Title: Murder in a Minute
Author: Shouvik Bhattacharya
‘Murder in a Minute’ is a thriller set in the picturesque town of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. Needless to say, the action kick starts with a murder. The victim is Esha Arora, a beautiful young woman who is also the director of the Arora Cements. She is found dead in her own room in her house.
When a young woman is found lifeless in a pool of her own blood, everyone is convinced that it is her college sweetheart who murdered her. The victim’s step-brothers, Rishabh and Arya, embark on a journey to unearth the truth, a journey riddled with fallacies and conspiracies, planted intentionally. What connection is there between a missing blue envelope, a misplaced sweater and stray footprints in a room. Could those people they thought they knew so well be hiding dark secrets about their past? Or did their dead sister have more to hide than they imagined?
To be honest, I was not much aroused by the blurb. It is only after reading a review of this book that I got excited enough to finally pick it up. And it turned out to be a very engrossing thriller. It kept me literally hooked up from the first to the last page. There is so much to be discovered even in the last pages.
The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. There is a long list of suspects and not even a single name is struck out from the list till the last part. A long list of suspects means a lot of characters. And every single character has something or the other to do with the murder and the circumstances that led to the murder. The author takes us into confidence and makes us believe that our guess is right and then dumps us in the last moment.
Although the main plot follows the murder investigation by the two brothers, there are a lot of flashback sequences. These past stories provide an insight into some of the characters’ mind. While some readers might not like this information about the characters, I feel the author has done the groundwork by putting in these stories.
But somehow these stories hamper the ultimate effect that a thriller has on the readers. I missed the nail-baiting suspense and intense action. Another factor contributing to this lack is the author’s tendency of putting in too many scene description. No doubt, the author has a beautiful writing style. These descriptions made me admire the prose at several points. But as the investigation goes on, we expect more of action and less of descriptions.
I haven’t read many thrillers by Indian authors so I cannot say if this one stands out or not. But the author is worth commending for writing a debut thriller full of so many elements. The last chapter clearly hints at a sequel. And now that we are well acquainted with the murderer’s motives and psychology, it would be interesting to see how the author frames everything. I also feel that the author has a lot of potential to explore the genre of Romance also.
My Rating: **** (3.75/5)
What do you think about this book? Do you find it interesting? And which is your favourite thriller by an Indian author? Do share your views. Thanks.
*I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed are entirely personal & unbiased.*