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Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup | Book Review

Six suspects is a crime thriller (fiction) written by Vikas Swarup who is enjoying a celebrity status (even more, after success of Slumdog millionaire, based on his book Q&A). Here are our personal and unbiased reviews for Six Suspects.

Book Title : Six Suspects
Author :
Genre : Crime Thriller
Publisher : RHUK (Mass market paperbacks)
Published in: (26 January 2010)
Doubleday (Random House)(UK)
Minotaur Books(St. Martin’s Press(US)
Harper Collins(Canada)
Originally publushed on (28 July 2008)
Total Pages : 576 (Paperback)
Purchase Links : From Amazon India
From Amazon.com

Once you have produced a best-seller, it is sometimes a very hard feat to repeat. All successful writers, and for that matter all artists including singer/songwriters, music directors, painters, sculptures, etc. are prone to this, e.g., Adelle with her new release….

So when “Q&A” was followed by “Six Suspects“, which is bigger in size but more focused around one event, there was already an eager audience waiting for it. And for the Swarup fans outside India, this book does deliver more or less on the same line as Q & A and has similar appeal. However, the fun for Indian readers lie in connecting the dots as a lot of Swarup’s characters and incidents are straight out of real life and sometimes Bollywood basics.

Tag line of Six Suspects

All deaths are not equal. There’s a caste system even in murder…

The main villain (for the want of a better word) Vicki Rai, is a spoilt son of the home minister of Uttar Pradesh. He has just topped up the telly of his crimes by murdering a young and beautiful bar-tender called Ruby Gill who denied him a drink (Yes, absolutely correct, the Jessica Lal murder case).

As there are no witnesses, Vicki Rai is released by the court, but in the celebration party at his farm-house he is shot dead by an unknown assassin. The police discover that six people in the party had an armed weapon and of course a motive in a very Agatha Christie style.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here are our “Six Suspects“:

  1. Jagannath Rai – The veteran politician and the father of Vicki Rai
  2. Shabnam Saxena – A successful bollywood siren
  3. Mohan Kumar – A retired bureaucrat who is haunted by Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit (yup, reminded me of Munna Bhai too)
  4. Eketi – An adivasi native from the deep jungles
  5. Munna Mobile – A thief who also happens to be in love with Vicki Rai’s sister
  6. Larry Page – An American from Texas looking for a mail-order bride

It is investigative journalism from here as the narrator goes through all six suspects’ lives one by one, once again preferring to switch in and out of stories rather than following a linear trend. His remarkable humour and tendency to take shots at Indian idiosyncrasies ranging from reality TV to our prisons to the modern gurus to our fascination for celebrities to our absolutely unbelievable politics, creates a very large and interconnected canvas.

We witness the struggle of a retired bureaucrat’s pride, a politician’s maneuvers to hang on to power, a beauty with a brain and taste for philosophy, a victim of Bhopal disaster who finds home with a typical adorable thief who in turn falls in to a very Bollywood flavoured romance.

To top up the international quotient, we have Larry Page, a namesake of google founders, a typical American who doesn’t know much about international affairs, and comes to India to get married to his mail-order bride who is none other than photograph of Shabnam Saxena. He is kidnapped by terrorists and ends up loosing a limb but gaining CIA’s protection, a new identity and a beautiful bride in bonus.

But, the most lovable one of the lot is Eketi – simple, tribal, believing in magic and finding it, but unable to understand the world of “so-called” civilized Indians who very brutally murder him in the name of justice.

Final Verdict

Mr. Swarup tries to keep the pace fast and the narrative funny and the book is quite easy to read. It is quite lengthy in size (especially for crime fiction genre, so if it would not have fast paced, you might wanted to skip it).

A typical whodunit with lots of entertainment….


External Links:

An excerpt from the book is available for free to read on Vikas Swarup’s official website. Here is http://www.vikasswarup.net/books/six-suspects/read-an-excerpt/

Over to you

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