The Sane Psychopath by Salil Desai is a crazy reading ride. It not only enthralls you but also shakes your thinking cap really hard a number of times. On many occasions, this book forced me to take a break from reading and think hard. Yes, you heard me right. It forced me to think really hard. And, very few books do that to me. In fact, this book is more than just a simple novel. Of course, there is a gripping story-line to entertain you and there are characters you would fall for. But, more importantly, the book raises a number of questions that are relevant to present society. It shakes your perception of seeing things. I would simply say to the author – well done.
The book tells us the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus in Pune, Maharashtra. One morning, this driver gets in one of the buses at Swargate bus depot in Pune to go on a killing spree. This ride kills ten, maims 70 and damages over 100 vehicles before the driver is finally captured. A number of injured, who survived the injuries, gets impaired and will live in pain and agony for the rest of their lives. While the ghastly nature of the crime is well-established in this case, a young idealist lawyer from Pune decides to defend Shanker Lande. In the process of defending the driver, the young lawyer also seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son in the same bizarre bus rampage. What happened to Shanker that day? Will the lawyer be able to defend this atrocious crime? Will the psychiatrist help the lawyer? And, most importantly, why is the lawyer trying to defend such a heinous crime in the first place? Is he doing it to gain popularity or is there any other reason behind it? The rest of the book deals with these questions. Read the book if you want to know answers of these questions.
The incident of the bone-chilling rampage on the streets of Pune in this book is inspired from a similar true incident that took place in Pune on January 25, 2012. While the book under review is a fictionalised version of this incident, the killing of innocents by a bus driver is the core of this novel. The whole story revolves around this. And, here I would like to again compliment the author because writing a novel based on a horrific real-life incident is not an easy task. It is a lot more than just spewing up a story you just happen to know. The author has to take into consideration the facts available to him and mold it into his own creation. And, this can end up more than just writing a simple story.
The book has all the ingredients of a thrilling story. The book is fast-paced, has enough twists to keep readers engaged, and, most importantly, a terrific ending. I really loved the ending of this book. To be frank, I had an apprehension that the author would disappoint me at the end but he didn’t. On the other hand, he surprised me the way he treated the climax of this book. Well! For some readers, this ending may not work. But for me, it was awesome. I also liked the title, cover, and blurb of the book. All of these do justice to the content of the book. The language used is easy to follow and dialogues are great.
Go for it folks. The author has brought his creative best to the table as he gives us a thrilling mystery.