THE BUTCHER OF BENARES (2014) 3.5/5 YES Thriller Rs.46 (Kindle ebook) Mahendra Jakhar [3.45/319 ratings Good
Preface: Some time back I got intrigued by a book from an Indian author, the book was named THE TAJ CONSPIRACY, reason its title. I bought it and read it, but it was a dud, one of the worst thriller I ever read. Then after some time I got intrigued by another book named THE BUTCHER OF BENARES, reason the title and the cover page, but I was very sceptical whether I will like it or not, or will this book again cheat me like the previous one, since this book was not written by any well-known famous Indian writers like Chetan Bhagat or Amish or Ashwin Sanghi or even Krishna Udayasankar ( I liked their books), so one fine day I finally bought its kindle version thinking that even if it comes out bad, I didn’t invested much money in it. But the book was really good, and here’s my review along with my recommendation.
Hawa Singh is a senior inspector with Delhi Police Crime Branch and is in Varanasi aka Banaras aka Kashi with his father Fauja Singh. Fauja singh wants to attain moksha by dying in Hindu’s highest order pilgrimage Banaras and he is in his older stage. Meanwhile during Hawa’s stay he observed some murders and hence got involved with Banaras police department and an agent from FBI named Ruby Singh, foreigners are getting murdered and a serial killer on loose. The killer got a nickname THE BUTCHER OF BENARES while our protagonist Hawa Singh is also known as the Ghost. The book is Bollywood thriller movie styled wherein we get all the masalas, 2 different investigating officers and obviously they had to be of different genders, also some pages has also been given to killer, where he is explaining his plan and intentions.
This book is wonderfully written, studded with lovely explaination of the oldest and mysterious city of Banaras. The time depicted in the novel is winter time and the perfect time for a killer to hide since in winter Banaras is engulfed with heavy fogs during evening/night and morning times and its closer to 0 temperature. Book captured the mood of the city beautifully. The book is a taut and edge-of-seat thriller, and never looked boring to me. Readability is good, character and environment descriptions are fine. But there was one big mistake, which, for me, cost the book a half star.
When the book was about to finish, and its the climax time, and the climax ruined it all, all the anticipation and the excitement led to a bad finale. The final twist in the tale about the main antagonist was bad, when antagonist identity was revealed, still it was believable but I don’t know why author gave one more twist to it, plus I didn’t liked the motives behind the serial killings. I have guessed the killer somehow but author gave one last twist which ruined the ending. I rate the book a 3.5/5 just because of the bad end, and the repetetive explanation of already explained environs of benaras, but all-in-all its a good timepass thriller.
Jai Raam ji ki 🙂