Book review | The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar
Author: Divya Kumar
Genre: Crime Thriller
No. of pages: 332
Published by: Bloomsbury India
Published on: 28th April 2018
My rating: ★★★★☆
A beautiful, fiery young historian who discovered two priceless bronzes from the 10th century has disappeared without a trace...
Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal after she gets a mysterious phone call one night from her old friend Sneha Pillai. As she races to find answers before the people she loves get hurt, she seeks the help of Jai Vadehra, a troubled young man with a tragic past, and the gorgeous DSP Gerard Ratnaraj of the Idol Wing, CID, whom she can't help but be drawn to. Their search takes them from Chennai's newsrooms and universities to the abandoned sepulchral shrine of a Chola queen in the heartland of Tamil Nadu, and nothing, and no one, is as they seem.
This book was engaging. This is one of those books that has the ability to claw onto you. You can't leave it until and unless you know what happens in the end. I was really skeptical about this book because I have read a fair amount of crime thrillers (because this is my favourite genre) and if I don't get hooked within the first 50 pages of the book I feel that it is not 'worthy' of its genre. But I got hooked as soon as I had completed the first chapter. I liked everything in this book. The set-up, the narrative, the characters and the relationships.
The book has a vivid imagery and along with the useful background information of Prabha and Jai, the book gives a rather good reading experience for the readers. Though a proper background history was missing for Gerard, I liked how each of the characters are built. Another positive aspect of the book is that the backstories are given in glimpses throughout the book. As in inputted accordingly to the plot's progression which made the book more interesting.
The books has very diverse characters and this is what caught my attention. Even being a crime thriller, the author put a lot of effort in creating these characters. Like, Prabha is a very determined person, she is fearless and is ready to do anything to save her friend's life. But she has her doubts, and she has the usual feminine sort of feelings when she is in love. She is easily influenced by Gerard's commands as she fears that they may otherwise fight. Prabha is the portrayal of a very real person.
Coming to Jai and Gerard, these two are exactly opposite to each other. They have a massive impression in Prabha's life and she has to lean on to both of them because they are the only people who can help her. Jai has a dark past, which has affected his personality. He is easily disbelieved by people and he is portrayed as a helpless character who needs Prabha in his life to keep himself sane. Gerard on the other hand is the 'macho man.' Being a police officer she portrays a strong masculine character who has the ability to make people bow down to his orders.
The author has an excellent flow upon her writing skills. The narrative definitely had a good impression on me as I couldn't stop myself from reading. I completed it in less than 48 hours. It's fast paced and not elaborately detailed. I loved how the relationship between each if the characters progresses. They have their ups and down and the author does justice to these relationships. The misunderstandings and the trust issues make the book more and more interesting.
I will definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys light crime thrillers (I mean those without gory and disturbing deaths and stuff, you get the gist).
Divya Kumar is a journalist, writer and blogger, currently based in Dubai. She spent her early 20s studying and working in the U.S., dabbling in web-design and media studies, before settling down to a career in journalism. She returned to India in 2006, and joined The Hindu in Chennai ,working as a senior reporter and feature writer with The Hindu Metroplus for five years, covering mainly the book and art beat, before taking a break for the birth of her first child in 2011.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange of an honest and unbiased review