An.Al - The Origins
ISBN - 978-81-7234-470-2
FIRST PUBLISHED - August 2013
PUBLISHERS - FINGERPRINT!
PAGES - 264
GENRE - Splatterpunk
BINDING - Paperback
SOURCE - Author
AUTHOR - Athul DeMarco
SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]
There are legends and myths and fables and parables. And the tale of the man with two heads is one of them. And here is where it all begins...
When the proverbial shit hits the roof and when the invitation to play is a gift-wrapped, mutilated body of a stray dog stuffed inside a gunnysack, you know that the game is serious and dangerous.
When the city's most powerful couple's only son goes missing in broad daylight, that too from right under their noses, you know that they boy will never live to tell his tale.
When you have been loved a little too much by your father, you know that your mind will twist itself into an unimaginable ugliness. The only way to stop the madness now, is to understand it. To let it play...to play along with it. And to hope when the time comes, the knife finds a sweet spot.
This is where it all began...this is the story of the man with two heads.EXCERPT -
Andy: "You drinking again?"
FL Speaks - Almost 2 years ago, the author of this novel sent me a draft. 68 pages of non-stop, fast paced blur of a story. After reading the draft, I knew this was going to be one scorcher of a ride.
That draft is now complete. It is now called An.Al - The Origins.
*quick clearing of that thought*
When you pick up a book, you either pick it up because of 3 reasons.
1. The title or author
2. The cover art
3. The blurb
For me, the author is known. The title is very suggestive. And while I looked at the cover art, the blurb sealed the deal. You know you're going to finish it at one go.
Talking of characters, Andy and Alfie has to be the most ridiculous, smartass and incredible-pain-in-others-ass conjoined twins. This book is about them. It is also about Anita. Or more correctly, La Femme Anita. Shit, that girl is a nightmare and a wonder with a switchblade. If you ever want to see your innards in detail, you know who to call. 2-3 more books involving Anita and the nations mother's will tell their kids, "so jao bete, Anita aa jayegi". She is the female version of Dexter. Only more deranged.
Andy and Alfie are your amateur sleuths. Kids who are considered freaks and have more time in their hands than they probably should. They are inseparable (quite literally) and yet as different as (whats the fucking term??) Andy is the quiet one, the lesser of the necessary evils. He is Watson to Alfie's Sherlock, Joey to his Dennis. And fucking always bickering with each other.
From killing people on whims to solving cold case files, from cannibalistic pleasures to drinking milk in a pub, this book will take you on a roller-coaster ride of what-the-fuck-was-that. Incredibly fast paced coupled with hilarious dialogues to gory action, the chase to who comes on top is on.
The only thing that kinda bothered me was the lack of depth of the characters. When picturizing Andy and Alfie in my head, all I could think was one had a mop of long hair and beard while the other liked to be as clean shaved as a woman's back. I'm hoping Andy and Alfie will be back and probably we will get to know them better. Anita would've been another fantastic anti-hero if we knew her better. We all know her beginning and we have seen bit of the middle years. Yet you can never have enough of her.
We readers are never satisfied. You can only cram as much in a story without going way overboard. The line held, the dominos didn't topple and the book ended in a frenzy. Just like it began. Making you wanting more.
Not everyone would like this book, to be honest. Those whose daily diet involves doses of the likes of Durjoy Dattas and their soppy, ass licking so-called romance will probably be disappointed that sex scenes are missing. Others will probably be floored with this one. This book is what new-age Indian authors should read for some originality. [Although the case of the landlord was extremely Agatha Christie-esque]
Nevertheless, buy the book. Love it or hate it, try something new. Maybe there is an Anita in you (hopefully not).
Athul aka @Zennmaster has finally delivered on his debut. The language is a shade more controlled than what he tweets. How he managed to keep his ball-scratching, bowel-moving vocabulary away from his novel is unfathomable.
Here's to hoping we get to see more of Andy and Alfie.
My Rating - 4 stars
PRICE - INR 250/-