Title: Mehboob Murderer
Author: Nupur Anand
Publisher: Om Books International
Published on: 16th March 2019
Genre: Crime thriller/ adult fiction
No. of pages: 282
On a rainy September night, six people are
gunned down mercilessly in an old Parsi cafe in Mumbai. The mass murder at Cafe
Mehboob, located barely a few hundred meters from the police station, and right
next to one of the busiest railway stations in Mumbai, jolts the city out of
its complacence. The media immediately swings into action, while political
pressure mounts on the police force to nab the murderer.
With everyone eager to place the blame of the murders on a madman in a bid to have the case dismissed swiftly, the headstrong inspector Intekhaab Abbas is determined to get to the bottom of the murders. On probing the lives of the victims, he stumbles upon a heady cocktail of love, lust, jealousy, betrayal, rage, longing, misery and ecstasy.
Mehboob Murderer, Nupur Anand’s debut novel, unravels a stunning truth neither the police nor the reader is prepared for.
I received a review copy from the author in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Mehboob Murderer was an exhilarating read. With a deadline looming over us all, the thriller goes on a pace, which seems nail-bitingly slow and yet we keep at the edge of our seats, expecting some revelation to jump up at us suddenly from around the corner.
Through the various characters that the author introduces to us, she also points out many issues and situations that prevail in the society – which are not necessarily good but rather, inhumane and evil.
Natasha seems like the perfect career-woman who has it all – she is successful and single and happy. However, after the mass murder as the police delve into the lives of all these people, we find murky realities behind them all. Natasha’s past throws light on abuse in a relationship – physical, mental and also sexual. The patriarchal expectations and such, set upon her by Aneesh were also disgusting. Moreover, the embezzling of her personal funds further degrade the personality of Aneesh and forms himself as the lowest of the scum.
Alam is no better than Aneesh. Sexual harassment, rape and molestation also occurs within the home itself and the author has brought in this through the back story of Alam. How someone can abuse the women and children within their own family is stupefying to believe really.
Mental health is another theme that the writer brings in through Sujata and her needs. Vikram has a creative streak in him that really helps and adds some joy and lightness to this otherwise heavy read.
Again, the story of a father whose daughter has been raped and then murdered is a cruel one and we see an old yet probably determined Praveen Bharadwaj. Then again, the realization of parents that their kids are not really kids anymore and have a secret and private life of their own is a bit heartbreaking.
The flesh trade or rather, prostitution is the oldest job in the world and we see the fate of a pair of brother and sister as it takes over their lives and they let it – because there is no other way in which they can possibly otherwise make enough money.
It is a heartbreaking novel for sure; as we read through and find out more about all the people murdered in the mass murder at Mehboob Café, we see different phases of life that different people face.
I love how the author has brought in so many aspects of society through all these different people and then tied them together in unity in a story of madness and rage and revenge. I did not at all expect the murderer to be who he was. Not even for a moment did I think that it could have been him. Kudos to the author for being able to keep the identity of the murderer under wraps, until the very end when she reveals it amidst one last drink all the police men have. The characterization of the city Mumbai is also on point. With a simple and lucid writing style, and that dramatic ending, I think the book was awesome.
I rate this book a 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it and I hope to pick up more of the author’s books.
About the reviewer:
Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .