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Rating: 3.5/5

An effective crime thriller is one which takes you by surprise, forces you to sit upright and makes you exclaim out loud, ‘OH…NOO….’ (in my case… ;)). Does Patang fall under this category? Let’s find out.

Patang by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is a crime investigation thriller, a police procedural. A serial killer is on the loose and it is race against time for the police to nab the murderer before he strikes again. The book has everything- clues/messages left deliberately by the killer for the police to fit the pieces, connections to old cases, rainy weather adding the murkiness and a lonely detective heading the investigation.  As the title of the book suggests, Patang (Kite) has a huge role to play in this series of gruesome murders. Does, the private detective, Chandrakant Rathod, who takes charge of the case able to nab the murderer or does the murderer outwit the entire police system? That’s the basic premise of the story.

I haven’t read an Indian crime fiction before, like a book completely based on murder investigation. The moment I came across this book, I knew I had to get my hand on it. After reading the initial few chapters, I was completely disappointed. Even though the plot is very interesting with a very captivating setting, the narration falters big time. The language lets down the narration badly. Loads of flowery words at the most wrong places affect the story pretty badly. It’s in the sentence formation where the beauty of the narration lies and not on the usage of uncommon words. Because of this, the first half ends up very amateurish.

I am still wondering why the author had to include a detailed making out scene when it had no bearing at all on the story. Honestly, it was very cringe worthy. It’s not like it’s mandatory to have such a portion in a thriller, is it?

Chandrakant Rathod is a smart detective. His theories and deduction is very nicely displayed. His interaction with DCP was entertaining. His altercation with the murderer does send a chill down the spine. The book also gives a glimpse into the police system and how everything is protocol and hierarchy. Loads of characters are involved, with only a few recurring. The first half is a letdown, but the author picks up in the second half and it’s a racy ride to the end without any bumps.

Being a crime thriller, it’s not possible for me to go any further into the story as it would give away the plot. I know many would wonder why I have given a 3.5 in spite of me having a lot of complains against it. That’s because of the major twist at the end. I was really sceptical when the story was heading towards a very predictable end but was absolutely taken aback when the author deftly takes a steep thrilling turn resulting with the readers enjoying the book as a whole at the end, at least I definitely did. Indeed, the climax reminded me of a Hindi movie (can’t give away the name of the movie either), but that was only after the ending, so no complains there. This book would make a great movie, as I felt the author wrote it more like a screenplay.

Patang is a very honest attempt by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay to write something in the genre of pure crime investigation genre. It has its own ups and downs, but the author somehow ends the journey on a good note. It’s not a long read and hence it’s worth giving a try.


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