A killer who believes himself to be Duryodhana the Kaurava prince, a female detective wrestling with her own inner demons, and five gruesome murders exposing the darker side of Kolkata. All the ingredients required for a nail-biting crime thriller are present in The Mahabharata Murders written by Arnab Ray.
One by one, the Pandavas fall.
Duryodhana claims to be reborn. In modern-day Calcutta.
A beautiful model. He cuts her open. His DRAUPADI
He hammers surgical needles into his SAHADEVA. The head of NAKULA he severs.
Will Detectives Ruksana Ahmed and Siddhanth Singh be able to keep him from his ARJUN, BHEEMA and YUDHISTHIRA?
Or will Duryodhana finally win?
Ruksana Ahmed is a homicide detective with the Kolkata police. Her turbulent past has sharpened her desire to be the best at what she does. At the same time the shadows in her personal life form the chinks in her armour. Ruksana is smart, incorruptible and immensely dedicated to her work. Siddhanth Singh, who looks more like a movie star than a policeman, is her partner, the calm to her storm. Pavitra Chatterji is a dashing young politician, the darling of the masses who has fast become synonymous with honesty and commitment to the people. These are the three main characters around whom the story unfolds.
There’s no beating about the bush and the reader is taken right into the first murder scene in the first page. The victim is named Draupadi by the deranged killer and she is killed in the most macabre manner. The pace is maintained at a slick tempo and no sooner do the detectives unearth a couple of leads than the next murder is committed. The police find tenuous links between the victims, but they keep going in circles because the killer is canny and stays one step ahead of them. Pavitra Chatterji has an extensive knowledge of the intricacies of the Mahabharata and he provides invaluable help to the two detectives but it is evident that he has a soft spot for Ruksana. The pace does not let up at any point and the momentum is maintained right to the end. Will Duryohana finally eliminate all the Pandavas and rewrite the epic story or will justice prevail ? Will Ruksana be able to remain unaffected by the events in her personal life and manage to nab the killer before he reaches his Yudhistira ?
The Mahabharata Murders is a well-written book with a very interesting premise. Arnab has created complex characters who have their own fetishes, some harmless and some extremely twisted. Each of the victims have intriguing lives which unfortunately has not been explored much. I feel that adding layers in the form of their backstories would have enriched the story. Arnab tantalizes the reader with glimpses of exciting sidetracks, but they aren’t completed. In the interests of keeping it tight the author has sacrificed some interesting turns that the story could have taken. I must admit that the ending too did not give me the closure that I look for in a crime thriller. However The Mahabharata Murders does come through in terms of plot and characterisation.
Thanks to Juggernaut for sending me this book as a part of their Blogger program, in return for an unbiased review.