Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Book Review : Pound Of Flesh by Mukul Deva

The master of thrillers is back with another spellbinding and chilling story, as is his habit. And, again as per me {by now irritating for me, sorry Mukul Bhai}, with a completey different storyline, and a completely different narrative style. This is now getting quite cumbersome and irritating – with Mr Deva, you just cannot tell what the content is going to be, unlike other authors, for whom you can safely predict what the basic structure of the story will be. Not so with our master thriller writer, who manages to come out with a totally unpredictable story yet again!


 Image result for pound of flesh mukul deva


The Plot
Deceptively simple. A girl gets kidnapped, lets find her. And that, my very dear friends, in the beginning, the whole as well as the  the end of the story.  A simple {well, ok – maybe not quite so simple} chase for a damsel in distress!


The Twist
Now that is a different story. Oh boy-o-boy, is that a different matter altogether! I have half a mind to close the review right here, and leave you all befuddled and confused, - or maybe consumed by desire! Let me confuse the hell out of you some more now : there is, technically, no twist in the story whatsoever. None. Zilch. Nada. Cipher. Zero. The story is very predictable, verrrry predictable. But then, why do I have a subtitle called “twist” in the review? In my 143 reviews so far, I have never done this, isn’t it? Why then did I do this? {Find out for yourselves, trust me – stop reading at this point and move on}


Still with me? Ch, some people don’t listen to good advice. You have been warned. You see, there is a twist in the story. Yup, there is both no twist as well as a twist in the story – and that is the genius of Mukul Deva. This is a straightforward hunt story, a simple hunt for a girl, a lady. That is it. There is nothing else to the story, and this is a genre and story that has been told, dramatized and picturised innumerable times by innumerable authors; so much so that you would have thought that there is nothing else to tell in the story! But then, you probably did not reckon with the skill of this author.


Apparently, the missing girl is one of several who are missing, with no trace; but in the entire story, the focus is totally on that one girl, with zero complications for the most part. Instead of mixing up the story with embellishments that lead nowhere, the author has chosen to focus on one aspect, and one aspect only, with a single minded devotion and commitment. The story is littered with hints, a para at times with other missing girls; along with a side racket of organ trade. But the focus is completely on that one girl’s hunt.


And that is the twist- I told you, there is a twist and no twist  at the same time. {Spoiler Alert}. Again, you can tell this story from the focus of the hunter, or the hunted, or the villain; usually it is focused on the hunter, with strategically placed sections on what the hunted is going through. The Villain features in fillers only. Not so in this book; the entire focus is not on the girl at all; it is on the Villain, his options, problems, views, growing tension, responses. This is balanced out by the main protagonist, with the story of the hunt being interleaved with the scenes that are based on the Villain. The girl and her problems are the smallest section.


What this achieves is a near breakneck speed of narration, as tension builds up; the near complete vanishment {Oxfordy peepul, new word for you} of the girl builds tension in the reader as well. The pace is frankly frenetic, and the book unputdownable; you will read it in one reading flat. The entire story is told in the space of a couple of days, and there is little attempt at character building, beyond the basics. Your attention is kept riveted on the hunt, and the hunt only; you don’t get sidetracked by anything – not the other girls who are missing, or the organ racket – nothing. You at times feel that organ racket is unconnected, and that is another reason why the author has to be credited for sheer audacity and genius!



It all comes together in the last sections of the book, and then it hits home – there is not even one wasted paragraph in the entire script at all! This is one of the tightest, most well knit stories with flawless execution that I have read in a long time. Sure, it is a deep, dark novel – but the pace makes up for it. And the innovative climax, creating worry and tension in the readers’ minds through non-standard methods {yup, no guns-to-the-head for the girl here}! I would rate this book 4 stars out of 5, docking one star for the dark tonality. For other readers, this easily qualifies 5 stars!

2 comments:

  1. Going by your narration, I can safely say that it must have been a great delight to read the book.

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    1. Yes, Amit - it is! Do read it and let me know your views...

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