Title: Nobody’s Child
Author: Kanchana Banerjee
Publisher: Harper Black- An Imprint of Harper Collins Publications
Publication Date: August 25, 2019
Genre: Crime Fiction
Purchase Link: Amazon
Let me begin this review by stating that I love crime fiction. Detective novels are my absolute favourite, and general crime fiction is a close second. Hence, I was quite excited to receive Kanchana Banerjee’s second book, “Nobody’s Child”, to review as part of the Blogchatter book review program.
After winning the national reality TV show “Indian Koel”, Asavri Bhattarcharya dies in a car accident. Many people benefit from her death including Avniel- the ruthless biographer, Tanya- the glamorous runner-up in the TV show and Kamini Pratap Singh- Tanya’s mother who wins political favour on the basis of her daughter’s success.
All hell breaks loose when Asavri turns up drugged and badly beaten but alive, almost 2 years later. Where was she? Who was responsible for the state she has been found in? Why did someone fake her death and keep her alive?
The basic storyline of the book is interesting and novel, especially the concept of using reality TV as a backdrop. However, most plot points are stretched to the hilt, and many are built on highly unlikely coincidences. In fact, the story continuously becomes more implausible as it unfolds. I had many eye-roll moments while reading the book, which is a never a good sign!
The story gives the main characters ample space to develop, yet they remain flat. Constantly highlighting certain traits over others, makes them one-dimensional- either too evil, too selfish or too naive.
The writing and editing is crisp and the storyline moves fast, which is to the book’s credit. However, personally, I find the staccato first-person narrative a bit annoying. The reader learns about the personalities of the characters through the characters’ introspection of themselves. Though the self-introspection technique is often used in books, Banerjee’s characters repeat their own stories to themselves as if someone else is relating those stories to a third-person. The overall effect is jarring and even ridiculous at times.
While the ending is pleasantly satisfactory (always important in a mystery novel!), some interesting points could have been explored more. These include the improbable sexual relationship between the MLA and the failed film journalist, as well as the mysterious death of the MLA’s industrialist husband.
While reading the book, I was often reminded of Vikram Chandra’s “Sacred Games”. I felt the description of the gangster’s activities and hideout, as well as the story of the legless woman were inspired by Chandra’s masterpiece.
Overall, I feel Kanchana Banerjee’s “Nobody’s Child” would have been infinitely more interesting, had its execution not been so amateur.
Having read plenty of excellent books in this genre of literature, I feel “Nobody’s Child” by Kanchana Banerjee is just average. However, people looking for an easy, fast-paced book about Mumbai’s murky money-politics-crime scene, may enjoy the book.
Buy the book on Amazon here
Reviewed as part of the Blogchatter book review program
*I’d like to thank Blogchatter and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The post is not sponsored, but it contains affiliate links. When you purchase a copy of the book through my link, I earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Please support my blog by purchasing through my link!
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