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Six Suspects [Paperback]

Vikas Swarup
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 24 2009

Seven years ago, Vivek -Vicky’ Rai, the playboy son of the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, murdered Ruby Gill at a trendy restaurant in New Delhi simply because she refused to serve him a drink. Now Vicky Rai is dead, killed at his farmhouse at a party he had thrown to celebrate his acquittal.

The police cordon off the venue and search each and every guest. six of them are discovered with guns in their possession and are taken in for questioning. Who are these six suspects? And what were they doing in the farmhouse that night?

In this elaborate murder mystery we join Arun Advani, India’s best-known investigative journalist, as the lives of these six suspects unravel before our eyes: a corrupt bureaucrat; an American tourist; a stone-age tribesman; a Bollywood sex symbol; a mobile phone thief; and an ambitious politician. each is equally likely to have pulled the trigger. Inspired by actual events, Vikas Swarup’s eagerly awaited second novel is both a riveting page-turner and an insightful peek into the heart and soul of contemporary India.


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Review

?[Six Suspects] is unusual, witty, quirky, cleverly plotted, intelligent, and along the way it?s an informative satire on indian politics and values. . . . A rollicking good read.? ? THE TIMES ()

Review

"If rani pink is the new black, Six Suspects is crime noir. . . . It is a grim carousel of games sacred and profane." -- The Outlook Review

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Writer's Delight Aug. 14 2009
Format:Paperback
This book is really a great study of a writer's style - or in this instance, how adaptable Vikas Swarup's style really is. The story is a murder mystery with, you guessed it, six primary suspects. When Indian playboy Vicky Rai is acquitted of a murder he's blatantly guilty for, the nation of India is in an uproar. To celebrate, Vicky throws a party at which he is subsequently murdered. All 500+ guests are frisked and six suspects carrying guns are fingered. A dedicated investigative journalist aims to uncover the truth, at which point we learn all about the backgrounds, motives, evidence, and outcomes for the sacred six.

The 6 stories are extremely diverse in terms of both characters and style. Ranging from an American hick from the backwoods of Texas to a popular Bollywood actress / sex symbol to a corrupt bureaucrat or two, each section of the book is wholly devoted to that character and written in a different form, including third-person omniscient, diary entries, and perhaps most challenging - entirely in dialogue. Of course, there are wavers of connections between all 6 characters that pop up throughout the book giving the reader a bit of extra delight as you try to unscramble who the murderer actually is - in fact, you can envision the book as a bit like the movie Babel.

That being said, the success of the book really lies in the fact that it's not a murder mystery that focuses on its worthy victim or the crime - it's a murder mystery that looks at how six people from all sorts of backgrounds could possibly end up in the position of being accused of a murder, and the effects Vicky Rai's initial acquittal and subsequent death have on the Indian public.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Wow".. May 4 2010
By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
What a story. This is Vikas Swarup's second novel; his first was made into Slumdog Millionaire. Set in New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, six lives come together at a party celebrating the acquittal of Vicky Rai, playboy-son of a North India politician, for the murder - in public and in cold blood - of a bar waitress.

But which of the six suspects murdered Vicky Rai? Another corrupt politician? A famous Bollywood actress? Rai's sister's boyfriend? A "tribal" from the Andaman Islands, alone and adrift in modern-day India, just trying to return to his homeland? An idiot American from Texas who had come to India in search of life-long love?

I won't write more about the plot but just know that all parts of modern day Indian society is written about in this masterful mystery. It's a long book, but every page is interesting. Read it and enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping characters Nov. 15 2009
By kulvr
Format:Paperback
After reading and thoroughly enjoying Q&A, I was very excited for this book to come out. I was not totally disappointed. Six seperate stories about six different suspects, all told in different genres and points of view. Some of the chapters are very long, so if you read a chapter a night, you might be pulling an all-nighter! The ending was quite disappointing. The author spends so much time building beautiful and intriguing characters, only to have the ending in a series of dry news bulletins that jump all over and can get confusing. By the end, you could care less whodunit, and just want to know what happened to the characters.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty whodunit with a side of chutney Jan. 22 2009
By Nikhil Iyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A rich spoiled brat is murdered and an assortment of characters are identified as suspects. Vikas Swarup's Six Suspects rewinds time and takes us through the events that led up to the eventful night of the murder. Everyone has their motives but do they have what it takes to pull the trigger?

The first thing that intrigued me was the book's layout. In fact, it prompted me to buy it as I was strolling idly through a bookstore in Mumbai. Each chapter is dedicated to one suspect. The second thing that I enjoyed was the detail spent developing the characters of each piece in this chess match. Everyone has an agenda. Nobody is a saint. Thirdly, the writing style of the author is markedly different for each back-story. This gives each chapter a different flavor. Finally, the book takes us all over India and shows us the myriad threads that weaves the country into a giant multicolored quilt.

Having said that, the book did feel a bit linear in some parts. I would have liked the story to be a bit more intertwined than it was. A few more run-ins between the main characters perhaps?

All in all, its a fun read and the ending, which is the bar by which whodunits are judged, was refreshing and satisfactory. I fully expect the big names in Bollywood to clamor for movie rights to this book. It has all the formulaic elements of a "masala" movie with an interesting climax.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Q&A July 9 2011
By J. Smallridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is even better than Q & A. The plot starts off quickly and never lets a reader go. Criticism that the characters are hard to remember is valid because they are more caricatures than actual compelling figures in their own right.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indian surprise packet Sept. 29 2008
By baroquemaniac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Six semi-independent narrative strands, each of which might have been slappeded into some sort of novella, but which eventually interlock more tightly than one was made to suppose at the outset; a panoramic view of Indian society, shamelessly suffused with a storyteller's uninhibited lust for bizarre twists and outrageous coincidences; instances of appalling cruelty, heart-warming kindness and abject misery jostling for space with sheer farce: One might argue that too many ingredients have been stirred into the stew, that it has been quite crudely overspiced and that there has been ample recourse to fictional stock-in-trade.

Even if one doesn't enjoy (as I did) this eastern baroque mix of flavours, it should at least be difficult to altogether withhold admiration for the technical intricacies of such a liberally oiled plot machinery and for the virtuoso performance of the concluding pages, in which the traditional denouement of a whodunit spirals away into dizzying heights of absurdity.

Entertaining and moving though it is, however, the book's basic recipe is very similar to the one employed in the author's first novel ,Q & A'; and for his next offering, Mr Swarup would in my opinion be well advised to dish up something that works along other lines.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Characters confusing May 20 2010
By booklover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was pretty good. The characters were hard to keep track of, partly because the names were difficult to remember. They were interesting, but I didn't really care what happened to most of them. The ending had some interesting twists. Before the book was finished, I was tired of it. I learned about the different parts of India, so I appreciated that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swarup Does it Again May 11 2009
By Lauren G - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After reading and loving Swarup's first novel Q&A (also known as Slumdog Millionaire), I was incredibly excited to check out his second tale, also set in India. The book takes us through the streets of India yet again, in an amazing, yet harrowing tale of death and, maybe, redemption.

Vicky Rai, the son of a high-profile Minister, was found shot dead in his farmhouse on March 23 during a very glamorous party. Although seemingly a sad event, the party was to celebrate Rai's acquittal from a murder he committed. This was the 3rd time he got away with murder. Apparently, someone didn't like that.

At the party, six suspects were found with guns. The six people included Mohan Kumar, a crooked businessman who might have been possessed by none other than Ghandi; Larry Page, a Texan tricked into going to India to marry a mail order bride; Shabnam Saxena, a very famous Bollywood actress who tries to prove that she's more than a pretty face; Eketi, a tribal trying to find his village's sacred relic; Munna, an unemployed cell phone theif ; and Jagannath Rai, the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh and, of all things, Vicky Rai's father.

The lives of the six suspects are told in rotation throughout the novel, leading up to the murder. Each character has their own voice; where one character's story is told through diary entries, another's is told through phone calls. Swarup is amazing at building excitement and intrigue as each character's tale unfolds. As you read each character's story, you start questioning everything. "Could they be responsible for it?" "Is it worth it?" "Can we forgive them?"

Much like Q&A, everything comes together in the end, revealing that in one way or another, each life is wound together like a tapestry. And then end is definitely worth it. As each character's story wraps up, you see in a very satisfying manner who did it, why, and how. Much like the game of Clue, the book keeps you guessing.

Swarup has an amazing talent when it comes to describing elements. He gives an accurate, if not terrifying at times, look at India - from the swanky houses in Delhi to the slums down the road. For those who've read Q&A, there are some quick comments mentioning the characters, which made me cheer. I love when authors do that. (If you've only seen the film, you won't get the references, sadly).

I really enjoyed Six Suspects and am excited to see what Swarup brings us next. Once the book comes to America, I suggest checking it out if you're interested in crime dramas, life in India, or just really intense books that keep you up wondering what might happen next.
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