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Saturday 5 July 2014

Book Review: Anti-social Network by Piyush Jha

About the book:

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 Virkars toughest case yet.
From the bestselling author of Mumbaistan and compass box killer comes the third riveting instalment in the Mumbaistan crime-thriller series. The story once again features inspector Virkar, who is now a popular protagonist amongst readers of crime-thrillers. Anti-social network will appeal to fans of the authors books as well as find new ones

About the Author:

Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of the bestselling novel, Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer.
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 Sikandar.
He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.

My Review:

Now, it might seem an exaggeration, but its not: I read the novel, cherished it and really likened it to the mystery thrillers penned by Satyajit Ray. Yes, the details and the plot, and the plot twists are so remarkable that I was compelled to see Feluda aka Felu Babu (the protagonist of Satyajit Ray mystery books) to Inspector Virkar. It is almost as if its Feluda in his contemporary incarnation.

What this novel eventually turned out to be, which is what I really liked about the novel, was the fact that it did not simply follow a trail to unearth or uncover a series of evidence and witnesses in order to reach a conclusion, it also had a very important and different tangent to it: the angle which apprises the reader of how real the threats of privacy and security are, in this age of internet-addiction. It explores the extent of brutality and antipathy that crimes like blackmail, sextortion, and fraudulent impersonation can acquire. This generation, which has often been victimized by crimes perpetrated in/by the virtual world, shall forever be grateful to Jha.

Another part of this riveting novel to look out for are the descriptions of murders and their figurative meanings as are revealed later. I really hope that with this integrity and observation skills, Inspector Virkar becomes an enviable character, and the author, a pioneer of this hitherto unexplored genre of thrillers.

A group of college students gone morally decrepit. A psychologist with an nondetachable place in this equation. A police system of complacency. A hacker, who retains "ethics" in his activities, and deploys his talent to the help of Virkar.

How a seemingly solid, foolproof, in-frangible, expert network evaporates, coagulates and coalesces on the altar of one woman's revenge and another man's incessant pursuit of a way beyond the deadlock, while the threads of evidence refuse to weave into a meaningful something, is at the core of this novel.
With its arcane description of the repugnant crimes, an insight into the threats posed by the virtual world, and an underlying manifestation of a troubled, frail teenage psychology, this book is totally totally worth the time and money spent on it. The crisp, accurate narrative which has, to the delight of the reader, no verbosity, is a major puller. A LOT of use of colloquial phrases might be a slight put-off, and I hope the next edition may carry footnotes explaining the same.

And yes, another character to watch out for, Naina, sarcasm personified!

Best Lines:

Lets give you a dose of the macabre murder mystery:

"The knife was incredibly sharp. She had intended to take only a trial swipe, but the blade sliced through the flesh with surprising ease.
My Judgement:
This thriller is packed with undying suspense, layers of mystery, and an enchanting plot setting, that will not let you put it down."

Book Video:

Watch this video to dig deeper into the secrets of the book!

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve

Find the book here: 

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