I have had the pleasure of working shoulder to shoulder with Mohamed Thaver for the last 13 years, sometimes as a contemporary and sometimes as a colleague at the Indian Express. Both of us entered the profession of crime reporting at the same time, and have hence watched each other grow into what we are today. Which is why the experiences that he narrates in his book, In Plain Sight, feel very much like my own.
Reading his debut novel was, in many parts, like reading my own biography. Throughout the novel, I could feel myself identifying with Rohan Singh, one of the two main characters of the book through whose eyes the story unfolds. .
The other key character of the novel is police inspector Vinay Waghmare, an ace investigator known throughout the city’s police force for his unblemished detection rate. Waghmare is an amalgamation of the hundreds of police officers that both Mohamed and I have interacted with on the job.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shall not enjoy In Plain Sight if you are not a crime reporter or a policeman.
The book brings alive the challenges faced by the average cop as well as by any journalist in their day to day professional life. If you have ever wondered how either of these two professions work, In Plain Sight is the book you should turn to.Gautam Mengle
The premise of the book is based on real-events laced with fiction
The novel is set around what became the biggest story of 2010 – a series of sexual assaults and murders of minor girls in the Nehru Nagar area in Kurla. To use an oft-used cliche, I still remember the case like it was yesterday. Residents were perpetually on edge, policemen were furious and panicky at the same time, journalists were going crazy and the whole city was hanging on to every development in the story.
Thaver bases the premise of his story on real events but, understandably, adds a healthy dose of fiction, especially towards the latter part of the book for the sake of the story that he wishes to tell. And the story that he wishes to tell is a story that everyone of us should hear, or read in this case.
In Plain Sight follows the arcs of Rohan Singh and Vinay Waghmare as both of them, in their own ways, investigate the serial rapes and murders. But while Rohan’s challenge is to ensure that his coverage of the story is the best, Waghmare is desperate to ensure that the case is solved before another little girl falls prey to the beast who is silently stalking the bylanes of Nehru Nagar. Both of them have their own goals and neither can be faulted for the steps they have to take in order to achieve them.
My take on the book:
The subject or rapes and murders that Thaver has chosen is a sensitive one, and yet he handles it with dignity and sensitivity, the same way that he has while covering countless such unfortunate incidents while on the job. It is very easy to cross the line with such subjects and describe scenes of sexual assault or murder in gory detail simply to keep the reader hooked, but Thaver steers clear of it. Instead, he chooses to focus on the nitty gritties of crime detection and investigation, which do an equally effective job of retaining the reader’s attention till the very end.
The revelation towards the climax is beautifully layered, touching upon several social issues while taking the reader towards the end of the story. I wish I could reveal what the issues are but that might amount to giving away some of the suspense. And since Thaver is a dear friend, I am as protective of his story as I would be of my own.
I would recommend that you pick up your copy of In Plain Sight at the earliest convenience and lose yourself inside a well-woven story.Gautam Mengle
Book Name: In Plain Sight
Author: Mohamed Thaver, Special Correspondent, Indian Express
Reviewed By: Gautam Mengle, Independent Journalist and Author
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Kindle (INR 144)| Paperback (INR 259)
Genre: Amazon Bestseller in Crime Fiction, Mystery
Available on: Amazon | Flipkart
When the rapes and murders of three minor girls remain unsolved for months, a frustrated DCP Sawant calls in Police Inspector Waghmare. Renowned as Mumbai police’s ‘investigation machine’, Waghmare is rumoured to solve crimes in his dreams. As the investigation progresses and every promising lead runs into a dead-end, Waghmare gets an uncanny feeling that the killer is watching them closely and anticipating their every move to toy with them. Then, when a cop too loses his life, Waghmare and DCP Sawant are both saddled with doubts about Waghmare’s fabled investigation skills.Told from the perspective of rookie crime reporter, Rohan, In Plain Sight is a police procedural set in the terrifyingly surreal world of crime and retribution inhabited by the Mumbai police.
About the author:
Mohamed Thaver is a Mumbai based journalist with over a decade of experience in crime reporting. He is currently working with the Indian Express. It was his experience reporting on crime over the years and the characters he encountered along the way that prompted him to write the book.
Follow Mohamed on: Twitter
Book Review by:
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Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Gautam Mengle has written this post only after being completely convinced about the book, In Plain Sight written by Mohamed Thaver.