When you read the life story of the serial killer, you begin to think: No wonder he turned into one. He was dealt a tough hand by everyone he knew! And when you think about Maithili, you think, how did someone like her become so righteous? No guilt associated? The story is, in a gist, is something we might have seen portrayed multiple times on screen in different languages, but it is so freshly put that the book turns out to be quite the thriller. The book reminds one eerily of the movie, Gangaajal, though, here, there’s the reasoning behind the bad man’s actions listed out in detail, too.
Maithili’s story, on the other hand, begins as one with reason behind her becoming a police officer and soon, tumbles into a resume of her accomplishments. As well it should, laying a foundation and letting the readers into the depths of her character. Her ghosts, though, do not let loose as easily, and she tries with a shaking bravado, to ignore them for the moment and focus on the case she is handling.
The reason the investigator becomes the pursued might be on throwaway remark, but as you think back about it, you realize the impact that remark might have had on the fragile ego of the serial killer. One thought does creep into your mind: Oooh! She shouldn’t have said that!
And now the game begins in full flow, if it wasn’t already.
Every step the killer takes is a direct assault on the senses not only of the person who managed to scratch at his ego, but also of the city, that begins to wilt under fear and an emotional pressure that drives one to be safe.
Cold and spine-chilling, Raakshas manages to induce a fear that any hapless victim would feel. Before you begin to feel sorry for either the victim or the killer, you cringe in disgust at what goes on in their heads. Piyush Jha portrays every negative emotion admirably – disgust, self-doubt, overconfidence, dwindling self-worth! He brings in the pursuit so smoothly; you blink twice before you realize that yes, it’s going to get murkier from here.
Further, Jha plays on the human tendency to think highly of oneself and in those lines, he makes you want to shout out; makes you want to shake the character and tell them not to be so self-absorbed. But this swings hard both ways – and you find yourself falling into the depths of further intrigue. He conveys everything a character is, and what a character is feeling, using minimum dialogues and maximum description. And he does it with such panache that you begin to want more!
Piyush Jha also speaks about the stigma associated with mental illness, especially in India, and strives to explain why serial killers are what they are. Listing out little known serial killers who once walked the country, he gets his point across fairly well.
All in all, a book that achieves what it sets out to do, eerily engaging and will push you to be careful about who you bond with next!