Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review :The Madras Mangler

Usha Narayanan spins a thriller in her debut novel "The Madras Mangler ".Usha Narayanan is a jack of many trades.She was an English Teacher, creative director in advertising agencies,jingle writer,web editor,journalist,green volunteer ,head of copy right publishing in e publishing,etal.She has completed Masters in English Literature with a  gold medal.She has a diploma in creative writing from the Hawaii University as well.

The cover of her thriller shows a girl's face with hair  scattered all around.The eyes are closed .The cover is in black & white .Just like the snaps of old times before colour photographs became a rage.The title of the novel is printed in red towards the top of the cover.The bottom of the cover states the name of the author in white. The back cover of the book is greenish grey with a synposis of the novel towards the upper end.The back cover has faint images of a beaded necklace & some more scattered hair.

The printer is Jufic books.Paper quality is good.Chapters are short in length.There are fifty five chapters in the book of 280 pages.The author thanks all the people who made her debut novel a reality in Acknowledgements.There is a Prologue to the story, which sets the tone.

This is a story full of action & thrills.It is sets in a college in Chennai. Girls go missing from colleges.This is a tale of five girls.....Deepika,Kat, Lolita,Minx,Moti  studying at SS Padmaja College,Chennai.One of the five girls goes missing.No leads are available.

The deputy commissioner Reddy is eager to mingle with the press. Reddy expects girls to remain indoors so that they will remain unharmed. Vir,the NRI criminologist has a scientific approach to the missing girls problem.His Indian batchmate Bishnu has set up an enviable state of the art technology office for detection.Reddy is unimpressed & keeps shooting his mouth off.The girls have to fight on so many fronts....their parents,hooligans at the college,the khap like dictats of Reddy ,etc.

As the bodies of missing girls are found ,the city gets scared.There is a serial killer on the loose.Why is he targeting girls ? Why does he disfigure the girls ? The bodies are battered & barely recognisable.

Who is the killer ? Why has he started killing girls ? Is he trying to break some record in killing ? Do Reddy & police team unamsk the killer ? What about Vir & Bishnu  ? Are they able to rescue girls from the menace of the killer ?

The story is fast paced.It is so much rooted in the current scenario in our nation where girls & women fear for their safety in their homes & even outside.Molestation,ragging,rapes,eve teasing are so common place .It has humour too. Kat opines  that her mom thinks of the boys available for marriage is like a clearance sale ! Kat sarcastic remarks to boys about their evolution ( if any ).Girls like  the college for  freedom from their prying parents,possessive fiances & others gundas.Yet in college ,they encounter hooligans pretending to study,Principal making rules for the supposed safety of girls,etc.

The language is good.A glossary at the end of the book explains the Indian terms used in the novel.At a price of RS 195 /- this book is worth every page !

The author writes from the perspective of the woman .Her narrative makes it  very interesting & immensely readable.

I am thankful to Storizen for making this book available to me for review.

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