PLOT: 3.5 /5
WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
“It seemed that even the Lord was crying his heart out.”
Catchy yet spine chilling, as the blood splattered on the cover photo denotes, the short stories of promising writer Biswajit Patnaik in his collection of four crime thrillers are titled The Hidden Truth.
It is a collection of 4 short stories opening with The Broken Horses. Nicole is distraught at the sudden death of her sister Anna in a fatal car accident. Police officer Jacob Thomas from the San Francisco Police Department makes a startling revelation about the real reasons behind Nicole’s sister’s death. He claims it to be drug overdose on the basis of the packets of heroin found in her car and the high level of drugs in her blood. Nicole is flabbergasted and hopes to find out that the officer’s theory is untrue, that her little sister was never a part of any criminal group and that she’s entirely innocent. But what if it is a murder?
Whisper in the Woods begins on 31st October in Mango Police Station of Jamshedpur. Filing a police complaint of her missing husband is an upset lady who turns to Inspector Pandey. Out fishing on the premises of Dimna lake, the locals discover the body of an unidentified person wrapped in plastic. Meanwhile, on 11th November at Big Bazar Eylex Cinema Complex, Sanjay’s eyes are sprayed with something that makes him fall down and faint. When he opens his eyes he finds himself tied in an unknown location. Yet another missing complaint is filed. A cold-blooded tale of revenge, murder and horrifying past, the story is deeply engrossing with its numerous twists and turns as the journey involves Inspector Pandey trying to solve multiple murder cases as an old crime comes up.
Unable to muster up any courage for three years, Rahul is overjoyed when his crush Priyanshi approaches him on their institutional farewell function. Their chats moved to phone messages and calls. The Phone call is the story of an unidentified caller blackmailing and threatening to leak the private messages of Rahul and Priyanshi. A hidden past is tossed up with the appearance of a mysterious person as the suspects turn out to be many while the mystery is revealed finally.
The dogs are out. The teams are set. There is a fervent realisation that the situation is serious when the people see policemen outside their residential society. They have surrounded the entire building to prevent the suspect from escaping. The Okan Asylum leads the police to investigate the crime scene that has blood spilled all over it. With numerous subplots, the tale is spread across years involving several murders and a dark past.
The dialogues are well constructed. The stories are mostly relayed through the dialogues apart from the third person narrative voice. They are simple and conversational.
However, the overall language of the book could have been better. It is of medium level difficulty and can be easily understood by even beginner level readers.
At several times, the lack of cadence in the language makes it a jerky read for advanced level readers. This does not change the fact that the plot lines make for a good one time read.
The plots are highly thrilling and engrossing. Patnaik makes good use of the locales in most of his stories.
It is the plot that holds the stories together. It brings in balance to the book and adds to the drama of the genre. It would have been even better had Patnaik added a bit of criminal psychology to the plots.
There is an ample amount of information that makes for a graphic presentation of the stories. Patnaik’s mode of writing is to present information in a bit by bit manner to the reader.
He does not go overboard with his descriptions. Neither is he subtle nor is he overtly grim. The stories are divided into chapters that allow for information to flow slowly and gradually.
Each chapter division is presented with a few words of summarised description in bold about what is to follow in the chapter. This makes for an interesting read and acts as a bookmark of sorts.
At 163 pages, the book is a crisp and enticing read for lovers of crime fiction, thrillers or murder mysteries.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Hidden Truth from the link below.