Saturday, 4 July 2015

Book Review: Dead Meat by Ankush Saikia

Ankush Saikia is an Indian author hailing from the North East who has already authored a couple of books, which I have read and enjoyed. So, it was with some expectation that I started reading his latest offering 'Dead Meat', released early this year. And I was not disappointed. Saikia has written an absolutely delightful book which will keep readers hooked till the very end.

I am fan of detective fiction, having grown up reading the works of Doyle and Poe and it takes a lot to impress me. But Saikia has done a remarkable job in the detective/crime fiction genre and this book needs to be widely read. In this book, we are introduced to an unforgottebale character, Arjun Arora. A private investigator who has a dark past and a drinking problem, but who has the tenacity and nerves to survive the streets of Delhi in solving his cases for his clients.

Dead Meat revolves around a mysterious murder committed by a butcher and his associates in a gruesome manner. Arora relates this crime to the case of a disappearing accountant that he is working on. This leads him to many turns and bends into money laundering, cricket betting and a whole world of corporate greasing to please the people in power. Set in New Delhi, this book will entice any reader who has some idea of India's capital city. They will relate to the protagonist as he makes his way in the Delhi heat and horrible traffic and wish his success in every small step that he takes in solving his case.

One good point about Saikia and his work is that he makes the reader guess till the very end about the climax and even a seasoned reader will have a hard time placing his bets on who to blame. The development of characters in some cases are loose as there are many of them to keep track of, but it is to Saikia's credit that the reader never gets lost in them. The detailed descriptions of the scenes taking place in the story made me feel at times that I was actually with Arora solving the case. The absence of fancy action for most of the book makes it a believable affair and leads credence to Arora.

The only point that disappointed me was the copy-editing. In various places there were small mistakes and a missing word or two. But that was a tiny detail in this wonderfully authored work of fiction. For the past couple of years I have just stuck to reading some of my favourite authors in the fiction genre and Saikia is one of them. This book certainly stands out as one of the best I have read in a long time. I hope to see Arora in the future again, fighting off another case. The final pages of the novel certainly suggests that this will be the case. Finally, I feel that this book will make a wonderful movie version and hope some producer takes up this project.

Title: Dead Meat
Author: Ankush Saikia
Publisher: Penguin India
Price: Rs. 399
Rating: 4/5