Saturday, February 13, 2016

Vish Dhamija - Bhendi Bazaar

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DCP Rita Ferreira is roused untimely from her sleep to investigate a murder.  The murder is unusual.  The body has been ripped with a knife and shot through the head, yet the man has a beatific smile on his face.  Another murder follows soon on its heels and Rita knows she has a serial killer on her hands.

There are hardly any clues despite hard work by her team to discover some link.  All they know is that the dead people called up some number asking for a call girl.  Is the perpetrator of the crimes a man, or a woman?  There are mixed clues regarding this as well.

Rita assembles a team of able officers and is helped by her boss Joint Commissioner of Police, Vinay Joshi.  The Commissioner, Sanjay Saxena aka Sexy, is more fond of projecting himself as the dashing policeman and will not be happy if his team does not solve these murders soon.

Rita keeps running into blank walls, as the killer is adept at covering his tracks.  The only clue she has is that the murdered men are fond of call girls.  On top of that the press, or rather, one particular journalist is promising to be a real pain in the neck for her.  Anita Raizada from NEWS of the DAY pesters her with questions and even tries to get pally with her junior Jatin Singh.

Joshi ropes in Dr. Ash Mattel from London, who is a crime psychologist who is willing to help with the profiling of the criminal which can help the police in tracking him.  Ash is also of the opinion that Rita has a serial killer on her hands, and gives her tips on where to look for him.

The book is racy like a crime thriller should be.  It exposes the dirty underbelly of Mumbai.  The book also details the tedious research that the police have to do to solve a crime. It also looks into the mind of the criminal and examines the factors that make him a criminal.  Some wrong turns taken by people in their lives turn them or their progeny into hardened criminals.

The language of the book is rather colloquial.  But I expect a thriller cannot be written like a literary masterpiece and also resonate with the masses.

There were times when the pace flags a bit when the police seem to be running in circles and coming up against blank walls.  But then things happen and the pace picks up again.  I had kind of figured out whodunit, and I must say it was very clever.

This book makes a perfect airport read. 


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