Piyush Jha'S Raakshas

4:14:00 PM

Author:Piyush Jha
Title:Raakshas
Westland
295 INR
review copy via writersmelon


                Piyush Jha is one of my favourite desi writers.Though not of high literary value, almost all his books have been national best-sellers.When it comes to writing fast paced,paisa-vasool thrillers, there aren't many Indian writers who can give him a run for his money!His latest work 'Raakshas' is no different.This book which traces the life of India's No 1 serial killer is undoubtedly an interesting read.
              The plot is pretty generic.A serial killer is creating havoc in the city.Enter Maithili Sharma,the ACP who is determined to contain the reign of terror unleashed by the 'Raakshas'.But pretty soon,the hunter becomes the hunted and Maithili becomes his next 'target'!
              As a book blogger,I have had the opportunity to read and review quite a number of 'serial-killer' stories.Though many of them have been decent enough works of fiction,what makes 'Raakshas' a cut above the rest is Jha's attention for detail and the strong back-story that he has given for his protagonist and antagonist.Most of the serial-killer thrillers follow a set pattern, the crime-the chase-the final confrontation.Jha has been bold enough to defy this conventional pattern of story telling.The novel opens with the birth of the 'Raakshas' and depicts his troubled childhood.Though illogical and unconvincing at times,it's difficult for the average reader to not to feel sorry for the harrowing experiences that the killer had to suffer as an innocent child.It's this detailing that makes this work different from the run-of-the-mill serial killer tale.
              The writing is competent and the language is pretty functional and devoid of lengthy,pretentious prose.The characters are three dimensional and having shades of grey.Kudos to the writer for not portraying the protagonist as an epitome of all virtues.Likewise,the characterization of the killer is also very well done.Infact for me, the book worked more as a brilliant work of character study than a fast paced thriller.There are enough twists and turns happening at regular intervals which keeps the reader hooked to the proceedings.The cover design is also decently done though it would have been better if they had done away with that cheesy tag-line!(The book also has a bonus section about the lesser known serial-killers).
              On the downside,there are atleast half a dozen plot twists which feel contrived and even illogical.For instance,Maithili's confrontation with the 15 year old drug peddler and it's aftermath (spoiler alert!) is far from convincing.But these minor flaws apart,'Raakshas' is a work which is truly worth your time and money.

Verdict-Worth Buying. I'm giving 3.5 out of 

-nikhimenon

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