Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: The Reluctant Detective by Kiran Manral

Being a debut album by the author, my expectations were not high. The story developed slowly and there is a simple plot. What I liked about the book was the simple language, interesting choice of adjectives and the nice style of writing. I also liked the pretty interesting chapter names. The free flow manner of story-telling was a welcome change.

Considering that I read this one immediately after Matthew Reilly's novel; a light read after a fast action paced one; it was indeed a welcome change.

The different shades and peculiarities of the character of the protagonist is revealed over the entire course of the story and its easy to see that the protagonist is a very normal believable and next-door kind of character. You might even identify yourself with her or someone you know. The thoughts, aspirations, worries … all are something that you might have had / thought about. The entire story is in fact a sort of character development for the protagonist against a backdrop of a faint plot

The story doesn't really have twists and turns … rather it goes on a pretty straightforward path. You know where the story is heading and there aren't any surprises. You just sit back and enjoy the simple yet enjoyable read.

The reading is like listening the experience of the protagonist (since the book is actually written in first person). It's like a normal narration she is giving you with plenty of digressions. There are times when you actually feel that the story has not really moved forward. Yes … you have come to know the lady a little better thro her narration but the story is still there … crawling at a snail's pace.

In fact, the protagonist does not even don her detective hat till almost half the novel and you are suddenly wondering about the authenticity of the novel's title. She then turns detective (after half the novel) but it's not a whole hearted attempt. She seems least interested in doing the whole detective thingy and actually takes help of a professional detective (who is incidentally her friend).

There is another character who appears in her vicinity but we (the reader) are not given any clue to his importance. You feel he is important since he has been introduced but then half way through the novel you begin to see him as a red herring.

After crossing half way through the story, the lack of movement of the story / plot and the digressions somewhat begin to irritate you if you are still expecting the story to move. If you have resigned to the fact that the novel is not about a plot or a story but about knowing the central character better … you can still read on. I fear, quite a few of the readers of this novel might just abandon it around the half way mark.

Well… all's well that ends well. But the book ends with a disappointment. The story does not really live up the back cover preview. The protagonist does not really play detective and you feel cheated by the title of the novel.

If you are looking for a plot and a story with some exciting pace … This is not for you.

If you are OK with reading about a character and get to know her better … If you are OK with a leisure no-brainer light read more for the writing style than the story itself … If you are OK with a reading that will not exactly excite you nor pump up your hormones/adrenaline … If you are OK with a read that will bring an occasional smile on your face (make that every other page) … THIS is a decent read.

I personally enjoyed reading Kiran's interesting writing style and it was a good break from my regular reads. Of course, the lack of a moving story/plot and a disappointing climax did cause some irritation.

BUT … I would be wary of picking up another novel by her (considering I never write off a writer from my reading list based on one novel)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda . Participate now to get free books!

ADDENDUM: I had mentioned above that I liked the chapter names ... and today i realised that the chapter name style was inspired by the famous story "Around the World in 80 Days" .... so even those were not really original :(

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