Thursday, 24 September 2015

'Déjà Karma' by Vish Dhamija: A Book Review

Jay Singh is the best defence lawyer in New Delhi that money can buy. But Jay Singh is a closet alcoholic; he has a dark and ominous past. His mother has been accused and convicted of killing his father.. .something he doesn't accept even after twenty years.
Flamboyant, wicked, lethal, Jay Singh never loses a case, though his methods might not always be within the law. If the law is after you - guilty or not - there is only one man who can save you. If Jay Singh takes your case, witnesses for the prosecution disappear or turn hostile, evidence evaporates, technology and science fail to provide any cogent support. What's more - Jay Singh can even provide you with an ironclad alibi.
And then he gets a case that can completely destroy him.
If he loses the high-profile case, he can kiss his career goodbye; if he wins the case he better keep his obituary ready. 

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publishers, Rumour Books India, in exchange for an honest review.

Howdy, Geeks!

I don't normally read murder mysteries, although I adore them, and the same goes for legal thrillers. And since this author is known as "India's John Grisham", I had really high hopes for this book, especially going by the plot blurb. It promised a cocky protagonist, an action-packed plot, and a dangerous finale.

Unfortunately, none of that was delivered.

Jay Singh is cocky and arrogant, yes, but not the kind you'd root for. The plot is vague, and there are chapters on end where nothing substantial happens. The high-profile case is touched upon in the beginning and then stowed away for the last few chapters. Most of the book is about Jay's drinking problem, his love life, and his relationship with his loyal giant-of-a-bodyguard.

The story also follows a multi-perspective narrative: third-person Jay, first-person Jay, his bodyguard Bhima, his therapist, the court judge... Maybe I'm biased, but I prefer getting inside the head of just the protagonist. Somehow it's a much cleaner approach to storytelling.

The romance, too, felt stunted and strayed into the territory of 'instalove'. The case mentioned above was not as thrilling as promised: rather, it fell flat towards the end. If the entire case had been removed from the plot, nothing would have changed except maybe one page in the ending - an ending that was an extreme cop-out, to be honest.

Seriously, though. That ending is what ruined the book more than anything else. If the story had had a logical, engaging ending, this review might just have been lukewarm instead of downright frigid.

And the book was too... filmy. There were too many twists thrown at us, none of them surprising. I had guessed the reason for Jay's instability pages before it was revealed.

Another issue was that the book wasn't properly edited. Spacing errors, commas missing, comma splices... these things can be a nuisance when you're reading a published book.

I'm going to go with 2 stars out of 5 for this one.
Drawn-out, dramatic and yet uneventful, Déjà Karma is not your average legal thriller. I don't think I'll be picking it up again any time soon. 

Have you read Déjà Karma, Geeks? Did you like it? A lot of people did - it just wasn't my kind of book.
I have a lot of ARC reviews coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned. Bye!

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