Kevin Missal has penned one bestselling mythical thriller fiction after another, like Kalki, Narasimha, Meghnad. I picked up his latest book Yama with this impression on my mind that I am diving into another mythological read. I didn't even read the blurb. But it seems like Kevin was in a mood to break his image as the mythology fiction author. He entered a different genre with his new release Yama.
Many of you might have watched or heard about the movie Aparichit. The protagonist of the film, Ramanujam sets out to kill the antisocial elements according to the ancient scripture Garuda Purana. It was an unnerving psychological thriller. I never managed to muster enough courage to watch the movie again.
The storyline of Yama is similar to that of Aparichit. A man personates himself as Yama, the God of death, and takes upon himself to punish criminals who managed to dodge the law and thus prevailing justice in his manner. The setting of the story is more contemporary with the inclusion of social media and technology.
The book starts as a crime thriller. At least the first half was pacy with one murder after another. And the gory murder scenes will make you cringe. Quite similar to what I felt while watching Aparichit. You might wonder, as I was wondering, was the killer a Yama's avatar or something. Remember, I didn't read the blurb and was still under the impression that I was reading mythical fiction in a modern setting.
By the second half, the pace slows down. The protagonist Dhruvi confronts the vigilante Yama over morality in the justification of the manner the latter's meted out the justice. On whose side the pendulum will swing? The story will put you in a serious dilemma. How much is right in this wrong? How much is wrong in the right of the vigilante? The big question hovers in the remaining part of the story.
I must say the book kept me hooked. Be it the crime scenes, suspense, or the dilemma I was reluctant to leave the book even to meet the basic body needs. Kevin Missal has done a fabulous job throughout the story. The tone of the book was completely different from his previous books. So it was something fresh to read from the author's side.
The conflict in the mind of the protagonist and stumbling blocks in her way to unveil the truth of Yama made the book unputdownable. But towards the climax, all the conflict and drama fizzled out. The end was lusterless if compared to the brilliant build-up of the story. Don't get me wrong. The final revelation was most unexpected. But I expected a high time showdown, something similar to the book To Kill The President by Sam Bourne. What I received was a futuristic climax that didn't blend well with the contemporary storyline. It took away the charm of the story.
The Verdict -
I would still recommend Yama if you are a crime thriller genre lover. Inspired by a movie or not, but brilliant execution, well-rounded characters, visualistic scenes, fast pace, mind-numbing conflict, and twists will enthrall you and keep you glued to the book.