Plot in brief:
Retired Air Commodore Mathew Williams is sitting on the verandah keeping a watch on his grandchild, Karen Lakshmi. For a few minutes that he takes off his eyes to take a short trip down the memory lane, he realises Karen is lying on the ground under the apple tree. She has taken a bite of rubber ball that looks like an apple. The ball is apparently drugged. There is blood on the child’s lips that doesn’t come off while it can be easily scrubbed clean from the hands of those who touch the ball.
Though Karen is hospitalized, her body temperature is continuously dropping. That is when Matthew meets an insane village fiddler who throws some light on the present condition of his grandchild. He comes to know about the horrifying details of the previous occupant of the villa who dabbled in the occult. He can save Karen only if he unravels this past mystery.
Mathew embarks on a dangerous mission where twice he has a close shave with death. Someone wants him dead. A false move and he could be dead and so would be his granddaughter.
Will Mathew able to save his grandchild? Read Eighty Hours to Save Karen to know how the story ends.
What worked for the book?
One always enjoys a taut and face paced thriller, but the best thing about this book is that it doesn’t make the reader languish waiting for the story to form and gather pace. The story picks up pace right from page one and keeps the reader hooked throughout.
The protagonist, Mathew’s character is well etched out. Though he is a forceful personality, I like the fact that he is not made into a fantastically nice person. He has his own set of prejudices which a reader could relate to.
The village setting with the mysterious fiddler is again something that goes in the favour of the book. Dangerous travelling in the middle of the night against the spooky hilly roads, attempts to murder and unexplained accidents add thrill to the story. Though there are deaths and accidents in the story, there is no stomach-squeezing mention of blood and gore.
Supernatural is something fascinating for most readers and this book based on supernatural and occult takes full marks for a gripping story.
What could have been better?
Though Karen is the central character of the story, her sketch lacks form and detail. She is only a child in the backdrop; though the reader empathises with Mathew, they fail to connect with the little girl.
The villain is an interesting character but lacks the force. The part where the villain actually helps Mathew to get on the right detective piste is a little unconvincing. Also, a bit of detail and research into the scientific experiments of the villain would have helped.
Pick this face paced psychological crime thriller. You wont be able to put it down.
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