The beginning of the book has all the ingredients of a ghost story, only to be looped into a murder mystery. There is a murder, alright and more and more and a little more of them. Till almost half a dozen chapters way into the book, there is no description of the introductory murder scene or on how the victim died. People just keep talking and in the course of conversation, so many motives and back stories on the victim turn up that, it’s almost like you overhearing some gossip about the incident yourself. Such is the casual way with which the murder incident is handled and it slowly builds on the tension with a variety of caricature kind of personalities thrown into the mix. And on the possible murderer, the focus keeps jumping from one character to another and more than the whodunit, the why is predominant and the how takes its own sweet time to unravel in the most intriguingly interesting manner I’ve read in any book. But after the fourth character kicks in, it slowly dawns on what could be awaiting the readers and the adrenaline rush, takes you flying over the rest of the chapters. And when finally the plot turns back to the victim of the first murder, you wouldn’t be able to resist a whistle for sure!! The twist towards the possible reason for murder is so amazingly original and clever that it leaves one stunned. Like the terminator robot from the second part, which despite the numerous times being shot at and torn apart by Arnold, regroups into its original shape, all the bits and pieces of the characterization and the detailing that felt needless at the top, all come together and makes perfect sense.
When the story finally comes back into present day situation, it literally makes you dizzy with so much of information and possibly on what is awaiting the titular lady that, the storyline takes a whole new course at midway level. Armed with the knowledge of her phobias, her terrifying near death experience in past, her actions are almost picturesquely painted in words. When she bumps her way inside the hall and watches black and white movies, you could almost visualize her position and her hobby of making charcoal drawings adds to the mystery and lends her profile a sense of ghoulishness. With the stalkers credentials established pretty detailed, his actions, his sense of being a blabber mouth and how he blurts out every intimate and possibly secret details to everyone he meets across is left to slide smooth and it hits when his interactions down the line leads to his downfall. The third guy, the prime suspect, is so brilliantly defined that, his actions never feel out of the world and probably, as mentioned in previous post, is as normal as any sane person you might’ve come across, who might have gone down the wrong route for a short while and returned back to normalcy.
With almost 80% of the book over, begins part two with the Psycho’s point of view of the entire happenings. The ending portion, prior to the version of the psycho has the now classic Swanson twist that sets the story up for a brilliant finish. The entire part of the book dedicated to the psycho character, the portions where he describes his version are sheer adrenaline rush and you can’t help rushing through his flashback portions to come back to the present, which the author left at such a cliffhanger stage. It’s the one character that goes out to combat every other character in the book. It’s the most powerful and most lunatic character I’ve ever read in any novel and the final act of this psycho character is like the famed fight in Visavaroopam movie where everything happens in milliseconds and you’ve to rewind back to understand what the heck just happened!! When you finally think that the story has ended, then begins the point of view of the policewoman!! I felt it was kind of an overkill. But it did add up as a nice twist. Even in that small segment there is a flashback to the few previous pages, which is the norm for the entire story in itself, which moves forward more when explained backward. The ending is a perfect cinematic finish equivalent of a happy ending which has symbolism written all over it.
Gils verdict – This is one novel which has hung over me like an ever following darkness, since the time I started it. Probably the darkest of novels I’ve ever read and much to my surprise, I relished every bit of the book. Especially moving the story via point of view of the characters. It was right up my comfort level with hardly few characters and definition of whom were pretty relatable, as against metaphoric and poetic way adopted in other novels. The back and forth kind of story telling only re-inforces the plot and makes it all the more murky and thrilling at the same time. A MUST READ for thriller fans and can’t wait for the next book by the author. Thanks to Brags for sharing the three book series.