Usha Narayanan’s “The Madras Mangler” is a thriller set against the backdrop of an evolving modern Chennai which was, not-so-long ago, called Madras. The story is about five girls studying in a college in Chennai and the various situations that they are entrapped in their respective lives. There is also danger lurking around them with a serial killer on loose, who mainly targets college-going girls. Coming to their rescue is Vir Pradyumna , a criminologist who is bent upon nailing the serial killer so that he can put his own demons from the past to rest and also save his new found love, Kat from being a target.
Honestly speaking, when I started reading the first few pages of the book that starts with a scene where a fresher is being bullied by a few notorious men, I felt I had come across the scene in many South Indian movies and for that matter, a few Bollywood ones too. I was a tad disappointed.
Coming to the story line, I think it is very well etched. The main plot and the sub plots have been dealt with immaculately and blend very well with each other. As it should be with thrillers, this one is a fast paced thriller and keeps the reader hooked to it. The characterisation and the detailing is appreciable. Since it is a thriller, I am not going into the details of the story and will leave it to the reader to experience it first hand. But, I still think that a lot of scenes are very similar to scenes from movies or soaps that we come across, and it does feel very predictable at times.
But, there is one thing I should mention and it is the way the book is structured. The language and the grammar used, for the most part of it, is a delight to read. The editing is crisp and commendable. Hats off to the author for having achieved this feat, considering most books nowadays fail in this aspect.
Overall, it was a nice weekend read which kept me guessing. I wish there was a little less movies/soaps kind of a feel, because, it kept my brain thinking that I have come across this many times before. If I have to rate this book, I would give it 3.25 out of 5 stars.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5
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