Catching the Departed is a book by Kulpreet Yadav. He is the founder and co-editor of Open Road Review, a literary journal. He also co-edits Under the Banyan Tree, an online forum of true stories. In 2011, Kulpreet’s short fiction won a special commendation in the competition ‘The Best Short Writing in the World’, by Fleeting magazine. This novel was shortlisted by Hachette India & DNA in their contest ‘Hunt for the Next Bestseller’.
The novel is first in the series of thriller novels on the protagonist Andy Karan, an investigative journalist. The story starts in a quaint, sleepy village on the outskirts of Delhi. When I started reading the book, I was in a pretty similar mood, sleepy, sick, bored and unable to go out or see any sunshine due to the incessant rains. Probably it was my mood that influenced the expectation. I didn’t expect much. Just expected the “hero” to solve a few mysteries and fall in love and the story ends just like a Bollywood movie.
And the story progressed in pretty much the same way but after a few pages the story took a turn and it indeed was a very good turn. As I turned the pages, the story got more and more interesting and by the time I finished I was impressed. I am not elaborating more on the story as I don’t want to give away the plot. Read it yourself for a thrilling reading experience.
The language is fairly simple and doesn’t distract you from the story with you wanting to run for a dictionary or lose the plot trying to decipher the meaning. From the description of the places, it is clear the author is very well-acquainted with the landscape and people around Delhi. The story has same focus as Andy has for his mission, no unnecessary details or characters. I, personally, like that. It manages to keep the story going with no dull moments.
What I would have liked to see better is a stronger motivation for the villains’ mission and more powerful accomplices as it was a pretty dangerous mission and a more intriguing political angle to make it more interesting. Nonetheless, I loved reading the novel and I will look forward to the next books in the series eagerly. Go Andy!
My Verdict: 8/10