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August 28, 2013

Book Review - 131 : Fire in the Rain

Author : Surendra Mohanty

Publisher : Future books

A serial killer is on the loose. He surfaces in one metropolis after another, leaving behind a trail of murders. He masquerades as respectable citizens in different cities – a naval officer in Mumbai and Hyderabad, a film director’s brother in Kolkata, restaurateur in Bangalore, racehorse buff in Pune – and targets single working women. ACP Kale is desperate to catch the elusive killer before he strikes again, but he has no clue except that the killer invariably strikes on an ominous day – Friday the thirteenth, and hires luxury cars to date his victims. One of his quarries, the beautiful Richa finally tames him.

It is difficult to build any excitement for a novel when through its blurb, foreword and preface; the story and climax has already been revealed. It even more criminal to do so in a serial killer thriller novel. It becomes extremely difficult to muster any courage to build suspense since you are aware exactly how this is going to end. You just wait and see how it will happen.

Book being self published is full of spelling and grammatical errors and if not for genuine noble intentions of the author and some precise research work done on serial killers, this book would have been a complete disaster. Coming off a horrible book cover, the novel maintains a brisk pace and takes the reader through various cities while committing crimes. But we never seem to catch hold of the motivations of the killer nor the sense of urgency with which ACP kale approach the criminals. It sets off on a repetitive mood on every 13th and comes off as completely contrived.

There are multiple loopholes in the narrative and revealing them will spoil the fun (if any!) of reading this book - how conveniently police moves at each location, how even being in different city at times Kale orders other police departments, how easily suspect lists are reduced to just two persons and most importantly, the motive of the murders is so amateurish, you got to demand money for time invested in this book.

The only saving grace was how author builds up the psychological profile of the killer with the help of a friend who helps ACP kale after every murder. There is some decent research being put in by the author to profile the criminal mind of a serial killer and in the end, are the best bits of an otherwise, disappointing novel.

I am going with 2/5 for Surendra Mohanty's 'Fire in the Rain'. More character development, slower pace to solve cases and building up intrigue are they key stones for a serial killer novel. The author touches them but only a superficial level. Hope things can be improved in the next edition.

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