A Season for dying by Sharmishtha Shenoy is the 3rd book in the Vikram Rana Series. Vikram Rana is an ex-cop, who now works as a private investigator. Sharp and intuitive, Rana, despite not being in the police force, is looked upon by the force to help them solve crimes in the city.
Sharmishtha sets the tone of the book with a brutal murder in the very first Chapter, a murder which sets the tone for a series of other murders which rocks the city of Hyderabad. As the murders happen one after the other, she intersperses her chapters with notes from the diary of a drug addict, adding more suspense to the plot as you try and unravel the connection between the murders and the drug addict.
Her forte is of course the varied characters she etches, characters who aren’t really who they portray themselves as. She keeps dropping subtle clues through the book, which I must say, I realized during the climax, kudos to the writer for the intelligent story telling.
Shenoy very subtly also brings out the lackadaisical attitude and the internal powerplays within the police force; she also attempts to bring out the state of drug rehabilitation institutions in India.
While the book is an engaging and entertaining read, a faster pace could have helped. The book picks up pace towards the end with a nail-biting climax, where the author keeps you guessing till the end. Though I was expecting more twists and turns, the climax to a large extent makes up for it.
The high point of the book is obviously Vikram Rana and the author wastes no time in getting the reader acquainted with him. He is an intelligent man, industrious yet lazy, confident yet afraid of his wife, an ex-cop dealing with weight issues. While I admire Shenoy’s attempt of trying to move away from the usual dashing, fierce stereotypical detective and bringing to us more of a next door, middle aged investigator dealing with issues like all of us mere mortals, I did take a little time to warm up to Rana. He seemed a little bored, disinterested at times…. May be because he has just started out as a private investigator?
Overall, A Season for Dying is a good, entertaining read and I would definitely like to read more in the series, just to see Vikram Rana coming into his own!
P.S – An earnest request to the author…can she please convince Rana’s wife to take him off the strict vegan diet, the poor soul deserves to be happy😊