Author-Suraj Prasad(Clark Prasad)
Published by-Niyogi Books
Source-Review Copy sent via Tales Pensieve
Tauted as a science fiction espionage thriller,Baramulla Bomber is Pharmacist- Turned-Author Suraj Prasad aka Clark Prasad’s first published Novel.It’s also the first book of the Svastik Trilogy.
The Plot-Frankly speaking,the story line of this book is pretty complicated.Moreover,the book also comes with a ‘warning’ and a ‘request’(believe me,it’s right there in the third page of the book!),urging the reviewers not to divulge the plot details of the book which can act as spoilers for potential readers.Anyways,I’ll try to make this as spoiler free as possible.The basic thread is something like this.Mansur Haider is an aspiring cricketer from Kashmir.Multiple intelligence agencies are tracking him.His girl friend is trying to locate her friends who went missing after an earthquake.There is the Sweedish Intelligence officer,Adolf who is investigating both these cases.Meanwhile there is also a powerful ancient weapon which is going to be unleashed on to the world.There are numerous sub plots also which are intended to spice up the proceedings.
The writing-The English is pretty basic which is now a norm for the ‘desi-thrillers’.There aren't many bland,purposeless,over long descriptions in the book which is a welcome relief.The narrative flows smoothly for most part.There aren’t many typos or grammatical errors in the book which itself is a great thing considering that this book is brought out by a relatively small/independent Indian publishing house.(I’m sorry to say this but I must admit that of late, I have been reviewing quite a number of desi English books which are ridden with innumerable typos and grammatically incorrect sentences,majority of them released by small time publishers )
The Characters- The protagonists are not only well etched out but their deeds are also more believable and convincing.Though the book has got quite a number of characters,the author has made sure that none of them go un- noticed .Be it Haider,the Kashmiri cricketer who has got big dreams or Abhimanyu Kashyap,the man with the big ‘secret’ or the Home Minister(Agasthya Rathore) with Sinister plans,all are three dimensional characters who are integral parts of the story.
1.Originality-Full marks to the author for trying something that is daringly distinct and strikingly original.I don’t think many science fiction spy thrillers set in India have come out till date.Baramulla Bomber is just that and is quite a decent one at that!
2.Well Researched,decently executed-The author has put in a lot of effort in getting his facts right.Since the book has references to real life incidents,history and sects,even a small inaccuracy/goof up from the part of the author might have resulted in the whole effort ending up as an amateurish,laughable attempt.Hats off to the author for his hard work.Besides, Prasad has also put across some really nice thoughts which is relevant in modern times.
3.The Cover design-It’s said that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.But nothing can do more good to a book than an awesomely designed cover page.I absolutely loved the cover design of this book and believe it’s really cool!What do you think?
4.Informative!-Reading this book was also a learning experience for me.I could get to know about a lot of scientific facts/historical events through the book.But again,too much of anything is not a good thing, na?
1.The Writing style-Clark Prasad’s writing style may not be liked by many.Though the author tries his best to keep the author hooked to the proceedings,his self indulgence and over- detailing plays the spoilsport at times.The pacing,I feel is also a bit uneven.
2.It’s Confusing!-The initial portions of the book is confusing,to say the least.The reader is bombarded with a lot of information/historical facts at one go which may irritate even the most patient reader.As far as I am concerned,the most important part of any novel/work of fiction is it’s first half (i.e,the first 75-100 pages or so)If the book doesn’t engage or interest me even during the start,there is a high chance of me putting it down.I fear the confusing first half of the book will have the same effect on atleast a few readers.
3.Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth!-The main problem with this book is the writer’s over enthusiasm to pack in a lot of things in the same story.Suraj has tried to link too many true events/historical incidents ,mix it with ancient weapons,Vedas,Bible,QuantumPhysics,Politics,China,Pakisthan,Cricket,Kashmir,aliens(!) and as a result is unable to do full justice to any.Agreed,he has got a really creative mind which is pretty evident in his work.But why burden the reader with too much of information?
4.It’s not an easy read!-Okay,I don’t know whether that can really be termed a ‘negative’ but one thing is sure- if you are looking for a light/breezy read,this work is definitely not your cup of tea.Well,the problem is-‘Baramulla Bomber’ is no literary marvel either!
5.It’s lengthy!-The book is a bit lengthy.It’s not that I have any issues with lengthy or ‘big’ books.What is the point in stretching a story un- necessarily if it’s boring the reader in between?
6.Loose Ends-The plot has a good number of loose ends.Many things remain unexplained even at the end.I hope the author will clarify those things in the second instalment!
7.The Climax-Agreed,the book is a suspense thriller which has got interesting twists and an unexpected ending.But the big question is,does the suspense satisfy you?To be honest,I must say it’s underwhelming-especially the part related to Mansur Haider.
Verdict-Baramulla Bomber by Clark Prasad is a decent thriller.You may either enjoy it thoroughly or put it down mid way because of it’s ‘confusing plot’.I am giving it a 2.9 out of 5.A little bit of editing would have made it a brilliant page turner. Rating-2.9/5