13 September 2016

Review #524: Remember Death: An Arjun Arora Mystery by Ankush Saikia,

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.”

----Rick Warren

Ankush Saikia, an Indian author, pens his new crime fiction, Remember Death which is the second book in the Arjun Arora Mystery series, and this story welcomes the odd yet super smart detective Arjun Arora who has been assigned on a case to track down a suspected air hostess accused of murdering a bar dancer and looting the money of a crooked businessman, and that puts Arjun on the edges of death, yet once again, he needs to use his sharp wit to look beyond the narrated story, maybe he needs to start looking somewhere during the era of India's independence, all the while fighting against his own demons and past mistakes.


Detective Arjun Arora is summoned to Mumbai to track down an air hostess who has allegedly killed a bar dancer and vanished with a large sum of money. The search for Agnes Pereira sets Arjun on a nationwide hunt. But when their paths finally cross, everything spirals out of control.

From being hunted by a hitman to uncovering a deadly secret that implicates Delhi’s rich and powerful, Arjun’s life becomes an endless nightmare. Haunted by his personal demons and aware of his growing attraction to the beautiful, mysterious Agnes, Arjun realizes that sins from the past always cast their shadow over the present. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more terrifying the threat becomes to both of them.

Arjun Arora has been flown down from Delhi to Mumbai to meet a rich yet crooked businessman who has asked him to track down a mysterious air-hostess who is suspected of murdering a bar dancer and running away with a lot of money that probably belonged to that businessman. And Arjun follows behind the trail that this strange young woman has left behind from one state of India to another, finally landing up in Manali, but before Arjun can fulfill his tasks, he identified the loopholes and the background of this girl, thereby leaving him and the woman on a death row. Can Arjun find out why this woman is actually targeted by a businessman? Is there more to the story?

Ankush Saikia is one of my favorite current day Indian authors, whose writing is appealing and stories are equally challenging and intriguing that grips me right from the very first page itself. Moreover his multi layered stories has depth, unpredictable twists and even heart felt emotions that holds enough power to put me on an emotional turmoil. Similarly, this story is laid out in the form of a complex and twisted web of suspense and twists like traversing the paths of a maze on a dark and gloomy day.

The author's writing style is extremely articulate and is laced with emotions, suspense and tension that will hook the readers right into the heart of the story. The narrative is highly engaging and well projected through the character's voices, as the readers will find it easy to comprehend with the dialogues, even international readers will find it easy to contemplate with the local dialect used in the narration, as the author has properly used the English translated terms of such words. The pacing is really fast and the readers will smoothly sway with the progress of the story, moreover, the reading the story will feel like riding on a roller coaster ride that is high with adrenaline rushing actions scenes, mind twisting puzzles, and even some dark human psychological aspects.

The author has unraveled the mystery real skillfully enough with tension, bone-chilling drama, adrenaline rushing actions that make the readers turn the pages of this book frantically. The author has introduced the twists quite randomly thus it will feel like a slap on the face out of no where and the intensity of those twists can blow the readers mind, and mostly, those twists are unforeseeable and will keep the readers anticipating for the next clue like a child looking for his lost favorite toy.

The author yet once again excelled with a vivid backdrop. This story will take the readers to various locations of the country, India, from the enchanting hills in Shimla to the busiest streets in Mumbai to the elegant capital city to a small and soothing beach destination. The author has brought alive each and every destination with his eloquent words hence the readers will be able to visually imagine each and every scene right before their own eyes.

The characters from the book are really well developed, complete with realism and genuineness to make the readers connect with them on a personal level. The main character, Arjun, is a complex and multi dimensional man who has lots of psychological and emotional issues, yet somehow he manages to battle against them to concentrate and focus his mind on unraveling the mystery. For first time readers too, this protagonist will not disappoint at all as the author has developed the detective with enough depth and back story. Arjun is no doubt a brave and sharp man, but he also owns up and fulfills his responsibilities as a father as much as possible despite of his hectic schedule. Arjun is a unique modern day detective who has the ability to interpret the words and body languages of any other human on a psychological basis, especially his insight into matters are thorough and who doesn't love a brave hero who has so many personal issues? Even the supporting cast of characters are well crafted and will leave an impression in the minds of the readers.

In a nutshell, this is a compelling and extremely absorbing thriller which is dark, psychologically twisted and will keep the readers glued to the pages of this book. In short, a satisfying read for the crime fiction fans.

Verdict: An edgy and fast paced thriller that is a must read for one and all.

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), the crime/detective novel "Dead Meat" (Penguin India, 2015) and the thriller "Red River, Blue Hills" (Westland Books, 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

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