Raakshas: India’s No. 1 Serial Killer by Piyush Jha is an attempt to delve deep into the human consciousness and scrutinize the darkest corners of human mind. As the title of the book suggests, this book is the account of a young boy who was given a name that has been used to describe his life later on. This is the story of a man whose creative energy and positive thoughts have been distorted by the individuals who brought him up. This is the story of a boy who grew up treating homicide as a lifestyle. This is the narrative of a man whose evil state of mind overwhelmed any good feeling that his heart might be at the peril of securing. And, most importantly, this is the story of a serial-killer who lived among people and they did not even realize it until it was too late. So, let’s do a postmortem of this serial killer.
The book starts by giving a back-story of the main protagonist (the killer) of this novel. The book tells us about the hopes and dreams of this character. The book then throws light on those incidents which dashed these hopes and dreams. Then the book describes the effects of these incidents over the life of this main lead. So, in a way, the book tries to analyze the mind of this central lead by giving the readers some of the psychological insights. There is another narrative which runs parallel to the narrative of the main character. This is the back-story of Maithali Prasad (Additional Commissioner of Police). One of the incidents in her life has left a deep scar on her mind and readers get to know about that incident. Then the story moves into single narrative when the responsibility of catching the killer falls on the shoulders of Maithali. Hunting the killer down and putting an end to the terror he unleashed make the rest of the story.
The cover of this book grabs your attention easily if you love reading crime thrillers. The cover has been designed intelligently and the designer of the same should be complimented for this brilliant thinking. In addition, title and blurb are also interesting enough to attract the attention of the readers. However, it is the narrative which disappoints you. While the book is a nice read, you feel that the reading experience could have been much better. The pacing of the book was consistent throughout but as a reader you feel an absence of the thrilling components. Readers who love reading thrillers want to be thrilled and this book fails to generate that thrill and excitement. There are murders but these murders do not grip the readers in the gut. There are action scenes but these scenes somehow do not excite you. The book starts with a bang but somehow losses its charm in the middle and finally ends dramatically. Moreover, the last few chapters of the book look hurried and could have been more interesting and appealing.
While many books have been written on serial-killers, the topic of these killers had not attracted the attention of Indian writers so far. Therefore, the book under review becomes a special one. However, as mentioned above, the book could definitely have been much better. The book certainly had the potential of becoming a riveting and enthralling read. This potential, according to me, has not been exploited by the author correctly. The book has a bonus section which describes the lives of some of the gruesome serial-killers of India. This section unquestionably adds a certain charm to the book.
Note: I received this book free from the publishers through writersmelon.com