#MyThoughts: A good suspense novel takes a lot more than the customary whodunnit twists. With all that and a lot more, ‘Dead to Them’ is as good as it can get for a debut novel.
Author: Smita Bhattacharya| Genre: Suspense Thriller | Pages: 272
Moira Madhwa is the typical young, beautiful and successful urban woman until the day she goes missing. Her friends start looking for her, but quickly realize nothing is as it seems. Moira had kept devastating secrets—secrets that could wreck their lives if revealed. As days roll by, one by one, skeletons tumble out of closets, and each of Moira’s friends’ looks guilty. But did one among them hate her enough to do the worst?
A nail-biting, psychological suspense thriller, Dead to Them weaves a web of deception, lies, and paranoia in the city of Mumbai, where every face hides a dark story and uncovering it can lead to disastrous consequences.
Couple of months back, it felt like I was reading an awful lot of only short story collections; which isn’t bad but everyone needs a breather, isn’t it? ‘Dead to Them’ served as my breather then. And how brilliantly!
Moira Wadhwa, Senior Consultant at Brevity, disappears without a trace. Everybody she knew – her friends, colleagues, her boss – seems to have an equal hand in her disappearance. But speculations run rife that Himanshu, the hot-headed boss, might be the one truly responsible. But then, close friend Misha has had a tiff with her and Misha’s husband, Piyush, secretly believes Misha is responsible, although he too holds back secrets about his own relations with Moira. Karthik, the next-desk colleague is all too familiar about the threatening emails Moira had been receiving just before she disappeared. So, then the one big question – what happened to Moira?
This would make for a good travel read; the book is fast-paced and one that you could finish in a few hours. The best part is it has no subplots. Life truly does disappear when subconsciously you are trying to dig deeper into the mess around Moira. The story runs seamlessly and there are hardly any loose ends. More than once, you take a deep breath, sigh and feel – Oh! So, this is it. But are thwarted because that is still not it.
The story starts to pick up after about 60 pages until then it looks like the author is only scattering seeds for the plot to grow. If you survive that phase, you’ll like the book. Too many characters spoil the broth for me, but the way the author has connected dots in the end revealing the role of each of them, I did not regret acquainting with the characters.
Moira is the central character. On the surface, she is this most sorted woman, ambitious, go-getter. She is beauty with brains. Sassy and confident. But when she goes missing, does the reader start unveiling her true character that she may be involved in things which those close to her have no hint of. Each of her friends – Misha, Avni, Piyush, the boss Himanshu, Karthik, start to roll in their own seas of regret almost believing that they had a hand in Moira’s misfortune. Next to Moira, Misha and Avni’s characters are well-built.
What I liked is how the end unfolds. The reader won’t see it coming and that’s what makes the book interesting and ties it back to its title. It is a good Indian thriller, written meticulously, and yet the twist lacks flavors of natural convincing.
If you are a lover of thrillers, you must surely read ‘Dead to Them’ for it’s a gem of a first attempt by an Indian author. Read more about the author, Smita Bhattacharya.
If you happen to read ‘Dead to Them’ or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.
P.S: I received a review copy from the author but the review remains unbiased. You can buy your copy here.
©The Musing Quill