May 5, 2007
“A fast-paced, no nonsense novel.”
TO use a journalists’ cliché, this book is a ’scoop’; the ‘real’ deal about the unholy nexus between the underworld, the government and the Fourth Estate. A fast-paced, no nonsense novel, it explains in surprising detail, the intertwined fellowship between the system and the ‘unsystematic’ underworld. It comes as no surprise that the novel is by an accomplished crime reporter himself. The crisp chapters captivate your attention without trying to glorify characters.
The novel starts off in 1986 with a brief about the central character, Oscar Pinto, a typical reporter perennially looking for that ‘one big story’ which will change his short-changed life. Gradually, the antagonist, Narayan Swamy, a white dhoti clad, god-fearing, mafia don is introduced. Smattered with journalism lingo, the story is extremely gripping what with its real characters and their ‘common man’ syndromes. For a short book, it beautifully explores the various minutiae of Mumbai’s dreaded underbelly.
Right from the hooch dealers in Dharavi to the ghastly brothels of Falkland Road, the author manages to convey the gangland’s dastardly deeds without offending the reader’s sensibilities. It beautifully enunciates the multifaceted working of a news house and the typical rapport shared between the scribes and the police as also the scribes and the mafia. A very good read and as the clan of journos would say –This is learnt from ‘highly reliable sources’!
– Robin Singhvi