“JFK … A dying man’s last word … A plea, an accusation or a clue? That’s what the police couldn’t figure out. What they did know was that they had serial murders in broad daylight, and just one suspect with little motive … Jatin F. Karunamoi, the dead man’s best friend. Jatin is no hero, he’s an unemployed 50-year-old, desperate to find a job. But his only hope for a life of dignity lies in him finding the real killer. As he jumps headlong into the investigation he has little idea what he’s getting into … a hunt for the faceless murderer. Each step Jatin takes to unravel the mystery brings him closer to insanity as he encounters unimaginable situations, devious characters, intrigue and … death. In this fast-paced thriller set in Kolkata, debutant novelist Jhangir Kerawala brings the reader face-to-face with the ugly underbelly that looms large beneath the bright lights of urban India.”
I won this book as part of a contest organized by Westland Books on Twitter. Since I hadn’t heard of it, I had no preconceived notions when I sat down to read it.
JFK is a thriller and keeps the reader engrossed from the first page. Though it is not as fast and pacy as I would have liked it to be, it is a page-turner nevertheless.
***Spoilers might feature in the review***
Jatin Karunamoi, based out of Kolkata, learns that his best friend Manish has suddenly been murdered. Shocked and angry at the same time, Jatin sets out to find out who the killer is. He is ably assisted by a common friend Montu. Just before he dies, Manish had called up Jatin and uttered the three letters – JFK. This is the only clue Jatin has to proceed. When the usual rounds of investigations with Manish’s colleagues yield no results, Jatin and Montu are at a loss.
One day, Jatin gets a call from an unknown woman Preeti who claims she and Manish were having an affair. Since Jatin considers Manish his best friend, he is flabbergasted that he never knew about this. Preeti tells Jatin that they were being blackmailed and Manish had to keep paying loads of money to silence the blackmailer. She also suspects her husband to be behind the murder.
Around the same time, Kolkata is hit by a series of murders and the police have no leads, except that the weapon used is the same in all the murders.
In the course of their search and investigation, Jatin and Montu learn that Manish was part of a secret club. While going through Manish’s belongings one day, Jatin cracks the clue of “JFK” and pursues the same accordingly. From there he travels to Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh and realizes that a bigger scandal is behind his friend’s murder; something unimaginable and which could affect some powerful people. How he unravels the mystery while enlisting the help of some people along the way forms the highlight of the novel.
The novel is pretty engaging and Jehangir’s writing style is lucid. His descriptions of Kolkata at night and the train journeys Jatin undertakes are picturesque. There are also some twists and turns befitting a thriller. All in all, an enjoyable read.