‘Guruji’s Ashram’ by Sunil Sinha is a well-written multi-layered thriller. One of the basic ingredients of a good thriller is to serve the readers with some action in the beginning itself. This not only helps in captivating the readers, but also forces them to keep turning the pages. The book under review fulfills this criterion and keeps the attention of the readers from the first page itself. In addition to a good beginning, dull moments in a thriller can lose an audience and, therefore, the authors writing thriller should be careful about such dry moments in the book. I am happy to say that the story in ‘Guruji’s Ashram’ is woven in such a way that it does not bore you even a single time. You find yourself engrossed in the story from the very start to the very end.
With a beautifully crafted storyline, the book is filled with plenty of twists. The story begins with the death of three persons in three different locations in India. In the beginning, these deaths appear to be simple cases of suicides. However, the investigations soon reveal that these are not just the simple cases of suicides but were the cases of murders. The investigations also reveal that these murders are not isolated incidents of human crime but are related incidents with a conspiracy beyond human’s imagination. The investigations then take us to an Ashram run by a well-known spiritual Guru Tapas. The Ashram somehow appears to be connected with these murders. Guru Tapas, known for his teaching of the Bhagvad Gita, Pranayama and meditation, is also involved in the philanthropic activities on a larger scale. However, it seems that these were not the only activities going on in the Ashram. What was really going on? Were these philanthropic activities just a veil to cover a heinous crime? And, most importantly, was the Ashram really, what it supposed to be? You need to read the book to find out the answers of these questions.
The book throws a wonderful cast of colorful characters at your disposal. Some of these characters have been sketched really well. At the same time, some of the other characters were not delved into too deeply. Among all the characters, the character of Tapas (the main protagonist) certainly leaves an impression on you. Different shades of his personality have come out really well. The narration has been done well. It is lucid and provides enough description you needed to know. The teachings of Bhagvad Gita have been incorporated in the main storyline brilliantly. These do not stop the flow of the main plot. On the other hand, these add a certain charm to the storyline.
While the book is quite enjoyable and the plot has good pacing, you somehow feel that it lacked the elements of surprises. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, there are plenty of twists in this book but these twists do not take the wind out of your sails. Inclusion of some shocking elements in the storyline would have certainly enhanced the thrilling component. I also feel that the description of explicit love making scenes could have been avoided. These scenes, in a way, do not add anything new to what I will call ‘a well-written story’. This, according to me, is unnecessary ink split on the pages.