Title: Cold Truth
Author: Nikhil Pradhan
Publisher: Harper Black
A missing girl. A curious journalist. A terrifying conspiracy.
When 10-year-old Sakshi goes missing from East Delhi, almost no one, including the police seems too concerned. Not until a journalist begins to ask questions. Soon, what started as an innocuous investigation into corruption and systemic apathy begins to reek of a larger and terrifying conspiracy, as chilling secrets and long-dead skeletons tumble out.
Pieced together like a case-file, using police reports, interviews, leaked emails and WhatsApp conversations, COLD TRUTH takes you from the by-lanes of Delhi and the communist bunkers of Russia to the frozen grounds of Antarctica, following a trail that will leave you questioning what is real and what isn’t.
Cold Truth was the first of its kind for me. A modern epistolary novel, it provides the reader with suspense and drama, completely taking the Indian thriller genre by storm. HarperCollins have most probably published a very unique form of writing, more so in the Indian subcontinent.
As I skimmed through the pages when I first got the book out of its packaging, I registered the excellent method of taking the plot forward through email threads, Intel repots, WhatsApp messages etc. But once I started reading it, I fell more and more in love with this way of writing. It keeps the chapters short and makes the reader feel that he is making a lot of progress. I personally read it during a very bad reading phase, and happy to admit now, that this book has successfully been able to drive me out of it.
However, it is not a simple thriller novel. The narrative is fast-paced as we rush from Delhi to Russia to Antarctica. Encompassing the elements of governmental corruption, conspiracies, scientific experimentation, the deep web, the author has to be applauded for the immense research and drafting that probably went on behind this debut novel. It is bound to make the reader ponder about how many such things we do not know about the governments’ going-ons. It was intriguing and kept me at it until I finished it, ever since I first picked it up.
The synopsis really draws you in and as a person who loves to read mystery, Cold Truth came as an unexpected but a definitely very welcome experience. Needless to say, the plot was amazing. The writing style was also very innovative and compelling as well- the use of the epistolary is this manner added a lot of authenticity and this believability to the story. When one actually realizes that Cold Truth is in fact a debut novel, it is truly mind-blowing.
This was a book that I will definitely not be forgetting any time soon. Fans of the Illuminae series will really love this standalone novel. It is also a great help to deal with those mean reading slumps. I rate this a 5/5 stars and hope that it really finds its way to many more people.