Source: Personal copy
While continuing my Mystery and Crime fiction spree this month, I came across the blurb of this book by Indian author Sunaina Serna Ahluwalia. The plot seemed interesting enough, so I decided to give it a try.
Synopsis (from publisher):
The body of an unidentified man washes up on Juhu beach one fine morning found by an unsuspecting morning walker. Thus begins the public outcry fed by the media frenzy.
Natasha Chopra, a successful journalist, finds herself mired in speculation. All she remembers is that she too had been there, at that crucial moment and cannot recall a thing to save her life. ACP Himanshu Pandey, a young dynamic officer of the Mumbai police comes across a case that appears to be a tough nut to crack. Arpita Paul, the heartthrob of the nation, the bollywood diva who rules the box office, faces life squarely with the bitter truth hiding behind the dark glasses.
Add to this, lawyers, models and the glitterati of Mumbai and you have an explosive combination. With minute-to-minute thrills, Point Of No Return takes the reader through the seamier side of life in Mumbai, India as well as through Istanbul, Turkey. Read on to know about the murder that shook Mumbai at large….
This book could have been a decent read, but for various reasons it fails to hit the mark.
The plot, premise and story line are okay. The twists and pace were also not too bad. But the story lacks maturity in parts. This is especially glaring in the romantic parts, where there is a schoolgirl love-at-first-sight kind of romance.
The characters were not bad, but they were all one-dimensional. All the “good” people in the story are extremely good. Even the “bad” guys are good people who have been pushed into a bad corner. The story could have definitely done with the colour of having some grey areas in characterisation.
The author also makes the mistake of too much unnecessary information in certain chapters. For instance, while introducing us to the forensic pathologist, there is a 2-3 page discourse on what forensics is and how it is used to catch criminals. Not at all needed by anyone who reads crime fiction or watches crime TV shows.
All my knowledge of criminal investigation comes from watching shows like CSI on TV, so I might be way off the mark here, but it looked to me like there was some overlap of roles – the forensic pathologist is also fingerprint expert who also joins the police on location in a suspect’s home.
Another plot point that was rather unconvincing was a Mumbai magazine sending a reporter to cover the murder of a Turkish businessman, even if he was politically powerful. One more aspect I’m completely willing to overlook if not for the cumulative problems with this book.
What really spoilt any possible enjoyment of reading this book was that it was so badly edited. Perhaps not edited at all. Not just typos, but grammatical errors are just everywhere! The language lacks a sophistication that a good editor could have worked on to bring this book to a much higher standard. Wrong usage of quotes, grammatically incorrect sentences, grammatically incomplete sentences, redundant use of synonyms and sudden use of italics are just some of the issues with the editing.
I cannot recommend this book, which is a pity since it definitely had promise. I only hope Serna Ahluwalia will make a much better effort with the editing of her next book.