A dead woman. A dead man. A bunch of suspects. A determined police officer. Same old? Oh no. It is dark and twisty interesting.
Not an edge of the seat whodunnit, but an engrossing read nevertheless.
Thy Will is a deaddiction center run by a psychiatrist Johnny Will who had a disturbed childhood. His ways of ensuring that his patients stay sober are unethical and questionable, they say. I found it a bit contrived. But between him, Sera his psychologist and Zac his half brother, they run a tight and successful ship, catering to The Rich and Famous addicts. Things seem all rosy in the quiet little hill station of Monele until Mira, Johnny’s fiance is found dead due to a morphine overdose. And when another gruesome murder happens a few days later, things heat up. Fifteen years ago Johnny’s father was found dead under mysterious circumstances and Officer Ray who had his hands tied wasn’t able to nail Johnny in the crime. But this time, he is not letting him off that easily.
The narration did seem a bit cluttered with each chapter being written from the perspective of each character. I would have preferred longer chapters and lesser characters in this format. But the book keeps you going till the end without breaking the pace, keeping you guessing till the very end. Everyone seems to have a motive and the means, Johnny, Sera, the cousin Azaan, Zac, the evil aunt Adele. At one point I even wondered if it was Marie, the housekeeper. And everyone tells their story, trying to convince the reader of their innocence until finally, one of them reveals the truth. But is it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Ah.
Three things bugged me in the book. One was the fictitious town of Monele. But this has nothing to do with the actual book. Rather, it was the local in me who found it difficult to accept a picture perfect town full of rich party people and a hotel called Seven Seas an hour or so away from where I actually live. I just got a bit picky. Faraway imaginary Malgudi and Brahmpur were perfectly fine with me. But a Monele that claims to be next door? A Ketti Palada, maybe.
The other was the excessive use of Westernised names. Agreed, Ooty is full of Anglo Indians, maybe even people with wannabe western names. I won’t be surprised if there is a house actually named Thy Will, we have a The Tryst there. But this setting, totally removed from ‘Indianness’ and Ootyness did seem a bit odd to me. Not a deal breaker though. The actual plot was interesting and made up for this, so I let it pass.
And ouch, ‘The lesser known poet’ being plugged in obviously and less obviously in more than one place. That made me cringe. The author’s poetry blog should have stayed in the About page, not in Officer Ray’s narration or in sly plugs elsewhere.
I don’t usually like to use the genre/category ‘Indian author’, but it was such a nice change to read a gripping murder mystery by an ‘Indian author’ instead of the current trend of ‘humour’ or chicklit. I read the reviews of the author’s previous book, Jacob Hills and will definitely pick it up.