31 July 2017

Review #631: Here Falls The Shadow by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you're allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”

----Shannon L. Alder

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, an Indian author, has penned a terrific and nail biting thriller, Here Falls The Shadow that surrounds around the death threat of a notable author and the killings of his family estate's dogs, as a result of which, the infamous and ingenious PI, Janardan Maity jumps to the rescue with an old acquaintance of his, into this sleepy little town covered by forests, to uncover the author's family curses, old traditions, nemesis, and many untold family secrets.


Think of your sins. Prepare to die.

On the edge of the forests of Deoghar, in the sleepy little town of Nimdeora, novelist Sangram Talukdar’s peaceful life is unexpectedly shattered when he receives an anonymous death threat.

At first, he dismisses it as a cruel joke. But when two of the family’s beloved dogs, guardians of the estate, are found killed with a clean, swift arrow to each of their throats, Talukdar calls in the astute detective Janardan Maity to investigate.

To uncover the dark secrets of this quiet town, Maity must dig deep into the past – into the Talukdar family’s bloody history, and a dreaded curse that has haunted the family for generations. But he must act quickly, because someone, or something, is lurking in the shadows of the forest, watching, waiting to claim their prey.

Notable Indian author, Sangram Talukdar, has shifted from Bangalore to his family estate located in a sleepy little town in Jharkhand that is surrounded by thick, dense forests, in order to write his new novel. But within days, he finds anonymous death threat letters addressed to him and when his estate dogs are killed by arrows, Sangram requests the infamous detective, Janardan Maity to help solve the mystery. Janardan, as a result, asks one of his close acquaintances, who is also an author, Prakash, to accompany him to his sleepy forest town in Jharkhand. Together they journey to the picturesque landscape of Nimdeora, where the Talukdar family estate is located. Upon reaching, the detective duo learns about an age-old family curse that destroyed their family in subtle ways. So the father of Sangram is sure that it is happening due to a curs, but digging a bit into the family history, unravels many untold secrets and family enmity with certain individuals of this town. And looking at all the mind boggling clues, Janardan is sure that there is much more sinister mystery underlying than it seems. Can he solve the crime before the killer claims Sangram's life or someone else's?

This is the first time that I read any book by this author and while reading, I could not believe the stark similarity in the translated version's writing style as well as prose of Satyajit Ray's famous detective series called Feluda. Moreover, the main protagonist and the supporting protagonist resembles a lot with Feluda and his assistant, Topshe. Though it's hard to relate the detective, Janardan with Sherlock Holmes, yet his demeanor simulates a lot with that of our very own Feluda. Although the mystery is very tight and full of suspense, yet the characters failed to intrigue me even in a subtle way.

The author's writing style is simple and easy to comprehend with and is laced with enough tension that will grip the readers right from the very beginning of the book. The dialogues are relatable and realistic enough to engage the readers, and also with an atmospheric and eerie feel, the book will only fascinate the minds of the readers. The prose is articulate and with a pretty fast pace, where the events occur breezily and with enough depth and details that will let the readers to visualize the scenes from this book right before their own eyes.

The setting plays a paramount role in any mystery book, and so it played a great role in this book too. The vivid descriptions of the forest town, Nimdeora is well portrayed into the story line, that will let the readers feel the setting while reading this book. Not only that the author has made this sleepy town look mysterious and bit scary with all those forests and the legends of old family curses and the very cliched mists blanketing the thick dark nights of this town. Each and every detail is strikingly painted by the author, as result, the readers are bound to contemplate this town by their hearts and minds.

The characters, on the other hand, failed to enthrall me, as their demeanor are kind of predictable yet realistic enough to make them look believable in the eyes of the readers. Unfortunately, they lack any interesting trait to talk about them, neither the protagonists nor the supporting characters, no one had any unique charm in their personality to captivate my mind. Like I said, Janardan, felt to me very much similar to Feluda and his silent and calculative demeanor. So there is nothing much unique about Janardan to peak my interest in his further adventures.

In a nutshell, for those who have not Ray's Feluda series, must read it as it will compel and rivet the minds and souls, but for those who have read Ray's infamous series, can easily skip it.

Verdict: An interesting thriller set in a sleepy forest town.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Hachette India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is a writer and translator. Bhaskar's novels include 'Penumbra' (Fingerprint 2016) and 'Patang' (Hachette 2016). His translations include '14: Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray' (Harper 2014), 'Shiva' (Penguin 2016), 'The House By The Lake' (Scholastic 2014), '12 Stories by Hasan Azizul Huq' (Bengal Light Books 2015) and 'No Child's Play' (Harper 2013). Bhaskar lives and works in Bangalore, India.
Visit him here

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