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.