By Aparna Mudi
Thrillers by modern Indian writers leave me sceptical. It is not everyday that you actually find one that is gripping.
However, 'The Unwanted Shadow' by Bhaskarya Deka is not too bad. With just about 200 pages, the book doesn't seem heavy at the outset. You begin the book and you are left guessing where the story is taking you. It is not a whodunnit, it has a very realistic feel to it. The deaths are rare and well spaced throughout the novel.
Deka has researched his characters well. The story revolves around a young man from a small town in eastern India. Mohan, has a past, and is moving on to the big glittering Delhi to make a future for himself. But fate, as always has different plans for him. His new-found love, success and happiness suddenly dissappears when a deadly attack takes away his life.
His journey from thereon is one of self discovery. Within that self discovery he also finds a person who comes crashing back to his life. Whether this person is a friend or a foe is what the book explores.
As a thriller, the book is not high on violence or death. Although, it will keep you more or less gripped, Deka has not gone too graphic with his depiction of murders. The book is short so it does not dwindle on the pace of the story. There is a certain amount of inspiration from various books of this genre, especially hotsellers. The depth of the central character is well etched. However the other characters don't share that quality. Also, certain parts of the book seem to be superficially chalked out.
Deka has made sure to keep the relationship sides of the story crisp and to the point. He does not dwell on romanticising relationships and exaggerating scenes. Although, the story does come to a point where he makes the mistake of encouraging irrelevant character development, which ultimately can be a deterrent. The pace however rarely slacks.
The first half of the book makes it seem that the book may fail in its genre, but the author makes up for it. It may also seem that the book has been written by one of those umpteen engineering graduates, who have fashioned themselves as writers after failing to make a mark in their own industry.
It is a one sitting book. You wouldn't want to put it down as the shortness of it is refreshing. It also has some crisp and fresh language, especially for the young. Although it would not provide a very deep insight into psychology, it does touch some issues that young Indian authors are not very comfortable to delve into.
'The Unwanted Shadow' has all the necessary elements of a thriller, and the author can go a long way ahead with his writing. It is a great book to pick up while travelling, and will definitely be a engrossing read.
Published by: Half Baked Beans