There is something insanely enchanting about serial killers and the story surrounding them. Organized crime with a motive has always been thrilling, but when there is a lack of motive and only a DRIVE that urges one to kill, it becomes even more fascinating.
Piyush Jha’s latest offering “Raakshas” is one such novel. Describing the parallel lives of a serial killer and an investigating officer, this novel is racy, thrilling and keeps you hooked till the end.
His name is unknown. We know him simply as RAAKSHAS. He aspires to be India’s most dreaded and famous serial killer. But how did he reach this stage? What was meted on to him during his childhood and growing years that ultimately made him reach the heights of insanity? Was he actually insane or was he a sane, cool, composed, calculated and cold blooded murderer? The plot describes all the above questions.
On the other hand, we have the ACP of Mumbai police Maithili Prasad, who is hell bent upon catching this raakshas. But she too has her own scars and childhood nightmares which still haunt her. Will she be able to overcome her own inner demons and catch this raakshas?
Piyush Jha’s unconventional writing style makes a lot of difference. Most of the passages and portions are in indirect speech, with less dialogues. This reduces the intensity at times but creates a rather eerie atmosphere at times.
The killings are described vividly and in the most gruesome way possible. But Piyush does that with conviction. There is a finesse and subtlety even in that. The weak hearted might find the killing descriptions nauseating, but then what did you expect in a novel based on a serial killer?
As I said earlier, the writing style is very good. So are few of the sequences. For instance, the entire chase sequence set in Pune which ultimately fails is very well done. The childhood plots of both the key characters are very convincing and terrifying.
Also, the entire sequence regarding the killer calling while travelling in local trains is superb.
The icing on the cake is the finale. For a climax, it builds up rather slowly and you begin to feel that this is going nowhere. But the masterstroke is brilliantly played.
As I mentioned before, a lot of the portions are sans dialogues and in indirect speech. They do reduce the intense feel of the plot. You feel that had there been a more detailed description with dialogues, perhaps there would have been a greater impact. All said and done, the overall result is very good.
OVERALL, “RAAKSHAS” delivers as promised. A taut, gripping, on-the-edge thriller about a serial killer, this one keeps you engaged till the last page. Considering the fact that a film is being made on the book, it would be highly interesting to see the plot of the book transformed into a cinematic picture.
Recommended for people who love thrillers.