'How would you commit the perfect murder?' is my perfect party question. Discussions about serial killers, their motives for the killing spree and of course psychological thrillers are my thing. And when there is a book out there that speaks about India's number one serial killer I just had to read, don't I? And here is my take on it.
Book Name: Raakshas - India's No.1 Serial Killer
Author: Piyush Jha
Genre: Fiction - Thriller
Characters: Raakshas, ACP Maithili Prasad, Kalantak Baba
Disclaimer: I received the book for an honest review from the publishers.
The story follows the protagonist, the killer from his birth to the end. He becomes the notorious Bundi-cut killer, who terrorizes Mumbai by leaving a trail of headless corpse. He begins his spree by killing his own father, who may or not have played a part in him turning into the psychopath he is. Not so fortuitously, the strangers he meets during his journey as an adolescent seem to instigate the actions of the devil within him, especially the fake saint who uses the boy to help him lure women and to dispose of their dead bodies. The narrative accelerates when he starts to visualize all women to be evil and starts a killing spree. Diametrically opposite to him is the ACP Maithili Prasad who pledges to catch him to silence the inner devil from the past. The media also adds oil to the fire, by stroking his ego down. The duo - ACP and the killer form a bond through telephone, trying to understand each other.
Another murder piles on the shrouds over Ms Prasad's conscious due to a mishap during an operation to catch the killer. She is ripped off her post and she eventually resigns. But the killer by now takes things personal and decides to kill to Ms Prasad. How does he reach her? Did she arrest him or become another victim to his psychopathy? These questions are answered in the rest of the story.
The novel alternates between the stories of the main characters starting at the births and constantly reminds us of how coincidence (destiny?) can make a person a police officer while the other a killer on the run. Both the characters have met death and have been responsible for deaths, before their adulthood. They have an extremely contrasting family brought up and thus arising the question if that had anything to do with the killer's actions.
I finished the book in a single sitting, thanks to the long train journey to Bengaluru and the fast pace of the book. The writing was crisp and an easy read, yet I was unable to reach out to any of the characters. Even after all the tragedy that killer has gone through I could not feel bad for him, and much lesser for the ACP. In fact, after a point my mind lost the ability to react to the innumerable murders, however gruesome they were. I would have felt happy if only there were more actions from the police to catch the serial killer, at least as such as the media seemed to be contributing.
I always get excited for a serial killer (fictional, obviously) and this book promised to show me the psychology behind their action. Thanks to shows like Dexter and Hannibal Lecter which have showed us a glimpse of the persons that the killers are, my hopes were too high and I was more than curious to read about the psychology of the killer from the book but was left to be satisfied with the appendix. Oh I loved the other part of the appendix which had a brief about the lesser known serial killers from India.
Though it might be due to the 'soon to be a motion picture' tag on the cover, that I read the whole book like it was a movie, rather than a novel and I felt there were traces of the yesteryear's movie called Sivapu rojakal (Red Rose, Hindi) in the story line.
If you want to read about an Indian serial killer, this might be a sure catch up.