Eye on you by Kanchana Banerjee is a crime thriller that focusses both on the perils of an excessive online persona as well as the misogynistic attitudes widely prevalent but frequently ignored, in the different seams of the Indian society.
The book opens with a sweet faced little girl requesting the protagonist to loan her cell phone for an emergency call. This little detail is revisited later and linked to the main plot. The protagonist, Myra is drugged and raped in the after hours of her house party, whose guest list consisted of her friends and acquaintances. She wakes up with a killer headache as well as severe body aches before she realizes that she has been raped, with almost no memory of the events from the previous night.
What works for the book?
- The lingering sense of unease by Myra, the protagonist, is something that the readers of the book share as the author skillfully sketches the aftermath of the rape and has readers wondering at the possible complicity of each character and their backstory, as they are revealed.
- The initial display of misogyny by the law enforcement is something that most readers would identify with, given the frequent media reports on the sporadic lack of sensitivity of the law enforcement officials dealing with rape and sexual assault cases in the country. The detailed character sketch of the lead police officer in the book lends an aura of realism to the entire plot.
- The social messaging around the perils of an excessive online persona and an over sharing of personal information on social media via the medium of this fictional thriller is again anchored in reality, one that is often ignored.
- The unveiling of the suspect/s? while not entirely unanticipated, is certainly in line with maintaining the overall sense of suspense in the book, making it a racy read.
- The ease of creepy surveillance technology while much discussed online has not seeped into safety consciousness of much of the society. What this book does is to reveal the costs of the lack of such consciousness and indeed, awareness, in great detail. Yet another point to be noted is the welcome adoption of many technological safety measures without following basic security hygiene measures such as changing the CCTV passwords and making electronic devices hacker proof.
What could have been better:
- Less gruesome details on the entire crime and more heavy detailing on the sleuthing activities of the law enforcement would have added more shine to what was clearly intended as a whodunit.
- Voyeurism, obviously the root of the crime, could have been dealt with in a more nuanced way as to how it ties in with the backstory of the rape.
Verdict: Yay! if you like crime thrillers and a racy sleuthing read. (Not recommended for pre teens and children.)
You can buy the book from Amazon here.
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