In my aakrantham (greed, impatience), I forgot to savor the suspense.
I’m done with ‘Love On The Rocks’ by Ismita Tandon Dhanker and I have to say that I’m quite surprised.
Open-mindedness may not be one of my strengths. I had my prejudices - about the language, the plot and whatnot. Indian writer and thriller fiction? (I sound like a pompous ass, forgive me I do not mean to be) I did not think I would be impressed by it.
And my prejudices just came up from behind to bite me in the wrong place.
The story is about a murder on a ship at the high seas and its consequences. The protagonist, Sancha Andrews, the new bride of the ship’s first officer and the only female in the midst of twenty-three males, is full of high hopes for her marriage. She goes aboard, befriends most and rubs some the wrong way with her sleuthing tendencies and strong beliefs. She almost enjoys her time of isolation from the world. But it irks her that nobody seemed to care about the ‘accidental’ death of the chief cook that stinks worse than stale fish. A theft happens which, somehow, relates itself to the murder. Everybody kicks into high gear and sets about solving the case; arguments, fights, back-stabbing, tears - all add to the intrigue.
The characterization of Harsh Castillo had me crushing on him instantly. All characters develop shades of grey at some point or the other, they have been clearly etched (they made me wonder if she had real life inspiration). The tantalizing morsels about their past contribute to their depth. The story is told in bits by each character (The author says it’s because each character has a different view of life). It can get confusing as to who is saying what if you are not paying attention, but she has pulled it off well; it takes effort to mesh the plot into the characters seamlessly. What I also liked were their names, unconventional, like Harsh Castillo and ‘Baldy’ Kirk. Sancha’s attempts at being sultry seemed forced and unnecessary though.
The plot is a little loose in the middle; the elaborate and repetitive fights and the tiresome investigation by the Inspector sapped my patience. And the final fate of the killer went against my need for justice. Otherwise, the guessing game starts right from the first page (which is crucial to the story but you don’t know why till the very end, so pay attention) and the suspense is maintained. If you are like me and try to second guess the story, you are in for a surprise.
The illustrations are simple and depict each character’s defining quirk. The cover is one of my favorite parts – simple and fun. But the paper quality leaves a little to be desired.
Overall, LOTR is a packed 211 pages that has a little sugar and a lot of spice, guaranteed to keep you occupied for the rest of the day.
I would give it a 6.5 to 7 on 10.
Now, back to reading it without the aakrantham.
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