Here’s my take on Birds of Prey by Archana Sarat.
You wake up, parched and famished, at the bottom of a deep well—dark and dingy with the foul smell of excreta and rotting scars and no seeming way to escape—what do you do?
This is the predicament that ex-ACP Anton Pinto faces when he reluctantly joins the investigation into the mysterious disappearances of men from affluent families of Mumbai. There is an inexplicable pattern behind the abductions and all suspicions point towards an old, physically-challenged, mysterious lady. Soon, Anton discovers that the seemingly unrelated men have one common link—the most popular and expensive international school in Mumbai.
Following clues that span from schools and old-age homes to illegal dingy hospitals, Anton is led through a labyrinth of incest, abuse, torture and suffering, spanning decades.
What secret does the school hide behind its gates? What was the undisclosed crime that is thirsty for justice? Will Anton be able to save the men? Will justice be served?
Anton Pinto, an ex-ACP now lives in Goa. He has resigned from his post four years ago after he survived a fatal injury. Four years later Rajesh – Anton’s best friend and former co-worker – stands at his door, and requests him to come to Mumbai to help the department regarding a case. Reluctantly, Anton agrees to help them.
In Mumbai, men are mysteriously going missing and all the eyewitnesses saw those men following an old lady to someplace unknown. Is there some link between those men or is it just a serial killer was on loose? What the old woman has to do with these men? Who is this old woman? Would Anton be able to catch the person behind the crime? Is coming back was a good decision for Anton? Read the book to solve all the mystery.
Coming to the review, Birds of Prey is narrated in third-person narrative which is a very apt choice for the narration as the book keep shuffling from one scene to another and one person to another. Delightfully, the third-person narrative doesn’t get you confused. The book deals with a sensitive topic and I like how Archana Sarat has made it a gripping tale. It is applaudable.
I read the book within a day. For me the book was unputdownable. It was because of few reasons like chapters were not much lengthy and were quick to read, language used was easy and fluid and as it was my first attempt to read a book on such a sensitive topic, it kept me hooked. The scenes are well detailed-and give you vivid images of the same. Some scenes might make you cringe but that’s what the author aims for, so kudos for that.
I liked the characterization of the main characters. They make you smile, get you angry, but most importantly make you think. Think – that things like this exist in our society and if justice gets delayed or denied it can give rise to other crimes and criminals. The author through this book has tried to explain what goes inside the minds of the victims and how they can turn into criminals themselves.
I’d like to give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
The book was predictable, in fact way too predictable. From the very first chapter itself, you would be able to guess how the story is going to unfold in upcoming chapters. The author has not maintained any suspense apart from a few here and there which are not that big.
All throughout the while, I was waiting for some twist that would make me go ‘wow’. The story was all about Anton’s investigation and Swarna’s past thus making other characters presence not that important. Sheeba’s – Anton’s wife – character was irritating. The climax was predictable and using Pia as a bait irked me somewhere.
Birds of Prey is a fantastic work by Archana Sarat. The book is easy to read. If you are looking for something quick but serious to read, and to everyone who likes to read a crime thriller with loads of investigation scenes you should go for this book. Even if it is the author’s debut, she has done a commendable job.
Thank you and regards,