Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Remember Death by Ankush Saikia: Book Review

I had reviewed Ankush Saikia's Dead Meat a while back. This review is about the sequel (in some sense) to that book. The main character is retained, Arjun Arora, a detective operating on his own (with help from many people on the side) with a troubled past, handling many relationships and juggling his cases with what comes across as very human. Unlike, the traditional detective novels where the detective gets a flash of an insight with some very obscure connection to the case, Arora has to struggle most of the time with his leads. But eventually everything ties up well with his case. The credit for writing a very believable detective novel goes to Ankush, and I wish to see more of Arora from the writer.

The story revolves around a mysterious murder, where the suspect goes missing. The suspect, Anges Pereira criss-crosses across the country until Arora finds her in Manali. Arora was assigned the case by what seemed even at first glance to be a very shady character. On an impulse, Arora takes up the case and even after locating the girl, he decides not to give her up to his employer. This turns out to be very significant and many threads start from this, when Arora's life as well as Agnes' comes under threat. Eventually, one gets the whole story which until the end is quite difficult to guess.

The rest of the story develops as Arora tries to get to the mystery of what lead Agnes to her fate, and how her past could be tied up to an old Bollywood actress. This task leads Arora throughout Delhi, where most of the story is set and also to nearby Lucknow, where he obtains some vital information. The lively setting of each scene is something that will stay with the readers for a long time. For someone, who has visited Delhi a few times in the past few months; this book was very fun to read. The familiar and common Delhi places that one encounters as the story progresses makes it feel more intense and at the same time leads credence to the job that Arora does, at times very deftly.

The build-up of the characters, at times seems unnecessary but eventually most of that ties up to the story at hand. One needs to have read the earlier book in the series, to get an idea about Arora's personal life; but this is no hindrance to the reader, as Aror reminiscences quite often about his past. Many familiar places, for someone like me crops up from time to time, and made me smile quite often; making mental notes to visit them again.

The book was quite entertaining, and is quite difficult to put down at times. The copy-editing, which I complained about in my last review has been fixed to a great extend, however the occasional missing Oxford comma here and there sometimes is irritating. Ankush, like in his previous book has mixed quite a lot in this one as well. There is drama with a famous Bollywood actress involved, there is gossip with what happened to her and how, there is a slight tinge of romance between the two main characters which seems quite natural, but above all there is mystery throughout which makes this an excellent read.

Title: Remember Death
Author: Ankush Arora
Pages: 423
Publisher: Penguin India
Price: Rs. 399
Rating: 4/5