Goodreads blurb: From his state-of-the art control room – providing security to ‘smart homes’ of India’s rich – ex-army man Ashwin can see and hear pretty much everything happening in and around his clients’ homes. Through strategically placed cameras he is aware of all the nefarious goings-on behind the closed doors of the very wealthy. But when one of his clients dies suddenly, with his Swiss bank number winking enticingly on his computer screen, Ashwin realizes the full potential of this brilliant system … and his intentions change.
Moving at breakneck pace from the protagonist’s control room to the sprawling houses of Delhi’s rich and famous, Mukul Deva crafts what is probably India’s first techno crime novel. This crackling thriller will have you riveted right till the jaw-dropping sting-in-the-tail end.
Very few books have disappointed me to the extent and death came calling did and I say this with good reason. Maybe it was the fact that I picked this book for review based on a previous book by the same author Mukul Deva and enjoyed it quite a bit, or it was the fact that the blurb is written well enough that it makes the book sound more interesting than it actually is. For whatever reason, I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.
For starters, I wasn’t fully convinced as to why the protagonist Ashwin Thakur has a sudden change of mind and heart and goes to do whatever he does in the book. While monetary gains form a strong enough motive for most of us to do a myriad array of mysterious things, there is more to the human psyche than just money to take risks. And more so for an ex-army man like Ashwin, there needed to be a more convincing reason to take the risks he did and do whatever he did in the book. I don’t know if it was a plotting oversight or an editing gaffe but his motivations for his actions were simply not there in the book, and that to me was the biggest issue with the book.
I also had issues with the first person narrative used by the author in this book. For the same reasons stated above, the fact that the book is told entirely from Ashwin’s point of view especially when his motives are not clear enough simply compounded to the bad experience this book was.
However, it must be said that the author has taken pains to be extremely authentic to the technical details in the book such as the equipment used in today’s smart homes, the extensive array of gadgetry on display and its various uses and misuses; these aspects are crafted quite well in the book and show the author’s comfort levels with the latest sophisticated technological gadgets of the day.
Another issue I had with this book is that almost every character is clichéd and the author has used typical Bollywood filmy style descriptions and motivations for almost all of them to the hilt. You can see character reactions coming from a mile away and this doesn’t add to the overall reading experience.
Disclaimer: I was offered a review copy of this book by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review of the same.