of them. In everything ranging from the detailing of scenes to the characters and that is where this book loses out. The characters are not connectable, you don't understand their thoughts because of which you don't warm up to their actions. In the end you are left bewildered, a feeling nobody wants after reading a crime thriller. The story is written in present tense conveying a sense of urgency to the readers, but having the flashbacks/back story also in present tense ended up confusing me at a lot of places. Set in Kolkata sadly this book has no places or descriptions which bring alive that place for a reader. This could be a conscious decision of trying not to bind a story to a place and give it a universal appeal but then perhaps even naming a city should have been avoided. 

However I would like to add here, the storytelling skills of the author are exemplary. There are a quite a few paragraphs where his writing shows promise. And this book does deserve to be called a decently written piece of thriller. I would recommend this to readers for the brilliant plot it has.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Nadiad no chevdo - a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, one that is tongue- tantalizing!



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