*NOTE: A copy of the book was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, I would like to thank the publisher, Penguin India, for this.*
The Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram safeguards within its sacrosanct walls centuries of customs and rituals, unimaginable wealth and an unwavering calm. Until a dead body turns up in its holy pond . . . And then another. The murders threaten to shake the temple’s very foundation, and when fingers point to its sealed vaults and its custodian, Aswathi Thirunal Dharmaraja Varma, the titular king of Travancore, all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, a high-profile heist in a jewellery store at the Wafi Mall in Dubai leads investigators to a massive smuggling racket and brings Kabir Khan, additional director of the CBI, into the heart of south India. In Mumbai, a series of high-intensity explosions kills many, threatening to dismantle the country’s most coveted diamond trade.Could these incidents be related? Racing against time, Kabir tries to unravel the puzzle, separating fact from fiction, history from religion, and put a stop to the killing spree. Slick, riveting and fast-paced,In the Name of God is Ravi Subramanian’s most gripping novel yet.
Why a person commits a crime- there are possibly six reasons – love, faith, greed, boredom, fear or revenge.
Thrilling. Exciting. Shocking. These are the only adjectives that I can use for In the Name of God.
What starts of as Wafi Mall Heist, quickly escalates into a larger issue than just a robbery. It combines almost all corners of India – from Surat, to Mumbai, to Thiruvananthapuram. This books ropes in all the elements that a good thriller is supposed to have. I would not like to talk about the plot much, lest I give away some spoiler. Suffice is to say, that if you read the first chapter, you won’t be able to put the book down.
It is gripping from the start to the end. I hadn’t even realised that I had already read two hundred pages. The characters are plenty but unique. There is crime, murder and a logical investigation. The sites as well as history is well researched, the sub-plots seamlessly connect to the main plot. Almost all of the medical and other resource aid is done with a rational approach and not some over the top fantasy which usually tends to happen. The chapters are short, the writing style is fluid, and it is one of the best thrillers India has produced. More so, some of the characters like the King of Travancore/Kerala, are real life figures : so association becomes easy. It keeps hinting at real like events, like the Sunanada Pushkar case, which just gives it an element of reality.
This Temple enjoys immense political patronage. The who’s who of India’s polity and business is a devotee. Anything that changes the status quo will face huge resistance.
It is definitely one of the better novels that I have read this year. It covertly hints at political power and religion, but that doesn’t become the focus of the novel. It remains true to its genre. Kabir Khan was a dynamic, brilliant character, and so were the sixteen other people who occupy space in this novel. The best part about the author is that he isn’t loyal to any character, so all the shades and shortcomings are visible through the third person narrative.
The justice system, police as well as CBI seem like a real setting where clues aren’t just falling from the sky – but are decoded by applying adequate use of technology
and brain. The pace is fast moving, and unearths a lot of secrets and hidden links that we usually would’ve missed. Ravi Subramanian never lets the reader pre-empt his clues, instead, mostly, the reader and the character realises the same thing, at almost the same time.
The problem with lying was that while the first few lines were thought through, the subsequent ones tended to fall apart. That’s why no liar emerged unscathed from a sustained interrogation.
I would love to see and hear more from Kabir Khan, I wish he would become a series already. Subramanian has been compared to authors like John Grisham and Lee Child, but I would say he has more of a Dan Brown-ish, David Baldacci kinda vibe.
However, one thing is for certain, I am definitely picking up more books by this author. So, if you want to read a fast-paced, action-packed, numerous plot twists culminating in a great crime-thriller, you shouldn’t hesitate before picking this up.
As he stood there at the window looking out into he distance, he couldn’t help but wonder at what all people were willing to do in the name of God.