Reading Vish Dhamija‘s books proves to be an interesting experience for us, always.
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Not only because thrillers, mysteries, detective work and police procedural are what we love to explore in addition to mythology, fantasy fiction, satire, humor and other stuff; but also the way he weaves the elements together amazes us.
Here are some of his books, we have reviewed so far.
- Bhendi Bazaar | A Crime Thriller
- The Mogul | Book Review
- Nothing Else Matters | Book Review
- Deja Karma | Book Review
- Unlawful Justice | Book Review
- Nothing Lasts Forever | Book Review
Fortunately, we got a chance to have an author interview session with him as well.
Since we’ve read Bhendi Bazaar (a dark thriller), we were curious to meet the female protagonist – DCP Rita Ferreira again. Knowing that “Doosra” is the second book featuring her, it was in our list. A while ago I got a chance to read it and I found it a really interesting thriller.
|Book Title||:||Doosra: The Other One|
|Published by||:||Harper Black ( 1 November 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||295; 741 KB (Kindle EBook)|
|# of Chapters||:||29|
Being responsible for making the first impression of the book it is associated with, the cover page is often responsible to lure a casual browser to pick the specific book from a compendium and probably look for its blurb and other details. Of course, if the browser find it interesting he can be converted into a potential buyer/reader. The role of the first impression made by the cover page, however, cannot be ignored.
Let us take a look at the cover page of Doorsa: The Other One.
The earlier version of the book had a different cover page, but the latest version has a really attractive cover page. Based on the technology available, the designer has put in his sincere efforts to make it appealing.
Cover designer Saurabh Garge has done a nice job. The cove images are taken from Getty Images/SJPailkar.
Let us take a bird’s eye view of the book plot.
The story starts in Antwerp, 2 April.
Ron Jogani, a wealthy diamond merchant from India, visits Antwerp. Of course, it was not his first visit (though, it is destined to be his last one). He is good at diamond trading, and more importantly at judging them. As mentioned in the book:
His biggest skill was his knowledge of precious stones, especially diamonds. Even with a naked eye, he could price a diamond and it wouldn’t be any more than five per cent away from the real value.
Being a global diamond hub, his visit to Antwerp is quite obvious. He don’t share his full itinary with the other. Just for the precautions. He even don’t take taxi to his hotel, he usually drops it a couple of streets ahead, mostly near other hotel. Then he walks into his hotel. This way, in case anyone is following him could lost the trail. He know that the small gemstones he used to deal in and thus sometimes carry with him, worth a lot and anyone wanted to become quick rich may have plans to steal/loot from him. So, he does the basic.
Somehow, after his deal, when he was having a leisure time in his hotel, he was called from the reception. He was reluctant, but, ultimately visits the reception to find that no one has called him from there! He sensed something is wrong. He rushed to his room to see his valuables are about to be stolen. And, he got murdered there!
It was a high profile case, and the police does their work with all sincerity, but was unable to catch the culprit. Even, the valuables are lost!
As Mr. Jogani was from India, and the possible killer was also coming back to India, the investigation has to be spread there as well. Specifically, in Mumbai.
Eventually, DCP Rita Ferreira and her team was put on this high profile case. Also, the reputation of Indian investigation agencies are under the radar, so the police must find the killer!
Even if the suspect is in Mumbai, is it possible to catch him? Mumbai is a vast city and someone can easily dissolve in the crowd and hid in at a place, where no one could look for him/her.
How the story moves ahead, what challenges DCP Rita Ferreira and her team faces, and how the case is solved/remain unsolved is better to explore by reading the book, rather than talking about :).
Over the course of the story, you meet DCP Rita Ferreira, Ron Jogani, Vinay Joshi (Joint CP), Ash Mattel (Ashwin Mittal), Kuldeep, Sishir Singh, Senior Inspector Vikram Patil, Jatin, Senior Inspector Rajesh Nene, Commissioner Sanjay Saxena, Honey Singh, Mrs Lucky Singh, Kitty Varghese, Mr Joginder Raja, Anita Jogani, Veer Singh, Sheila, Kuldeep, and others.
Views and Reviews:
The book is a fantastic thriller. The author came with an interesting title Doosra: The Other One. Doosra can be translated as the second one. And, this book is the second in DCP Rita series. The author uses it in the story in an interesting way, and refers to this famous term in the cotext of “Cricket”.
Let me share author’s own words about this book:
Doosra – aka Googly – is a term used in the game of cricket. It’s a kind of bowling delivery that promises to go one way after the bounce, but goes the other.
The author also shares his views about how the idea of this book was conceived.
The idea of a diamond-heist-gone-wrong storyline came to me when I finished writing Bhendi Bazaar, but I waited to see how the readers reacted to the character of DCP Rita Ferreira. As the initial positive response to the book and Rita Ferreira started trickling in, I was convinced she would be the protagonist again, and Doosra was born.
For a seasoned reader, it would be easy to draw parallel between the famous Nikki Heat book series and Rita Ferreira series. Of course, some similarities are there in all police procedural / detective fiction and it doesn’t mean that one inspired the other. Here the comparison is done just to show the internation quality of this book.
One thing I found prominent in all Vish Dhamija books, is the inclusion of references to historical/mythological/cultural references about the places he talk about or referred to in the book. This book is no exception. I am delighted to read the following references:
Benaulim has been part of Goa lore for generations: Parshurama – the sixth avatar of Vishnu – had shot an arrow from somewhere above in the Western Ghats, and that arrow descended upon what came to be known as Banavalli: the village of the arrow. The Portuguese rechristened it to Benaulim.
Mumbai Police HQ is in the vicinity of a historic landmark called Crawford Market,
The Moghul emperor Shah Jahan, most noted for Taj Mahal, had a court jeweller of Gujarati descent:Shantidas Jhaveri. Shantidas Jhaveri exclusively catered to the royal line- up of queens the emperor had, but generations down the line and anglicized over the years, Zaveri Brothers was still one of the biggest names in diamonds in the country.
The author also refers to the famous fictional detective Hercule Poirot, reporter Tintin and other characters to make the reading experiences even more joyous. His love for films, cricket and his interest in general knowledge is also visible in the book. Here are some quotes in the same regards:
Gentle and balding, he could easily play Hergé’s Professor Calculus in the next Tintin film. The only apparent difference was that Joshi was a lot taller than his caricatured twin.
The Belgian detective who came to Mumbai on Monday morning – Victor De Smet – was anything but the legendary Hercule Poirot, though he had the girth and the accentuated gait of the fabled character. Remove Poirot’s moustache and add a head full of straight blond hair parted on the side and that was Victor.
Sishir Singh was definitely an alias. One didn’t need a Sherlock to tell her that. But that was logic, not evidence.
Omega is one of the most respected watch brands in the world. It was on the wrist of Mr Armstrong when he took that giant leap for all of us mankind.
The Australians call it trifecta: three victories in three. Hat-trick is how any cricketer would have termed it.
The author is good at wordplays. The way he introduces us to places and situations by some interesting comparisions, is worth admiring.
Arrogant rain was still sheeting down like Arjuna’s arrows and showed no intention of stopping.
Its continuous thundering drops on the windshield sounded like a rap singer on steroids; the wipers struggled to keep it clear,
It was six. The sun had still not finished its shift, and the sky was still bright.
Lokhandwala, in Andheri West, looked like an adopted child of Bandra – the grandness was perceptible.
Answers never travel in a straight line from west to east or vice versa, do they? This particular puzzle got its manna from north.
But when the bureaucratic machinery really decided to do something, she knew, it got done much faster than it took Tendulkar to score a century.
Additionally, he was a charmer in person when it came to words that mattered; he could charm the feathers off a peacock in the mating season.
The book brings some matter of facts in straight forward manner. For example, the following line about India’s security systems when letting passengers in to the flight, is well-balanced. Neighter it tries to show a bravod here nor anything fancy or superlative terms are used. Just a plain matter of fact. Such simplicity often work in favor of the book.
…as there had never been any security lapse on any flight that had taken off from India in over fifty years.
It rare to see any fitness regime or excercise routine being followed by the lead characters (especially from the law enforcement team) is mentioned in books (of course, exceptions are there). So, finding the following lines in the book makes your day.
She decided to do yoga. She was blessed with a great metabolism, but being slim did not necessarily mean being fit. She exercised for agility, for strength, for flexibility, for stamina, for body synergy.
And it is not only for the protagonist, the skills that the people on the wrong side of the law possess, is also mentioned. Also the fact that – during the policing work, the protectors of law has to follow the rule, but the ruler-breakers don’t have to follow any such code of conduct – is mentioned in the book.
There’s nothing that bothers bureaucracy like a miscarried procedure. Do anything but don’t break the rules and procedures irrespective of how ridiculous or obsolete they are.
Catching a criminal is like one side playing the game with ever-changing rules. The police have to adhere to the guidelines, the criminal can change course any time: name, identity, MO …
The following lines about the policing work, their relations with media, how system works, criminal’s ability to smell policemen in disguise etc. are really interesting:
A policeman was, above all, a policeman. The uniform was for the amateurs to identify the police; the professionals didn’t need that – they would be familiar with people like Nene from a mile.
Truth is that media and police force are two alpha males that never got along. They, at best, politely tolerate each other, and that is how it should be: one’s negatives highlighted and checked by the other.
‘Don’t risk writing off the intelligence of the perpetrators. They’re clever, they’re smart, and they think on their feet. They have the ability to optimize their plans as they go along if the circumstances change.
Contrary to what most people think, the police didn’t merely look for answers. The foremost search was always for the correct questions. Correct questions get correct answers. Answers to non-existent questions are useless.
Tailing someone was simple. Tailing someone without being caught out needed a bit of caution.
Police work was like mathematics. You might know the answer to the question, but you needed to be able to walk the journey between the question and answer.
There were missing pieces, but it was always the missing pieces that made puzzles, she recognized that. Years of police training and experience had taught her that answers were never served on a platter, least of all in a homicide investigation.
No technology is ever infallible. It is a common misbelief that all hi-tech gadgets were at the bequest of those who can afford them and deploy them when, in fact, they were at the mercy of those who can hack them.
Though it can chase down anything that moves, surveillance couldn’t be carried out in a Ferrari: you needed a camel in the desert, not a cheetah. You want anonymity and not a jarring sight that begged a double take.
If you are a fan of one-liners, this book has a plenty of them. They covers a wide spectrum of inspiration, information, motivation, philosophy, psychology and more
Remember – an illusion can only work till something eludes you.
There was, and always would be, without exception, an invisible line between the wealthy and those who aspired to be.
If you really want something, you should go that extra mile to get it.’
Deception is a bonus in investigation.
Haste makes waste – cliché, but factual. No conclusion was better than a false one.
because you couldn’t find something it did not mean it wasn’t there.
You couldn’t know how the dice would fall unless you threw the dice.
By definition only people whom you love or have loved can let you down.
Each day on the wrong track is also a day away from the right track,…
Anyone can win when they have aces; the art is in winning when you are dealt a lousy hand, …
Beauty can be an opinion steered by preconceived notion or your upbringing; sensuality was near absolute.
All relationships are mutable by nature…
If someone wanted to learn how to shrink cash, this was a crash course.
Surveillance is a game played with gold chips of patience.
Sometimes to define a character or some attributes of him/her, you may not need to address them (the attributes) directly. The book has some lines adding to the persona of respective characters, like:
Kitty Varghese was an iPhone: there wasn’t any dearth of admirers.
Leonard Aaron, the tall, slim, pointed-nosed, silver-haired, aging diamond dealer, who had been around since after the war, solely owned Aaron Diamonds.
Dawn was unfolding but the sun seemed to be on a late shift; no signs of it yet when Rita went for a jog.
She could never trust a firearm she hadn’t fired.
Impatience is a virtue in investigation. It establishes confidence that someone else was thinking about the case too.
Photograph would help in identification. But you’ve got to find the person first to identify him.
It was past dusk when Rita left the office; even the shadows were long gone. The night was black, the breeze cool. Stars shone and the night sky over the Arabian Sea was clear, but the sea was anything but quiet.
She had an eidetic memory. Nothing escaped her mind. Image. Sound. Names. Scent. She was born to be a detective.
The author talks about various human attributes elaborating his understanding of psyche. Here are some such lines:
After all, betrayal wasn’t a new word added to the English dictionary; it had been there since the 13th century. Betrayal had been a part of human history since the Advent, wasn’t it?
Next she slid the red box file towards her. It was indeed bulky. But unlike body weight, in a murder investigation it was better to have more, than not enough.
Sadly, in an investigation, she knew, questions and answers did not come in a sequence. Sometimes you got some answers first that you had no use of. Later came in the questions that bridged the gap.
‘Life is no more than a profit and loss statement: and profits and losses are always “as on” a date, a point in time, since the actual profit or loss can only be determined when the enterprise closes. So is with life. So you’re a winner till you actually lose.’
Whatever class of travel you picked in India, the car journey from the airport to the final destination ultimately coated you with a fine layer of grime, even if it is an air-conditioned car with windows closed.
As for life, so for love: you couldn’t let your failures cling to you. Accept defeat or loss and then, breaking the old and unavailing ties, tightly shut the door on the past.
I like the dark humour and punches in the following lines:
Ash Mattel – Ashwin Mittal originally, but Microsoft Word forced him to change his name rather than correct the spelling each time
A man so large it would appear that he had been put into the car and then inflated to fill up the interior.
If I had to choose only one segment to quote form the book, I would settle for:
In their lust for more, most people make sure they lose everything they’ve already got. That’s how Devil plays; he always blinds you and suspends you in some fifth dimension where everything sounds like a lament.
The author brings in some interesting words like:
rambunctious, vainglorious, Chugalugging
All these quotes have given you a fair idea about the kind of writing the book possesses. So, you can determine whether it meets with what your likes when it comes to reading. I really like the way the layers of characters are explored. The track of speedy bike drivers may found unrelavent in the beginning, but it also has a potential link.
Despite being the protagonist, Rita is not perfect. She also has her vulnerabilities. In fact, she came back or rather say called by from a sabattical. She has her own demons to fight with. She also needs a shoulder to support, she also need ears to hear her. And, that makes her character more believable. Ash Mittal’s character has shades of mystery and you may start thinking that he is not the guy to trust. That makes you weave another track of the story in your mind. Whether he is trustable or not? Well, you should explore yourself, by reading the book.
The characters of CP and Joint CP, Vikram, Jatin and others shows different faces of the law enforcement system. They all have their own ways do the good work. Their abilities are different and they are doing their bits.
The descriptions of scenes, the roads, traffic, the way the localities explored, are all up to the mark.
Even the characters of Sishir Singh, Kitty, the old lady, all have their significance. The book has a tapestry of characters adding to the shades of suspence.
In terms of shortcomings, I found only one. The book is meant for mature readers. Some explicit scenes are meant for the adult eyes only. Well, usually such murder mysteries are not for un-matured minds anyway.
A complete entertainer. If you love police procedural, you will enjoy reading it.
Around 8 stars out of 10.
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