PLOT: 4/5

What’s it like to cut your arm during a panic attack, to navigate the knife through your arm in various strokes and directions until a puddle of blood forms on the kitchen floor? To the narrator, it is relieving and one of the best ways to get through his numerous meltdowns throughout the day.

A suicidal depressive with severe anxiety who gets regular panic attacks and deals with them by cutting himself is one of the lead characters of the story.

Visiting a therapist is not what he wants to do but is forced by his overprotective and worried mother. In fact, he holds a grudge against therapists as one therapist once disagreed to break the rule of approaching a client first and that client later died. She was the protagonist Aditya’s sister.

The narrative style in Birth of a Duo is highly interesting. It moves from the monologues that the narrator speaks directly to the reader and delves into dialogue exchanges between characters.

The roundness of these characters is given through their dialogues. The way they speak, the words they choose and that which they intend is given out through these dialogues.

What is particularly noteworthy is the age difference that Aditya and the therapist have which is seen in the silly and conversational way Aditya talks as opposed to the therapist’s mature choice of words.

The second chapter begins with the story of Radha Bose, a detective who spends her time shadowing cheating spouses, digging up dirt on rival detective executives or running background checks on potential new employees.

She meets up with Aditya in a café. He is her potential new assistant. Their first case is to figure out whether the death of a television actor’s son is a suicide or murder.

Together, they are a duo. If this pact works then they will be a fantastic one else they will just be two people from two different worlds on a constant clash.

The plot of Birth of a Duo is topsy turvy but has an edge to it through the various twists and constant climaxing ends which, at an instance, will give the idea that the story has nothing more left in it until it reopens and bourgeons into another dark alleyway and ends up in a completely different turn.

The chapters alternate between Aditya Gokhale and Radha Bose. Their title headings are also called Aditya Gokhale and Radha Bose. Both their characters are slowly and subtly built up throughout the story.  

Aditya is a flimsy, cynical and opinionated 19-year old while Radha is much older than him, has a lot of experience in her field, is dedicated to her work and sensitive to the numerous challenges of being a woman in her field. But she is a tough one and has a sharp focus on her work.

If the narrative style has an expert framework and the characters form the heart of it, then the plot keeps up the balance of weaving the story into a mainframe and highly passionate but brief narrative.

There is the use of curse words every now and then in the dialogues. Besides that, the writing style is fresh and breezy. It is simple yet conversational and can be pictured through the vast descriptions.

There is a good balance of all things put together. Nothing has been taken overboard. It is this balance that keeps things together in a fast-paced and edgy story.

The book is a short but good read for those interested in crime fiction, detective stories and plots surrounding private investigators.

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