Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Book Review: Hush A Bye Baby by Deepanjana Pal

Hush A Bye Baby by Deepanjana Pal (Juggernaut Books) is a thriller that is based on Feticide. This, of course, is a different plot/idea.

Dr. Nandita Rai is a reputed and extremely popular gynaecologist and a feminist who regularly appears on TV/radio shows. Every woman wants her to be their doctor. And, out of a sudden she has been charged with sex-selective abortions. At least 24-25 women have made complaints to the Mumbai police helpline number. It's hard to believe, but Mumbai police needs to investigate (Even though these are high-profile people).

Hadpude, Lad and Reshma are trying hard to solve the case, but unable to find any lead. The investigation is going nowhere. Then, curious Sub-Inspector Reshma Gabuji decides to delve deeper and discovers a secret online forum where Nandita Rai is a prominent member.

Is Dr. Nandita Rai really guilty? If yes, why is she doing this? What is that secret online forum called "Kalisthenics"? What would be the destination of this case? To know the answers, you'll have to read the book.

The book starts with an urgent call to a helpline number. It was intriguing. Then it moves to a talk show where Dr. Nandita Rai answers an odd question, odd because it's too personal and nothing to do with gynaecology. Maybe, it was to show that Nandita Rai is a bold feminist. But, I found it odd.

About the characters --- Even though the story is about Dr. Nandita Rai, Reshma Gabuji is the most prominent/important character of this story, and my favourite too. I liked her curiosity, her courage and her presence of mind. While I liked the way Dr. Nandita Rai has been described, we hardly get to know anything about her. She makes occasional guest appearances where she just speaks, like an unaffected VIP. I was unable to make any opinion about the doctor, there's no connect, and I won't say it was a positive thing.

The book is fast-paced and so many things happen. There are many twists and turns, so it keeps you engaged most of the times. It kept me thinking because, well, it cannot be the obvious (why Dr. Nandita Rai would commit such a heinous crime).

The conversations seem natural. The dialogues are nice. For example:

'Interviews are suitcases. They'll go where you take them.'

Still, I have some problems with this book. What? Since it's a suspense thriller, I can't say much, but I'll try.

The outcome of the events. They don't lead the case to anywhere. So many things and their roles are left unanswered, and it scattered a good plot.

No matter how engaging the story is, it's annoying if the end or the revelation is not justified or convincing. And, I didn't find the revelation, 'the reason', convincing or plausible or justified, and it left me confused and somehow frustrated. It's an open-ended story, so we can expect the sequel.

If you enjoy reading thrillers, you can pick this book especially for its unique plot or interesting women characters, however, for me it was a little disappointing and confusing read.

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