3 January 2018

Review #695: Murder in a Minute by Shouvik Bhattacharya

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.”

----Margaret Atwood

Shouvik Bhattacharya, an Indian author, has penned his debut thriller called, Murder in a Minute that revolves around the murder of a young and ambitious woman, who is the chairperson of her father's company, inside her own room and in the presence of her step brothers and sisters, along with her colleagues and her college boyfriend. And surprisingly each one in that mountainside cottage has an alibi, even though the initial investigations point at the killer being present in that house. Now the question is who or why, is it out of jealousy, ambition, greed or out of love, that the poor lady had to give up her life in such a tragic way?


“People are essentially good, until they are caught.”

When a young woman is found lifeless in a pool of her own blood, everyone is convinced that it is her college sweetheart who murdered her.

The victim’s step-brothers, Rishabh and Arya aren’t so convinced. They embark on a journey to unearth the truth, a journey riddled with fallacies and conspiracies, planted intentionally to trap them.
Is there a connection between a missing blue envelope, a misplaced sweater and stray footprints in a room? Could those people they thought they knew so well be hiding dark secrets about their past? Or did their dead sister have more to hide than anyone involved?

With pressures mounting and suspicions looming, love will lose to ambition, greed will trump responsibility and deception would be common. Will the duo succeed in muddling through the convoluted clues on time, or will their first wrong step be their last?

Find out in the pulse-pounding suspense thriller.

Esha Arora, the young and ambitious scion of a reputable and rich family now heading the family business of Arora Cements, is found brutally murdered in her bedroom at her mountain side cottage that she shared with her step brothers and sisters, office colleagues, a client and her college boyfriend. The initial reports and investigation leads to someone being present in that cottage, but surprisingly, each one of them, from the housemaid to the CEO of another cement company, have an alibi. Adding to the grief and anger and their determination to give justice to their dear elder sister, Esha, two brothers, Rishabh and Arya decides to play Sherlock besides the local investigative cop, but can the brothers find out the real identity of the killer who is present amongst them? And the most important question is, why would someone murder a powerful, intelligent and beautiful woman like Esha, is it love troubles, greed, jealousy, or ambition?

Boy, oh boy! The author took me by surprise with his debut novel, for being a thrilling, mind-blowing and arresting story that rarely any first time author can ever spin with such finesse. And I'm glad that I picked up a copy of this book, which undoubtedly hit the bestseller's list, since the story took me on a wild whirlwind journey on putting an identity on the faceless killer constantly lurking in the background of the story line. Yes, indeed it is a chilly feeling for its readers, but the anticipation of whodunit is bound to keep the readers glued to the book like a moth looking for a thin ray of light in mind-numbing darkness.

The author's writing style is fantastic and I felt like reading the book penned by some seasoned author, instead of a debut author. The prose is suspenseful, edgy and is definitely going to give the readers a heart pounding feel while swaying swiftly with the story's fast pace. The tension and the tightness builds and seeps into the story line gradually through the development of the plot. And the readers won't be able to get away from this addictive tale at no cost.

The dialogues are engaging enough to keep the readers intrigued pretty much the entire length of the story, yet I felt like near the climax, things got bit careless, instead of that tightly wrapped story unfolding right till the climax. The ending could have been much better, as I felt it to be pretentious and dramatic enough to make it look like some sappy Bollywood thriller. Other than that, the first and second half of the story is compelling and riveting enough to keep the readers turning the pages of this book frantically to find out about the whodunit and whydunit.

The clues and twists comes out of nowhere like a tight hard slap upon the faces of the readers, and thankfully, those slaps give a feel-good sensation to the readers. As those sudden plot twisters upped the suspense level of this story line. The characters aren't that well sketched out, as I felt all of them to be very lazily described also they lacked depth thoroughly. There is no characters growth in the story, although it is very obvious that this one is a plot-driven thriller and that is enough to keep the readers interested into its very core.

In a nutshell, this is a must read and a highly recommended thriller that you cannot afford to miss it this chilly season.

Verdict: An engrossing and spicy thriller with drama and enough suspense to last you a year!

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

Author Info:
Shouvik is a management graduate from S.P Jain, Mumbai and is currently working for General Electric in its leadership program. During the day, he designs analytical software which makes aircrafts fly, and during the night he plots devious murder mysteries. He is a die-hard fan of Manchester United and you might easily find him reading, in a café or a bookstore in Bangalore.
Visit him here

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