Published On: August 5th 2015
Publishers: Bloody Good Book and Westland Books
“You are in real, real danger.” – A school teacher gets a creepy warning in his mailbox. Seven days later, he murders eleven of his students. Two months later, he is gunned down in broad daylight by an obscure militant outfit. Justice served. The nation pacified. Case closed.
But not for two crime reporters. Seeking redemption through this case are Prakash and Seema, ace journalists but broken individuals. As they follow the story, they are led to the ominous wilds of Bandhavgarh where an eerily similar massacre had occurred eight years ago. Little do they know that they have stirred up a hornet’s nest.
One by one their leads start turning up in body bags and they are chased by assassins at every corner. Soon they realize that they are pitted against evil powers pervading the business and political DNA of the country, with an unbelievably sinister agenda. People who are about to let Prakash and Seema know how brutal they can be.
I love thrillers and when I came to know about the concept of first crowd curated novel I couldn’t pass the chance of reading it. ‘Brutal’ lives upto its name the moment one begins reading the novel, including the prologue which fully justifies its presence. I was completely invested in the story from the first page. Though this review is coming a bit late, I had finished the novel in one sitting.
A school teacher, Nitin Tomar, opens fire on a class of students, killing many, and is captured. While going to the court, he is gunned down by a sharpshooter in front of the hysterical crowd and media. Why is Nitin gunned down when he was already on death or life sentence? The questions reverberate in the minds of the readers as well as the main protagonists.
Prakash and Seema are journalists attached with different news agencies and are good friends. Unknown to each other, they begin investigating Nitin’s case pursuing different leads, risking their lives, unearthing the horrible facts behind the various murders and reach at the same point where they are ambushed once again by people driven to hide a blood curdling secret.
The plot becomes all the more complex as layers of suspense, a deadly assassin and external agencies right from RAW, IB, Mossad and independent Security Firm come into play. But the author has done an excellent job of weaving and integrating the sub-plots in the main plot, leaving the reader turning the pages.
The characters are real life and believable. Both Prakash and Seema are ambitious as well as, hardened professionals battling their own problems in life. Mr Satpathy has done immense justice with the supporting characters as well.
The narration is simple yet riveting and engaging and I am sure lots of research would have gone into coming up with such an incredible, complex storyline. The author painted just the right kind of pictures, be it of the warehouse, train station, village, hotels or the place where the grisly experiments were going on. Each scene was painted vividly in my mind.
My only grouse is that there were too many back stories explained, which slowed the pace and took me away from complete immersion. Mere mention of the sub-characters’ motivation would have been good enough to set the context.
All in all, a very promising debut. I recommend this book to all thriller lovers and look forward to the next one from Mr. Satpathy’s pen. Definitely an author to watch out for!
About the Author:
Uday Satpathy is an Information Technology Expert in the world of Healthcare and Life Sciences. He has a degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from one of the top B-schools in the country. Brutal, his first novel, was born out of a love for thrillers with intricate plots. He is a movie connoisseur, a cricket fanatic, a quizzing enthusiast and a travel freak. He has a special place in his heart for cooking as well.