Fatal Fallout, a recent book by Sharmishtha Shenoy, brings back my favourite detective Vikram Rana back. This is the fourth book in the Vikram Rana series and is as compelling as were the previous books. With a well-written plot, the book provides you an engaging murder mystery. As is generally the case with most of the murder mysteries, in this book too, the readers witness the murder at the start of the book without learning the identity of the perpetrator. The rest of the book then built around the process of detection, and the identity of the main culprit is revealed at the end.
Let us turn our focus into the plot. Gauri, an upcoming actress, gets murdered on a highway from a gunshot wound. Valuable jewelry that she was wearing at that time is also missing. Was it a simple robbery case that had gone wrong? Or, somebody planned this murder? There are a number of suspects who could have killed her. Among the prominent suspects is her boyfriend Akash, the film director Madhav, and the film producer Krishna Garu. A police constable who found the dead body of Gauri is also under suspicion. The detective Vikram Rana comes into the picture and tries to solve the case. The investigation of the case forms the rest of the book.
Any good murder mystery does not only provide the readers with a gripping tale but also seeks their involvement as they attempt to find out the murderer by themselves. For this, the writer needs to leave a good number of clues throughout the story. And, this is what the authoress has done in this book. Generally, to make murder mysteries more complicated and interesting, the authors increase the number of characters. While this ploy works in a number of cases, the book becomes a confusing mess most of the time. Thankfully, the number of characters in this book is low and all of these characters have been given enough space to express their individuality. Each of these characters is believable and has something to do with the central plot. All of these are key players in the novel. The main lead Vikram Rana, as usual, is likable. I also loved the chemistry between him and his wife.
The story is easy to read and follow from the beginning to end. The book has a well-paced plot. It is neither too slow nor too fast but is good enough to keep readers’ eyes glued to the pages. Almost all the necessary elements of a murder mystery (the set-up, the conflict, the action, and the resolution at the end) have been done satisfactorily. While there are plot twists, I would have liked some additional ones to flip the assumptions of readers around one more time.
One of my problems with the books featuring Vikram Rana is the length of these books. I found most of these books too small. I would like the authoress to invest more time and add more pages in the upcoming Vikram Rana books. Hopefully, she will listen to my plea and would do the needful.
Do you love reading murder mysteries and looking for a good recommendation? Go for this, you will not get disappointed.