Monday, 11 February 2013

JFK by Jhangir Kerawala

Title : JFK
Author : Jhangir Kerawala
Genre : Mystery / Fiction
Publisher : Grey Oak / Westland Books
Pages : 225
My Rating : 8/10
Reviewed For :
MySmartPrice / IQRC 2013


JFK ... A dying man’s last word ... A plea, an accusation or a clue? That’s what the police couldn’t figure out. What they did know was that they had serial murders in broad daylight, and just one suspect with little motive ... Jatin F. Karunamoi, the dead man’s best friend. Jatin is no hero; he’s an unemployed 50-year-old, desperate to find a job. But his only hope for a life of dignity lies in him finding the real killer. As he jumps headlong into the investigation he has little idea what he’s getting into ... a hunt for the faceless murderer. Each step Jatin takes to unravel the mystery brings him closer to insanity as he encounters unimaginable situations, devious characters, intrigue and ... death. In this fast-paced thriller set in Kolkata, debut ant novelist Jhangir Kerawala brings the reader face-to-face with the ugly underbelly that looms large beneath the bright lights of urban India.

My Review :

When I first saw the title JFK, I like many others thought this book was about the late U.S. President & his assassination. But then on reading the blurb, I realised that it had nothing to do with any of it. In fact this was a very much desi read, set in the City of Kolkata and partly in Uttar Pradesh, promising to take the reader on a roller coaster of a ride with its fast paced thrill. A unique title, an intriguing blurb but a dull cover page set against the backdrop of Kolkata seemed a rather interesting combination.
In one word, JFK can be described as your good old “whodunit”!! It starts with the murder of an old man – Ram Prasad Yadav on a dark night. Next we know, our protagonist i.e. Jatin’s best mate – Manish is also killed the same night by the same gun. While the author keeps Ram Prasad’s identity & story under the wraps till we reach the middle of the read, Manish is described as a “decent man with no enemies”!! So who would want to kill a man like Manish?? This is what Jatin has to discover & this is his story as he juggles between trying to find out his best friend’s murderer & resolving his own personal issues. Manish in his last dying moments, gives a call to Jatin & utters just 3 alphabets – “JFK” which are the only clue that Jatin has. As Jatin decodes the clue & stumbles upon the many secrets of his otherwise best friend Manish, he realises that Manish was not what he seemed to be. Armed with this knowledge, Jatin sets out on a hunt which not only takes him to the real killer but also changes his entire perspective of life.
On first impressions, this story might seem like any other thriller but this one stands out in a number of ways. Firstly, the protagonist – Jatin is not your average young, dynamic hero. He is a  50-year old unemployed man who is dealing with what we can all relate to as mid-life crisis. Unemployment, financial crisis, family issues - amongst all these troubles, his only haven is his mate – Manish but when Manish is murdered, Jatin is thrown headlong into a maze of intricate lies & ghosts of pasts.
Secondly, the author has introduced this unique spin through which emerges the second protagonist – Ram Prasad Yadav. The readers get to know about his story & struggle only when they reach the middle of the plot but once it is out, it surpasses even Jatin’s struggle. The author has portrayed Ram Prasad Yadav in all shades from white to grey but the sheer grit & determination of this character & his lone crusade stands out amongst the rest. Thirdly, the author has outlined a plot that is very relatable, grounded & real. He has also addressed the various evils that still exist in our society despite its modernity & has tried to create an awareness. And lastly but perhaps the best part of this story was the fact that the author has highlighted a very important and basic human trait. All of us have hidden secrets, every person is not exactly the same as he portrays himself in front of the society, family or friends. Through almost every character, the author has played up this point.
Along with Jatin & Ram Prasad Yadav, the author has also included a motley of characters & various sub plots which add to the mystery of the plot. The author’s style of writing is reader –friendly, in other words, it is easy to read. However, there were a few sub-plots which were not concluded properly in the end and that left me unsatisfied. Also, the story seemed to drag in the last few pages, it could have been crispier. This is not a classic nor a glossy read but if you are looking for something that will keep you hooked till the end then JFK is the one for you. Kudos to the author for his debut effort.

(The review copy has been provided by MySmartPrice. This review is entirely my own personal & honest opinion. I do not receive any kind of payment or monetary gains for my review.)

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