Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review of The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Blurb

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

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The story itself starts with a very nail biting incident. College ragging at its brutal worst! How can young minds be so cruel? This is one question that  has always troubled me. So, you can very well understand when it started with this incident, I was caught up in this book totally. Kudos to Usha Narayanan for writing such action packed novel. She is no shrinking violet when it comes using words to create a college ragging scene. I felt angry and anxious at the same time. But then enters our hero and heroine. And I breathe in relief. 
Kat and Vir. Lively pair and adventure certainly  follows them where ever they go. When Kat protested against the college ragging, she too was dragged inside it. But the timely intervention of Vir not only saved her but all the other students too. Soon Kat and her friends Minx, Lolita, Moti and Deepika found themselves in huge problems. The college nasties were making their lives miserable with cyber bullying and eve teasing and also politically backed A-holes were were making their lives a hell. [Sorry for that, but this is one thing that annoys me, especially in a country which prides itself in its democracy). To top it all they fell the radar of a serial killer. After that, I do not envy the girls one bit, for their lives became a roller coaster ride of lust, betrayal, greed and untimely death. 
The story is gripping. It had its nail biting moments and though I guessed who the killer was after the first clue was given, but it has nothing  to do with Usha’s way of writing a mystery. I am just too good :P. Though  I am itching to say something about the killer but it will be taken as a spoiler, won’t it?  Let's just say you will love him when you meet him and hate him when he leaves you dead  :O
I have to mention something about the writing style of the author. She has created a wonderful college scene. The student lives with all its ups and downs,  the raggings, the weeds, the hidden drug sellers and the chaiwalas (tea sellers ) all combine to create the ambiance of a college life. Moreover, her words etches the scenes beautifully. The gory details of the murder, The Hatchet office has been beautifully described as has been the fetishness of the serial killer. She is a gripping story teller no doubt.  


Whenever a story leaves a question in my mind I feel uneasy. Here I had two -

1. Why is the relationship between Lolita and Charan Raj not explored? It had so much depth into it. The ending was tied up too neatly, especially after the news came out, wasn’t Charan Raj affected politically?
2. Why did Vir come  the college? Here I cannot say much without spilling the beans. But I am sure the author will understand when I say that a heart- broken man will not come for what he had come for. Love could have been a motivating factor but …… (band aid on my mouth….:).)

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Meet the Author
Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months. 
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author 
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At June 22, 2014 at 12:30 AM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

great review as usual Rubina! :D

At June 22, 2014 at 1:30 AM , Blogger Usha Narayanan said...

Wonderful, perceptive review, written from the heart.

At June 23, 2014 at 2:20 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Good review but C12H22O11 can be further reduced.

At July 9, 2014 at 7:25 AM , Anonymous Usha Narayanan said...

A review straight from the heart. Thank you Rubina. I loved it!

At July 20, 2014 at 10:58 AM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Thank you so much Usha. It was a gripping tale. Till the end I was wondering how they will solve the problem!


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