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December 24, 2014

Book Review - 179 : Catching the Departed

Author : Kulpreet Yadav
Publisher : 4 Hour books / Tara India Research Press

They say to grab attention of the readers in a thriller/mystery genre, make the murder happen as quickly as possible. Kulpreet does this within the first 3 pages and that's what intrigues you about the book straight away. As the book proceeds, the plot thickens and even though writing wavers in the middle portions and plot slips, the writing is competent enough to take you through the end.

A ghastly murder in the dead of night at a faraway village in the capital's underbelly sets the motion in 'Catching the Departed' - the first in the Andy Karan trilogy. Andy Karan is an investigative journalist with a mission. Monica, his boss at the New Delhi Today magazine, assigns him to unravel the mystery behind the death of a local lawyer. Slowly, Andy Karan embarks on a life-threatening journey that lands him into the centre of a much bigger conspiracy.

The character of Andy Karan, also ex-Army personnel in the book, is modelled upon one of Mahabharata's legendary warriors and often misunderstood soldiers, Karan. Much like the hero from the epic, Andy refuses to walk the path of corruption and politics. He embodies all qualities of a patriot who is willing to die upholding the virtues of truth, friendship and love; but can never bring himself to live a borrowed life dictated by someone else's terms and conditions.

The author shows an eye for detail in setting up the countryside scenes and there are couple of wonderfully etched out scenes when Andy first starts his interrogation. The story pace is brisk, punctuated with short, saucy sentences and keeps you turning pages to know what lies ahead. As the story progresses, motivations of antagonists and other additional information appear which at times is hazy but do keep the book at a tight leash.

The minor quibbles about the book are what ultimately does not take it to the next level. The female character hardly justify the presence - Monica's presence is mere ornamental and even though at one point she does set off things in motion, it is hardly convincing. The editing with respect to grammatical and punctuation mistakes could have been much better. I also could not get my head around the Vietnam and North Korean connection for Andy. The unnecessary time shifts also creates somewhat confusing experience.

Barring these nitpicking's, Catching the departed is a competent thriller in the first of Andy Karan series. I am going with 3/5 for this one. I hope to read two more books in this series in the future.

‘Catching the Departed by Kulpreet Yadav’ was shortlisted for the DNA-Hachette “Hunt for the Next Bestseller” prize

[He is also the founder-editor of Open Road Review ]

[Earlier review of Yadav books : India Unlimited here and A Waiting Wave here ]

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