Book Review – Raakshas

Author – Piyush Jha

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Story Premise –

A deeply intriguing and obscenely dark novel. Right from the start it manages to up the cringe level and you actually end up feeling for the boy who eventually turned out to be the serial killer. The built-up to the story manages to keep you hooked till the end even if you are the kind of reader who doesn’t like anything related to Gore and the likes.

A boy, whose birth brings about only sadness. Admonished by everyone since he’s held responsible for his mother dying in childbirth. He gets only rebuke from everyone around except his aunt – who despite all odds grates him like her own child.
She’s the only one who he feels safe with, but even that bond falls prey to the world’s negativity. His aunt’s husband,his ever neglecting father all play an important role in getting them away from each other.

The subsequent moving in with his father who makes it evident enough that his son is so unwanted, ends up  committing such unbearable atrocities that play a major role in shaping the boy’s personality and future.

The pace of the story is apt, crisply moves forward to how the boy grows up in the shadows of the fake god-man and how he frees himself from his clutches. The betrayal he gets from his aunt which turns out to be the last nail in the coffin.

There’s a parallel storyline about the second character in the story – Maithili Prasad – the ACP Mumbai who has been assigned the task to reign in this serial killer before more dead bodies pile up. The description about her story though started a bit abrupt, build up in a very nice manner.

The eventual cat and mouse chase is a gripping nail biting tale which engrosses the reader well.

High Points –

Gripping storyline and nice pace.
Defined characters, you can actually feel you are watching their stories unfold before your eyes.
Though the detailed description of the boy’s harrowing childhood gives you a cringe, in my opinion that forms then crux of the storyline.
The suspense is present till the end in the right doses.
The climax. Surprising and apt.

Low Points –

The only time I felt a little confused and lost in the story was the entry of Ruzbeh, a subtly important character to build up to date the climax.

Characters –

1. Maithili Prasad – the ACP of Mumbai who’s assigned the task of finding the killer before he piles up more corpses. She has her own past which ultimately decided her course.

2. Raakshas – The Serial Killer. He’s indeed the antagonist. Yet you end up having a soft spot for him somewhere. Courtesy his growing up experiences.

As a whole, this is a dark yet compelling story which can take a place in the must read list.

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