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The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan
Usha Narayanan has done a great job with The Madras Mangler. The title itself is so clever that it was enough for me to take up the book which the author lovingly provided in exchange of an honest review.
It is a fast paced thriller with new twists and turns every few pages. The serial killer is of course the main plot but there is a sub plot for each of the friends which, I believe, is the secret to the pacey read. Every few pages we are caught up with the history of the girls, someone is fleeing their past and taking up an imaginary identity whereas someone is running and hiding from a rapist. Cyber criminals and plain-old goons run amok in the college and create enough trouble for the girls that they take the threat of the killer too lightly until one of them disappears.
Since the novel is setup in Chennai, we see a lot of references to local hangouts, colleges, streets and rivers which lends a local flavor and authenticity to the story.
The author is able to maintain the suspense halfway through the book for me. She heightens the suspense when the serial killer takes his first victim from the Padmaja college however, being a devour-er of mysteries and thrillers, I could guess the killer as soon as the killer chooses his next victim. This might be a case of concern for fellow thriller readers. Otherwise there’s no taking away the fact that the author has done a good job with The Madras Mangler.
Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?
Meet the Author
Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months.
Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author J
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