WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
I like to consider myself a no-nonsense person and always try to be brief and to the point in the things I do, even in the reviews I write. Accordingly, I prefer books which are not very gung-ho about trivialities and remain on the track as much as possible. Road Humps and Sidewalks written by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala is one such book and I must say that I truly enjoyed reading it. Belonging to the legal thriller genre, this book might not be of the same level as of Grisham’s books but it is a definite must read. While Grisham prefers class action suits, Kalyan has chosen Intellectual Property infringement as the subject of his book.
The plot of this book is about the greed of multi-national pharmaceutical companies in regards to critical drug patents and a lone blind lawyer’s fight against this system. The story begins with a brief introduction about Arjun, a blind lawyer who wants to make it big in life. He wins his first case against a big celebrity management firm. In the meanwhile, a virus outbreak claims may lives in Hyderabad and the doctors have no clue about its nature.
By trial and error they learn that the illness can be cured by using Nervir, a drug manufactured by the German MNC, Berminger AG but the catch is that the drug is patented and Berminger wants to take full advantage of this virus outbreak. When an opportunity presents itself, Arjun grabs it and decides to fight a case against Berminger so that the patent is scrapped and the drug can be made available to all the poor and needy. In his cause, he is supported by doctors, the police, media and anti-patent organizations. The rest of the story is the proverbial David against Goliath.
Can Arjun, a novice, win against the best lawyers?
To what extent can Berminger go to deter Arjun?
The writing style of Kalyan is truly no-nonsense and always to the point. The chapters are well divided and brief. There are no unnecessary details, sub-plots or detours from the plot. Even though it is a legal thriller, the language used is simple and can be understood even if you are not familiar with legal jargons. The court scenes and the lawyers’ deliberations are beautifully written.
The characters in the Road Humps and Sidewalks one thing which I truly liked. There are no forced characters and everyone is relevant to the plot. The character of Arjun is really inspiring. It shows how a person with disability can achieve great heights if he is determined and true to a cause. I particularly liked the character of Jose, Arjun’s legal assistant. He brings in a humorous element to this otherwise serious plot. The characters of the doctors – Dr. Krishna, Dr. Sridhar and Dr. Vishnu – are well thought of and well written. All in all, I would recommend Road Humps and Sidewalks to all my readers. The 170 odd pages cover an intriguing plot, with brilliant characters and will not bore you at any instance.