22 March 2015

Review #168: Dead Meat by Ankush Saikia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."

----Agatha Christie

Ankush Saikia, a well-known Indian author, pens his new thriller, Dead Meat that revolves around a lonely-and-alcoholic PI going in and around the capital to solve the case of a heinous murder that shakes up the people of the city amidst of the T20 fever.


A body recovered from a tandoor oven.
A young accountant missing with a suitcase full of cash.
A city in the heady grip of T20 fever.

Private eye Arjun Arora works the streets of Delhi dealing with the shady underbelly of the capital city. Hired to track down a missing person, Arjun stumbles upon a gruesome murder where the suspects seem to be linked to something larger and more sinister.

Part noir thriller and part detective story, Dead Meat introduces us to an unforgettable character — Arjun Arora, a man with a bad marriage, a drinking habit, and a troubled past — who takes us on a dark and dangerous journey through the grime of today’s urban India.

Arjun Arora is solving the case of a missing accountant with 10crores (one hundred million dollar) who used to work for a reputed construction company. But soon all the links redirects him to the tandoor murder of an unidentified man (tandoor- cylindrical metal can where live fire is used to bake the chicken/mutton) in a small restaurant in Delhi. And along with that the dark and shady side of a T20 match comes up, that drags him into the darkest and unheard alleys of both old and new Delhi, which becomes equally life-threatening for him, and in the meantime, Arjun copes with his newly divorced lifestyle, passionate flings and quality time with his grown-up yet sweet daughter. Do read the story to see the end of this enthralling mystery.

(T20- In India, every April, we celebrate yet another festival called IPL T20, it's a cricket match where the cricket teams are purchased by the rich and famous of our country, and the cricket players from all over the world are auctioned in this ceremony, whoever has the highest bids, that rich-and-famous wins that player for his team, thus in this way teams are formed and games are played and cricket-crazy fans of our country religiously follow each and every match of their favorite team, to be honest, I never followed these money-wasting games ever! To conclude, from this T20 fever, rich are getting more richer, players are embracing the dark side of betting more openly and shamelessly, and the poor people are still the same!)

I rarely read any Indian authored books, as you all know me, but this particular author, simply won my heart with this masterfully and skillfully crafted thriller, where he not only spins a murder drama involving same false moves and some correct ones, but he also tells the story of a lonely man with his new found freedom, devoid of any family drama/troubles. The writing is absolutely fantastic, raw and captivating. Yes, from the very first moment, I fell deep into this tangle of mystery, thus making it difficult for me to put down the book and take a break. The author kept on creating so many false moves and false leads, that it was so hard for us to see the real identity of the killer, I mean it was difficult to accept the read identity! The prose is articulate yet not much expressive, since there are some emotional moments in the book which are not very well depicted, moreover, it was not easy for us to contemplate with the primary character- Arjun Arora, maybe that is because of his cold demeanor. But the emotional and mental turmoil that Arjun was going through was quite well portrayed by the author. The characters are all well-built, described in depth to understand them better, even the shady ones too. There are a hell lot of characters, every twist in this book meant another new character to throw us off track. And sometimes, we might get lost in this web of so many suspects with a strong agenda to kill for the cash. So anticipation was not a thing in this book, since the author kept our minds engaged with so many suspects.

Now the location- New Delhi, capital city of India! The author simply wrapped his whole story in a layer of this city, by portraying the capital with vividness and vigor. In fact, each and every minute detail of this city from old Delhi's smell to the visual effects of clingy houses to the posh localities to the cars moving on the streets of the city to the humid climate of the city, everything will simply bring Delhi alive in front of your eyes. The author intricately created the back drop picture of Delhi in his book. I also loved how the author depicted the glitz and glamor of a T20 after-party event and how things unroll in this event.

The book is, in short, one hell of adrenaline-rushing roller coaster ride on all over New Delhi. The darkness in the mystery is so raw that it will scare you out of your skin, and the violence is so vivid that you literally need to close off your eyes.

Verdict: A must-read Indian thriller, and I rarely came across any such Indian author, who spins a thriller just like any other foreign best-selling crime author.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Ankush Saikia, for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book. 

Author Info:
Author of the noir thriller "The Girl from Nongrim Hills" (Penguin India, 2013), and the crime/detective novel "Dead Meat" (Penguin India, 2015). I've worked in journalism and publishing in New Delhi for over a decade. Currently based in Shillong and Tezpur in North East India.
Visit him here 

Book Purchase Links:


  1. Holy moly the cover of this book looks amazing!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  2. Yeah it is Alex, thanks for stopping by :-)

  3. I don't read too many Indian authors either, but this one seems like it might be a good change! I love the idea of a mystery any time, but it seems like this one also has family issues tied into it as well. Love the cover as well <3

  4. Thanks Olivia for stopping by, glad you liked it :-)

  5. Fantastic Thriller...so well written .. delhi visually comes alive b4 the reader...looking forward to hear from detective Arjun Arora again

  6. Superb read .Well written .


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