Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Book Review: The Mahabharata Murders by Arnab Ray

Title: The Mahabharata Murders

Author: Arnab Ray

Publisher: Juggernaut

Arnab Ray’s ‘The Mahabharata Murders’ is a whodunnit structured on the great epic, Mahabharata.

Ruksana Ahmed, a homicide detective with the Kolkata Police, is called in to investigate a murder which seems like the handy work of a crazed psychopath on the loose. She is strong willed, intelligent, and ambitious, yet constrained by social norms and the prevalent patriarchy in our society. She comes with her own baggage. Her “partner” is the dashing Siddhanth Singh. Their team is reminiscent of the detective-writer partner duo from the hit television series, Castle.

This new serial killer calls himself Duryodhana and is out to get revenge from the ‘Pandavas.’ He chooses his victims according to the characteristics he believes they share with characters from the famous epic. He has already committed a few murders and is on the prowl for more. It is upto Ruksana to catch up with the criminal and put a stop to his budding career.

This novel is more about the story behind the crime, rather than finding out the perpetrator of the crime. Ray does a decent job at bringing alive a cast of seedy and perverse characters apt for a crime thriller.

Readers will be so caught up in the whodunnit intrigue that the serious themes here about gender bias, patriarchy, and domestic violence are absorbed with equal delicacy. This book is a fast paced read and keeps the reader hooked till the last. The ending is not too satisfactory. However, the story as a whole gives a new outlook on the Pandavas, especially Yudhisthir.

Plot — reasonably clever; Setting — nicely done; Characters — two dimensional stereotypes; but you can’t have everything. All in all a good weekend read.

Arnab Ray, also known as Greatbong, is one of India’s most read bloggers and the author of May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss, The Mine, Yatrik and Sultan of Delhi: Ascension. He has written for several media outlets from The New York Times to The Times of India. A PhD in Computer Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a graduate from Jadavpur University, he lives in the suburbs of Chicago.

I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!

* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy:

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