Review: Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha

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Title : Compass Box Killer
Series : Mumbaistan Series, Inspector Virkar, #1
Author : 
Pages: 234 paperback
Publisher: Rupa Publications      
Genre: Murder Mystery/ Thriller
Release: July 2013
Buy the book: Flipkart / Homeshop18 
Received review copy from AllaboutBooks

‘Akurle is just the first to die. To find out who is next, find me first.’

One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a tell-tale compass box reveals more clues.
Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives.
Slick plot twists and high-adrenaline action mark the first of the Inspector Virkar Crime Thrillers—part of the Mumbaistan series. Tough, daring and relentless in his pursuit of justice, Inspector Virkar is a policeman one wishes every city had.

Book Cover :  Well, It's a fun cover, on first glace you would know it not something too complex or cryptic  but a mystery you can enjoy specially in your long boring train journeys. I like the color scheme a lot, and of course the review quote from Madhur Bhandarkar saying "An edge-of-the-seat thriller. Full Jalwa."

Story Line, characters and writing style :

Book opens up with expressions of feelings that made me think it's a murder scene but second-third line just said otherwise, it is in fact a sleazy love-making scene leading to an unintentional murder and then the story starts taking a reader to the present scenario.

Senior Inspector Akurle is murdered and Inspector Virkar of Mumbai Crime Branch enters to investigate the case, his entry was rather dramatic, he seems like an Inspector with good sense of humor. On the crime scene a student's geometry box is found, colloquially known as "Compass Box Killer" with a note written in dried blood. By each murder scene a Compass box is found with the a signature note giving clues to the next murder written in dried blood. 

Yes, killer with oily slicked-black hair and the soorma in his eyes is on the loose, killing each of his victim and Inspector Virkar is unable to save them despite of the prior knowledge, Is Inspector Virkar less vigilant? No but our Killer is much smarter, always a step ahead. In this pursuit, hide and seek many characters are wrapped up together, one of them is Raashi, a news reporter of CrimeNews Channel. Whenever a media person enters,they start to breath down the neck of investigation that's exactly Raashi is doing but the tension between Insp. Virkar and Raashi is visible as an electric shock from the very beginning.

Insp. Virkar has always lived in Mumbai, grown up in Colaba Macchi bazar, well acquainted with every nook and corner of Mumbai, he rides a bullet like many other Inspectors we know but he is drop dead handsome with a devils tongue and eyes that are capable of shedding tears. Raashi on the other hand is still a mystery to me, I believe there is more to her character then shown in this book, I guess we will be seeing some hidden sides of her in next installments of the series. I would have liked to know how the male protagonist, Inap. Virkar looked like, it's hard to imagine him with the little details provided in this context. Plot was rather predictable, perhaps a little more complex plot would have made it more interesting.

As Insp. Virkar decodes the clues and unveils the trues identity of the 'Compass box' Killer and his motives, reader is taken back and forth the time and cities, running down an engaging mix of romance, betrayal, hurt, revenge and hidden motives.

Piyush Jha's writing style is very lucid, being a film maker he knows well enough where to stress and what to elaborate, how to keep it interesting without letting the readers to frown over or work their minds much.

Is Compass box killer really the culprit? Will Inspector Virkar make him stop? and most importantly who is 'Smooth Operator'? Is love is really love or just the hunger of success? 

I won't be surprised to see this one on silver screens soon, the plot is created just for the complete bollywood masala movie.

In one line, this is an engaging read one will enjoy when in mood to pamper their cravings for a thriller read without getting stressed over the complexity of the plot.




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Author Profile



Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and a first-time novelist. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management later acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country’s largest brands, and then write and direct feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar. He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.

Connect with him:

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