PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5 CLIMAX: 4/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4.5/5
Over the years, I have come across numerous Indian thrillers that have managed to dazzle the reader in me. Thrillers that kept me hooked right till the very end. Few such books include Aroon Raman’s Skyfire, Salil Desai’s 3 and a Half Murders, and Mainak Dhar’s Sniper’s Eye.
I recently had the chance to read yet another action-packed inventive thriller that I just couldn’t put down. Read on to know more about Biju C James’s Dead Air, a book that turned out to be a captivating mystery.
What to expect?
Expect a racy thriller. Expect a crime fiction that blends crime, drama, mystery, and adventure into a heady concoction. Expect a book that can be read in a single sitting or two. Expect an addictive tale of greed, power, revenge, and human decadence.
Who can read?
The book is written in a simple language and hence can be easily picked up by a beginner-level reader. That being said it will turn out to be an engaging read for all brackets of readers.
Because of the sexual, violent, graphic, and gory content, I would strictly advise readers below eighteen years of age against reading Dead Air.
What put me off this book for the longest time was its unappealing cover and a run-of-the-mill blurb. I mean, let’s be honest here – there isn’t much happening on the cover. It is quite dull and unimpressive. Amidst the abundance of thrillers aggressively competing to grab your attention, the cover certainly doesn’t stand out.
The blurb, too, fails to catch the reader’s fancy. Yes, it promises her a thriller but nothing else that would make the book stand out. Nothing that would compel her to initiate a purchase.
The story as it goes
Tanya Khanna, a drop-dead gorgeous supermodel with hazel eyes, high cheekbones, and a captivating personality, is found brutally murdered in her posh apartment. It seems like a perfect crime, for there are no clues, no security footage, no DNA evidence, and yet the apartment is fully bathed in blood and gore. The police are baffled. It seems like a crime committed by an apparition, for no human can vanish without a trace.
Vikram Shetty, a journalist once known for his fearless and edgy journalism, but whose career is headed towards a steady decline, is reluctantly forced to cover the story. For his editor knows that only a man of Vikram’s caliber can make some sense of this bewildering mystery.
But after weeks of persistence, Vikram too is none the wiser. Just when he is about to give up all his hopes, faced as he is, with the same set of challenges as the police, there comes a person who can help Vikram unravel the mystery.
However, time is fleeting, and before Vikram realizes it, he has unleashed a monster that threatens to destroy everything and everyone Vikram holds dear.
The plot of Dead Air is multi-layered and non-linear, which is always a good thing when it comes to thrillers. The mystery is revealed to us in layers, giving some, while teasing some more, making sure that the readers know there’s more where it came from.
As the pages turn, the mystery thickens, connecting the past with the present, and intertwining the fate of the many characters.
The writing style
The author relies on cliffhangers at the end of every major event, making sure that the reader is kept engaged and enthralled. He also manages to set a racy tone from the very beginning, starting the story with a high-octane scene. This sense of foreboding envelops the narrative at all times.
The author’s narrative style is strikingly visual. His words and sentences are visual enablers, letting the readers dream their own versions of the story. Vivid descriptions, whether it is of characters or places, or things or scenes, help the reader in visualizing the story, page by page.
What works well?
One thing that works quite well in Dead Air is the way it connects crime to power, and technology to money. Not intending to reveal much here, I would simply ask the readers to take one good look at the book cover. Maybe, you’ll get the hint.
The book has many interesting characters to offer. These characters come from different walks of life, have unique characteristics, differing personalities, and traits. Their backstories are crafted with careful thought and are well assimilated into the plot. The best thing is that, even with so many characters, the story doesn’t get confusing. And they all manage to shine in their individual spaces.
What did I like?
The geographical setting works quite well. The flavour and vibe of Bangalore are effortlessly incorporated. This adds like a cherry on top of an already sumptuous cake. Wherever other places are mentioned (Singapore, the North-East of India, and Geneva), their essence have been captured most vividly.
What I didn’t like?
Apart from one small part of a certain link that connects everything in the end, I did not find anything unlikable. As far as negative takeaways are concerned, I had none.
In the end
In the end, Dead Air narrates a tantalizing tale connecting crime and technology with business and power. An interesting combination of drama, adventure, crime, and mystery, this book has a lot to offer to lovers of thrillers. A must-read recommendation from me!
The final verdict
Go for it!
Pick the book if
- You enjoy thrillers.
- You are looking for good entertainers.
- You want to explore new authors in the sub-genre of Indian thrillers.
- You enjoy drama, adventure, crime, and mystery served in a hypnotic combination.
Skip the book
- Only if you don’t like thrillers.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Dead Air using the link below.