We were curious to explore the books by Mainak Dhar since a while, but, were not getting the time for the same. Fortunately, we stumbled upon a fantastic book offer and bought his latest thriller Sniper’s Eye which is meant to be Book 1 of the 7even series. Then, the book remained in the “to be read” queue for a while. Ultimately I got a chance to read it from our team. And, here is my unbiased Book Review for the same.
What I like the most in the book is the love of the author for his late father, Maloy Krishna Dhar, one of the celebrate intelligence officer from India. It feels really good to find M K Dhar’s character weaved in the fictional story in a nice way. These family values and emotional bond is what India (that is Bharat) is known for. And, while in the rat race to adopt everything from the west, people started forgetting; it gives a soothing feel.
Now, let us talk about the book.
|Book Title||:||Sniper’s Eye|
4 Hour Press; (Trade Imprint of India Research Press) Published: (3 October 2018)
Tara Press; (Trade Imprint of India Research Press) Published: (2018)
|# of Pages||:||
238 (Paperback Edition)
3329 KB 238 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||(Paperback Edition)|
Let us take a look at the book cover:
As you can see, the cover page shows the landscape of a city from the lens of the sniper rifle and you can deduce that the sniper is at high altitude, possibly on the roof of a high rise building in a metro city. The cover page lives up to the expectations. The bluish background goes in sync with the color scheme. The text reflects the gradient from white to red via yellow color and thus stands out on the background color. so in terms of colors and readability also, the cover page hits the bull’s eye.
Overall, an impressive cover page which will raise an urge within you to grab the book.
Let us have a bird’s eye view of the plot.
Aaditya aka Aadi is enjoying his free time with his friend Zoya in a mall and cannot believe that he is actually living these joyous moments. The reasons are his past which is unknown to us as of now. But, his happy moments are not here for long to live. When both of them were en-route to the exit, all of a sudden he sensed something unusual. While he took Zoya to the safety a sniper’s bullet hit its target. No, it’s not Aadiya!
It brought Aaditya to action. I am not going into the details here. He is able to track and take down the shooter. And, at the same time, he saw one of them leaving the place! So, the shooter was not alone!?
The police is arrived on the place, and based on the situation they confuse Aadi as the culprit! Despite all of Aadi’s tries to convince the authorities, they were not ready to listen and Aadi was taken into the police custody!
Due to Aadi’s influential contacts and Zoya’s efforts, however, the police needed to release him. More importantly, the truth came out that Aadi was actually trying to save people and able to nail down one of the attacker. Here we come to know something important about the victim and Aadi both.
In this media (over)friendly age, his heroics didn’t go unnoticed (unfortunately) and next day he was in the news!
The kill was not a random one and the sniper was not an ordinary(!) contract killer! It is a big terrorist organization behind it, and the exposed heroics of Aadi made him one of their targets!
So, will Aadi be the next target? Will the authorities give him security, and will it be enough? What will happen to Zoya and others who are in some way related to Aadi? And, what is the plot of the terror organization?
Well, all the questions are better get answered by reading this thriller.
Telling more about the plot will include spoilers and as our regular readers know that we actually try to keep away them as much as possible. And, thus, some of the things in the plot must be avoided. The main idea behind providing review of the book is not to summarize the story but just giving the hint of the main plot and discussing about various aspects of the book and what we genuinely think about it. We believe that an unbiased book review will help readers/potential buyers in making read/purchase decisions.
Of course, writing a book requires a lot of efforts and it is very easy to give it a few stars. From the writer’s perspective it often seem unjust also. At the same time, when a reader is going to spend his/her money and more importantly time, an unbiased book review may help him/her in taking decisions.
The story is really good.
For the thriller (or for that matter, for any book) it is the core element which has to be stronger. Without a stronger base you cannot build a fantastic monument. What I like the most in the story is its contemporariness. Of course, it is a fantasy fiction, but, some references to the recent events, directly and/or indirectly, makes the story more relatable. Intelligent readers will be able to draw parallel easily and will enjoy the even more. The references to TV channel ICTV and New government will not go unnoticed by them.
Here is an example:
The national anthem is played on a radio somewhere and the kids stopped playing, standing at attention. I smiled as I watched them resume their game once it had stopped. That simple gesture taught me a lot – I lived in India where it was fashionable to debate whether the anthem should be played in cinema halls and whether one should stand for it. But there was still an India out there, where patriotism was still taken as an article of faith.
Here is one more example:
The news vans arrived before the commandos. Put that down to leaky information, inefficient cops of super-efficient media vultures.
It is rare to see “meet-with-the-reality” moments for the people who are on the wrong side of the humanity. As we mostly are exposed to the stories written in a way where they show black and white. In reality, the majority of people have grey shades. Emotions of an assassin are captured nicely in the book.
The only Indians he had seen up close were those he had marked for death through his scope. Now, he was seeing them as human beings, perhaps no different from those he had once counted as family and friends.
Often the hate feels vulnerable in presence of love!
It is (more often than not, righly) said that with more wealth, more greed enters into the arena. We’d witnessed many times in the real life that people with limited resources are more generous than those who sit on the pile of the wealth. Of course, there are exceptions. But, mostly, the people, which we call “common-men” are generous. They might be living in tiny place but have bigger hearts. Nowadays, such real people rarely appear in movies and TV Shows, especially in India. The author, however, brings them here in the story.
Here was a family, who perhaps earned less in a year than their employers earned in a couple of days, yet openly welcoming us in, willing to share their food with us.
We wolfed down what was placed in front of us. Then as I looked up, I felt guilty about not leaving enough for this family, which had shared its meal with us.
Combat training involves many things. T physical fitness is just one part of it. It is said that mind is the most powerful weapon anyone can have during tough time. The author comes up some good lines in the same regards.
Once you are in a violent situation, adrenaline kicks in. It is a double-edged weapon. On the one hand adrenaline can make you react and often take a lot of damage without realising it. On the other, it tends to narrow your focus too much, often coming in the way of rational thought, preventing you from thinking of other options.
Here are some more such lines:
The key was to remember that protecting yourself in a situation involving civilians did not always require fighting. It required preparation, awareness and evasion.
… what we train for most is learning to plan before the adrenaline rush of combat hits and then learning to control one’s thoughts and actions despite the chaos.
And, it is not all about just the warfare, kills, thrills etc. I like the definition of love in the book:
You don’t have to be strong all the time. Perhaps that’s what love is, knowing that you can show your worst to someone and know that you won’t be judged.
It is something we crave for in almost every relations, right?
The armed forces kill the enemies and so does the anti-social elements. But they are different. One does it to make the society clean and better place to live, while other does it for wrong reasons. Through the mouth of a character, the author represents his views on the same as:
You’re an enemy, but do you know the one difference between your jihadi friends and us in the Army? We don’t treat our enemies as subhumans. We bury their fallen with honour. We respect their courage even as we kill them.
The book has some realistic lines which are infused with sarcasm.
And no matter what they should you in the movies, when an unarmed ma goes up against someone with a gun, he usually ends up dead with a bullet somewhere inside him.
The author is good at showing emotions of a trapped person who is caught in a fatal situation. Here is an example:
Thoughts of revenge were always good when you were in as deep a pile of shit as I was.
War is often glamorised, but ultimately it leaves people in a situation where everyone has lost something. Even the battle of Mahabharata is a proof. Sometimes, the situations are so tragic, that it is tough to tell whether someone is a winner or loser. The book has some emotional lines in that context.
People think old soldiers sit and talk of battles, of medals and growls won, or daring raids. No, old soldiers sit and talk of brother they have lost.
They never show that on the news because if people realised just how awful war is, they would stop asking for it so often.
Here is a philosophical yet inspirational line from the book:
Sometimes it’s not only winning that matters, but whether that battle is worth fighting and dying for.
So now, you must have got an idea about the quality of content the book possess. There are not many characters in the book, the primary ones are Aadi, Zoya, Karzai, Thapa, Ravi, and Rekha. All of them are given necessary scope and thus almost all the characters are well developed.
If you are an avid thriller and detective/spy fiction lover, you can guess the suspense before it is revealed, but, it is well kept. The book also contains a glimpse of the next book in the series, and aftermath of the incidents in this book. It will make readers curious for the next book, for sure.
The author could have added glossary at the end of the book.
Do you love reading thrillers? You will enjoy reading this book. Especially the way the incidents are linked in the context of current political, geographical and social structure, are going in sync with reader’s expectations.
Around 7.5 out of 10.
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