By Hook or By Crook by Abhishek Sinha is a riveting crime thriller novel with sufficient action and suspense drama. As the story opens up, Shahid – the protagonist – is worried about his missing journalist brother Sajid. Shahid is desperate to find whereabouts his brother. He seeks help from the police team that has powerful and sly characters i.e. Vikram, Raman, Karim, and Diljeet.
The police team doesn’t like Shahid sneaking his nose in their investigation. Soon, they cast their doubt on him. He is taken as one of the suspects in illegal arms deal and also the possible speculative murderer behind Sajid. With illegal arms deal out in the story, the novel becomes gripping and its pace augments automatically. Shahid, without anyone’s notice, begins investigation at his own. However, little did he know that the world he is fighting against has already trapped him? A point would come in the story where Shahid would have tough time saving himself, forgot about solving the crime mystery.
The police procedural and Shahid’s secret investigation runs parallel for around seven days that is also the timeline of the novel. Though Shahid and Vikram are main leading detective type figures, yet in a crime thriller what seems right can also mislead. The storyline is highly unpredictable, as it takes into account man’s accountability and inclination for sins actuated by personal greed. Motive and greed bind the spine of the story, when the revelations are out in the end the novel looks something different from what it had started in the beginning.
Many would agree with Shahid as a likeable character, his quest for his missing brother is sympathetic. His yearning for a proper investigation gives his characterization dimension, depth, and it moves the plot along. Vikram, on the other hand, is mysterious and lends the narrative a hint of intriguing. With time it is sure that the readers will grow anxious about the pending puzzle but the end conclusion or the way story unfolds will leave you nonplussed.
The author deftly combines many sub-elements of crime thriller into one to deliver the novel as one of the best crime thrillers of the year. However, it could have a strong romance element that could have made it a romantic thriller as well. The layout of the story was credible and some part of it was evident that the world where corruption, illegal ways, and crime is rampant, characters like Shahid and Vikram coexist in the same ambience. How do they behave in life is just a matter of their moral rectitude and choices.
The narration of the novel is simple, posing no difficulties in understanding the plotline and the characters and their objectives. Abhishek Sinha maintained a sense of suspense right since the beginning, he never allowed his readers to predict the destination his characters were treading on.
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