Anti-Social Network by Piyush Jha
The Book Blurb:
From the bestselling author of Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer, comes the third riveting installment in the Mumbaistan crime-thriller series.
When college students across Mumbai are murdered one after another in gruesome ways, Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch is called in. As Virkar investigates, he stumbles upon a ruthless gang of young, tech-savvy miscreants who use social networking sites and the Internet for blackmail and sextortion. But how are the two cases linked? And who is the mastermind behind these killings?
As the case grows murkier, the computer-challenged Virkar finds himself greatly out of his depth, chasing a killer who always seems to be one step ahead, and a group that soon trains its sights on him. He must race against time to unmask the gang and to find the murderer before his reputation is ruined forever.
Thick with suspense and layered with grit, Anti-Social Network brings to you Inspector Virkar’s toughest case yet.
It starts like a chor-police run and chase in the backdrop of psychotic series of murders, but grows to something more involving cyber crime, identity theft, drug addicts where certain informants, a hacker and a psychologist (counsellor) help the Inspector to solve the puzzle.
Even though I haven’t read the first two books in the series, I quite enjoyed reading this one. All the books are standalone books, except a single character, Inspector Virkar, who appears as the protagonist in all of them. He is a witty, irreplaceable central character of the novel. Like a Dan Brown book wouldn't be as much a thriller without Robert Langdon; and a C.I.D show would be a flop without ACP Pradyumn; the world of Mumbaistan wouldn’t be fun without Inspector Virkar. I loved some of his Hindi punch lines and Marathi ‘muhawre’s.
The best part about the book is that you won’t lose interest. The chapters are short, you are spared from lengthy descriptions, and the last paragraph of every chapter ensures you turn the page to the next. It does justice to the genre of crime thriller. Among the characters I liked Usman teacher, his network of ‘khabri’s who gave precious nuggets of information to the Inspector. Drug addict, computer genius Richard was another attention grabbing character. I liked the way the mystery and plot took us through so many locales in Mumbai- the busy Bora bazaars, dark by-lanes, nightclubs, the Willingdon college, the Marine drive, cafes and restaurants, dingy apartments under constructions, ghost towns, Jain temples -almost every unknown nook and corner of Mumbai, which we non residents do not have the slightest idea about. But some of the plot-lines, and character details gave the feeling ‘read that somewhere’ and ‘seen that somewhere’. I can’t say there was much uniqueness in the story. I could easily guess the final part of the mystery.
Priced at 195 INR, this 195 page book from Rupa Publications is good for a one time read. It would definitely provide a thrilling experience during a long boring train journey. My rating for this Indian thriller would be 3.5 out of 5.
I would like to thank The Tales Pensieve, for giving me the privilege of becoming a part of the Book Review Programme.
About the Author:
Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of the bestselling novels in Mumbaistan series. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country’s largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikander. He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.