Monday, June 23, 2014

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The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Blurb

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?


Usha Narayanan's "The Madras Mangler" is a thriller set against the backdrop of an evolving modern Chennai which was, not-so-long ago, called Madras. The story is about five girls studying in a college in Chennai and the various situations that they are entrapped in their respective lives. There is also danger lurking around them with a serial killer on loose, who mainly targets college-going girls. Coming to their rescue is Vir Pradyumna , a criminologist who is bent upon nailing the serial killer so that he can put his own demons from the past to rest and also save his new found love, Kat from being a target.

Honestly speaking, when I started  reading the first few pages of the book that starts with a scene where a fresher is being bullied by a few notorious men, I felt I had come across the scene in many South Indian movies and for that matter, a few Bollywood ones too. I was a tad disappointed. 

Coming to the story line, I think it is very well etched. The main plot and the sub plots have been dealt with immaculately and blend very well with each other. As it should be with thrillers, this one is a fast paced thriller and keeps the reader hooked to it. The characterisation and the detailing is appreciable. Since it is a thriller, I am not going into the details of the story and will leave it to the reader to experience it first hand. But, I still think that a lot of scenes are very similar to scenes from movies or soaps that we come across, and it does feel very predictable at times.

But, there is one thing I should mention and it is the way the book is structured. The language and the grammar used, for the most part of it, is a delight to read. The editing is crisp and commendable. Hats off to the author for having achieved this feat, considering most books nowadays fail in this aspect. 

Overall, it was a nice weekend read which kept me guessing. I wish there was a little less movies/soaps kind of a feel, because, it kept my brain thinking that I have come across this many times before. If I have to rate this book, I would give it 3.25 out of 5 stars.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

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Meet the Author

Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months. 
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author 

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  1. In-depth analysis that will be helpful to readers.

  2. Wow, that was a good review,Pooja regardless of what the book has! A crisp and precise one:)

  3. Best part of your reviews is that you are very honest. Looks like a fun read to me on a lazy Sunday.

    1. Do let me know if you follow-up on the review and read the book Saru. I look forward to your feedback. Thank you Pooja. Usha Narayanan

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