Over the last few years, I have come to read and admire Indian writers like Ravi Subramanian and Krishan Pratap Singh, who have ventured into the genre of new-age thrillers (tackling new age themes like cyber-crime, banking scams and even Indian politics) set against the backdrop of contemporary India.
With this in mind, I picked up 'Resonance', a thriller by debut novelist Ajay. It was a deliberate pick! It has been on my list for a while, but has never come by. This time however, I picked up Resonance with the dual intention of reading a new author and trimming my ever growing reading list.
And I must say I was hooked from page one. Indo-pak terrorism and terrorism originating on Pakistani soil is nothing new, almost as stereotypical as it can get. However, what stands out is the rich plot, replete with twists and counter twists and an entirely new conspiracy theory.
My observations about the book:
1. For a first-timer, his novel is bold. It attacks the theme with elan, never shying away from weaving twists and turns into the narrative. He even gets away with it.
2. The transition from one scene to another, from one place to another is smooth and seamless. The chapters maintain a flow which is one of the biggest challenges a debut novelist faces and one of the biggest frustrations the reader faces with a debut novel.
3. The research is thorough and manages to hold your attention. Recent historical events, like the assasination of Zia-ul-haq and the Mumbai terror attacks are stitched seamlessly in the narrative, often forming the focal point of the plot.
5. In some places, the description is long-winded and even repeated (like the mode of destruction being explained to different people at different times). Even the trail of destruction is difficult to follow if you are not familiar with the terrain (anything more I say will be a spoiler). One of the things that I felt would have helped, specially with the elaborate description of the destruction that would be caused would have been an illustration in the form of a map, much like the one that highlights the journey of Heinrich Harrer in "Seven years in Tibet". It would have made it easier to understand.
4. The climax (predictable as it is) is a nail-biting finish. Ajay gives us another lesson in Physics with a well researched anti-dote.
Ajay has definitely done his research and what comes out is a well-baked thriller, that keeps you turning pages right up to the end.
Do read, if you love thrillers with an Indian twist!