“Cancer does not have a face
until it’s yours or someone you know”
– Anthony Del Monte
Have you heard of a literary genre termed ‘mytho-medico thriller’? Well, I too had never come across this genre till I started reading ‘Half a Shadow’ by Anurag Shourie. I received a free copy of this book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
The blurb promises a thriller to be unraveled, across the pages :
“Three deaths – a beautiful bride, a young businessman, and a famous doctor. Crime arises from its protracted slumber in Udaipur, and the City of Lakes finally sheds its veil of tranquility. Trapped in the heart of the mayhem, is Dr. Aditya Deshmukh, a quintessential loser. In order to redeem himself and wrench his soul free of the guilt of a ‘murder most foul,’ he has to find the missing links between Abraham and Sarasvati, Abimanyu and Sumitra, Yasser Arafat and Vladimir Putin. The body count continues to rise as Aditya gropes in the darkness. Hunted by an enemy he can’t see, devoured by a love he can’t consummate, and guided by a friend he can’t trust, he is caught up in a race against time where he can’t afford to be the runner-up”
The story starts with a series of deaths across Udaipur and subsequently shifts to Aditya- the protagonist of this book. Aditya works at J.J Memorial Hospital as an anesthesiologist. He is an alcoholic with a troublesome personal life and his Uncle Vijay Raj who is a cop is his guardian. How the duo unearths the murk surrounding them forms the crux of the story.
The language used is Simple English though at times I felt that some of the synonyms have been forcefully included. My take away line from this book would be “Nostalgia can be more painful than a surgeon’s knife”
The writer himself is from the medical profession, has dwelt at large with medical practices, and gives an insight into the life in a hospital through this book. I have known quite many friends of mine who do narrate about doctors and paramedics being subjected to drugs, discrepancies in medical practice, and misuse of patients for R&D purposes. So, I could very well relate to what was being discussed in this book and this makes the narration for me plausible.
The fact remains that this book is a Mytho-Medical Thriller and it remains so in two distinct genres as two parallel stories! The two aspects do not gel in this narration. The interweaving never takes place and the story looked as if I were reading two different books. Somehow,I felt the writer could have just stuck with a medical thriller sans the mythological part. I was engrossed and on the edge with the suspense mounting across the pages, till the mythological conversations took over. Also, aspects of cognition and perception spread its jaws to chew on the storyline. From then, it was an easy downfall with a patchy narration!
However, the writer should be applauded for the audacity to expose the medical malpractices, corruption in Medical and Research institutions, and the deteriorating scenario in the field of medicine especially in developing countries like India. Though this book is fiction, we all know how rampantly Cancer is spreading its fangs and this makes the medical and scientific discussions in the story very much rational. This book at some point will make one ponder over the ‘loss of humanity’ in today’s world!
I give this book a rating of 3 / 5!
Title: Half a Shadow
Author: Anurag Shourie
Genre: Fiction/ Mytho-medico thriller
Total Pages: 233
Publishers: Inkhorn Publishing India
I received a free copy of this book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.