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Serial killer tales have never failed in impressing readers. The gorier the crimes the more thrilling the book. Hence a serial killer story where girls of around ten years of age are found dead with their hearts removed is sure to incite the intrigue of the readers of the book Ritual by Uttarandas Gupta.
Evolved in the background of Kolkata, Ritual is a dark murder mystery that is a blend of gruesome crime, religious fanaticism, and assumed infidelity. ACP Ashutosh and his deputy Pradeep are assigned the case. The book is narrated in the first person narrative of Pradeep. The style of narration is impressive when Pradeep is seemingly having an engaging conversation with the readers. The intermittent explanations about how Pradeep got to know about what happened with Ashutosh in several instances serve the purpose of closing the loopholes.
Uttaran Das Gupta veers away from the classic Bengali detective novel to reveal the sleazy, seamy underbelly of the City of Joy. The new classic: Kolkata noir’ MADHULIKA LIDDLE
It is brave on the author’s part to reveal a major suspense of the plot in the blurb itself. The role of Vasant Sena in the whole plot. Despite this major spoiler of sorts, the author has deftly held the readers and withheld their intrigue without fail, through the finesse of the craft. The characters are the USP of the plot. Every plot and subplot is led by the characters. The analog of Vasantsena with the famous political-religious organization in India is not lost on the readers.
ACP Ashutosh’s personal life is also intertwined with the plot. Nonetheless, the author has carefully kept it wrapped to such an extent that only the relevant details are given and hence there is no lag in the plot. One of the commendable qualities of the book is the consistent pace of the plot. It never drips anywhere in the plot. The readers will be surely stuck with the book till the end.
Uttaran Das Gupta is a New Delhi-based writer and journalist. He writes columns on films and literature, and his first book of poems, Visceral Metropolis, was published in 2017. This is his first novel.