A series of murders in a small Indian town reveals a complicated conspiracy in Giridharan’s debut thriller.
Immediately after a medical research firm announces a major breakthrough in diabetes research, someone murders one of its scientists in the middle of a crowded street. Although the shooter claims personal revenge as a motive, police superintendent Vijay is suspicious about the true nature of the crime. The killer clearly possessed advanced knowledge of his victim’s movements, but he also appears to be an amateur who’s sincere in his regret. Vijay immediately assumes that there was someone else involved, who may have manipulated the shooter. The autopsy only heightens his suspicions, when it reveals that the scientist had been poisoned hours before his murder. The cop’s concerns are validated in the worst way when three other scientists are poisoned, killing two of them and leaving the remaining one as the prime suspect. When the general public becomes interested in the deaths, Vijay is officially assigned their cases, and he enlists the help of Nandini, an intuitive female reporter, and Dandapani, a dedicated fellow police officer. Vijay and Nandini’s relationship grows more intimate as the conspiracy grows more complicated, and the clues reveal their opponent to be a deadly mastermind who has a deep connection to the scientists’ research. Giridharan’s mystery unfolds in short, densely packed chapters, with each adding another layer or twist to the plot. The prose often takes an exposition-heavy approach, though, leaving little room for the characters to deepen. The fast-paced plot, while at times difficult to follow, still manages to avoid tipping its hand—it often follows its detectives down one path, only to take an unexpected turn. As the investigation progresses, for example, it casts doubt on Vijay’s initial theories. Although the writing isn’t rich in imagery or creative language, each detail that Giridharan does present proves integral to the unfolding mystery.
A rigid but workable thriller that offers a few genuine surprises.