PLOT: 3.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3.5/5 OVERALL: 3.5/5
There is always something about a closed-room murder mystery with a whodunit situation. If done just right, it’s a classic recipe for an entertaining thriller. So, when I came across one, that too by an Indian author, I knew I had to read it. And that’s how my journey of reading Vikrant Khanna’s Bad Liars – One Murder Three Liars began.
Plot summary of Bad Liars (no spoilers here!)
Anant Kapoor is a rich, famous, and super-successful fund manager. One day he is found dead in the basement of his house. His wife Sanya finds his body when she calls him the next day morning for breakfast. It is very easy for the police to pin down the murder on Sanya, as she has no alibi and she directly benefits from Anant’s death.
On digging deeper though, the police find 2 more suspects – Anant’s younger brother Vicky, and another guy called Mahesh.
Vicky is a serious gambling addict. He just lost a very huge sum of money on a bet and is receiving threatening calls asking him to pay up within the next 10 days. He has the motive to kill but he has an alibi for the night.
The second suspect is Mahesh. Mahesh was once Anant’s investment firm partner. They worked together before Anant decided to start his own firm as he was more successful in the business. But as Anant left, so did the clients and Mahesh’s firm started losing business. He now wanted to get back in business with Anant but Anant was reluctant. He met Anant on the night of his murder, but at the time of his death, he too has an alibi.
All three lie when Inspectors Maurya and Kiran first interrogate them.
They all have their own reasons for disliking Anant but who amongst them could kill Anant?
and more importantly what made them do so?
As the police dig deeper into their past, they uncover a lot of history and secrets which leave them baffled. The killer is indeed one BIG BAD LIAR!
But who is that person?
This is a closed-door thriller that has minimum characters, and in each chapter, you will suspect one and rule out the others, and this phenomenon continues right till the end.
This book has short chapters, which I appreciate in thrillers, along with multiple POVs keeping the book very interesting. The best part is that it is a very easy and quick read which I finished reading in under a day.
The narrative esp. in the first half continuously shifts amongst all the suspects keeping me guessing throughout.
The end, however, is something that I didn’t figure and the justifications worked quite well in the end with the motive. In the entire story, the real stars for me were obviously the investigating officers Maurya and Kiran, who showed us what real investigations should look like – from owning up to their mistakes to trusting their gut and never giving up, they were always alert and grounded.
The reason why I didn’t rate it higher than I did is mainly due to the writing. Just to be clear, it’s a pretty decent thriller but crisp narration can elevate a book, and in this one there were quite a few shortfalls. What really bothered me is the repetition of the story of that night, as it was from included everyone’s point of view. This felt boring to me and I was so ready to move ahead in the story and figure the culprit out.
Each character was not fully developed in my opinion. I would have loved some more insight into everyone’s back stories and their nature and habits so as to get to know their psychology and the reasons behind their motives and operations.
Overall, I must say this one was a decently paced murder mystery with a simple setting and an end that will leave you surprised as it was something that I couldn’t predict, and yet it came as totally plausible.
I would recommend this book to all beginners interested in reading a thriller that is not very heavy and complicated and can be a perfect companion on your next holiday.
Cannot wait to read it? Buy your copy of Bad Liars – One Murder Three Liars.