Now with a name like R.I.P and the cover of the book having the silhouette of a soldier with a gun, there was absolutely no doubt as to what the subject of the book would be. Having said that Mukul Deva [Link to his website] surprised me with what he had to offer in terms of the subject material.
The book starts off with Col. Krishna Athawale (Retd.), an ex Special Ops officer from the Indian Army and his “K-Team” simultaneously assassinating three relative big shots from the political and business fields. The only common thread binding the three victims aside from the assassins themselves was the fact that they were recently in the news for being involved with some form of corruption. We then go on to understand the Colonel’s and his team’s motivations for these assassinations and also realize that these three killings are just the first in a planned list.
What their plans are, what their motivations are, what their final objective is, these are plot points which I obviously am not going to reveal here simply because I don’t want to spoil the fun for all prospective readers out there. Suffice to say that K-Team’s efforts, the subsequent investigation by the CBI, a surprise package in the form of another team similar to K-Team, and a host of other assorted characters make this book a medley of well researched, and well thought out ‘encounters’ for lack of a better word.
Another interesting albeit funny aspect of this book is the fact that the author chose to make his victims’ characters very close to real life characters that you and me are aware of. Given the entire brouhaha over ‘character assassinations’ and ‘defamation suits’ that we live in today, Mukul Deva, the author has been a little bold with his character descriptions. Although I am sure that the standard disclaimer of “All characters and events described in this novel are fictional and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental” applies to this book as well, I am willing to bet my last dollar that the author purposely and specifically made these characters so close to real life that readers can actually visualize the real people we know when we read this book. But then, that is the author’s genius that while he makes them so close to the real people, he just stops short of making them ‘real enough’.
The pace of the book is just right, not too fast and not too slow. The author has added an interesting romance angle to the plot, albeit the fact remains that it helped the plot in a very minor way, that’s all. While his hero remains a believable one, the villain (or at least one of them) is relatively ‘over the top’ so to say and struck me as just a tad unbelievable, at least given the entire background story provided for him. In any case, in my opinion, this was not so bad that it prevented me from enjoying the book as a whole.
In a nutshell, this is one book which is good enough to buy, complete it in its entirety over the course of a 30 min wait at the airport and a 2 hr flight to your destination. Would I read it again, maybe not, given the entire ‘current affairs’ color that the plot has been tinged with. In any case, if I needed one novel to let my daughter know about how India was in terms of corruption, scams, political situation, etc, in 2012 this could very well be one book I might ask her to read.