Thursday, November 21, 2013

An.Al – The Origins - Review

There are legends, myths, fables and parables. And the tale of the man with two heads is one of them. When the invitation to play is a dead, mutilated stray dog stuffed inside a gunnysack, you know that the game is going to be dangerous and that the only way to stop the madness is to understand it. And to hope that when the time comes, the knife finds a sweet spot. This is where it all began . . . this is the story of the man with two heads.

About the Author
Athul DeMarco resides in Bangalore. For now. He is a design researcher who is constantly on the move. When he is not travelling, he is seated, in his boxers, writing on his laptop or shouting at the television. He took a break from a cushy job and gave up on a company expense account in 2009. Bored and disillusioned with early morning flights, he remembered what somebody had once mentioned, ‘If you like travelling, writing, and meeting people, and are always trying to figure out what people are thinking, you either become a researcher or you start to live their lives . . .’
And so, he now spends his time writing stories instead of making PowerPoint presentations.
He is delusional when it comes to cricket and believes that Ajit Agarkar is the greatest player of all time. He also believes that Sherlock Holmes truly exists. Athul’s body clock suggests that he is currently residing in Japan. He is unsure of most things, but firmly believes that he is 1/16th of everything.
An.Al – The Origins is his debut novel.

A twisted killer on the run, a corrupt cop eager to buy favors, and a man with two heads playing the detective – what do you call this conglomeration? Simple, you define it as “An.Al – The Origins”.

I did not know what prompted Athul DeMarco to come up with this book until I read his interview that’s posted in the last few pages of this novel, and I was glad he did come out of the tired and cliched formulae that have flooded the bookstores in recent times, and devise a plot so unique, engrossing and spine chilling that you would get drawn deep into its mysteries, unearthing the suspense, and going on the kill with your own set of theories.

“An.Al – The Origins” is not your usual run of the mill story. It’s macabre, violent, gory and scary, and thus it’s unique, enticing you with a flavor you have never tasted before, a delicacy unnamed, yet enjoyable.

The story is a cat and mouse chase story, thought, with lots of differences. Anita is the culprit here, killing people, and feeding on them. Yes, you heard that right. Due to her rather bizarre upbringing, she finds herself alienated from the societal norms, and isolates herself into a world of her own, filled with memories of her dead parents, who instilled in her the characteristics that are as different from human traits as chalk and cheese. However, her crimes do not go unnoticed, and here comes the hero, or rather the heroes, in the frame. Alfie and Andy, conjoined twins, dive deep into the mystery, and using their skills and wits, get to the root of the puzzle.

What’s new with the story you would say. There have been so many tales revolving around killers and criminals, with the super cop or the intelligent detective tracking them down. I agree. However, what really differentiates this book is the treatment of the plot. The language makes you visualize the scenes, and you see the chapters transform into events happening right before your eyes.

Full credit goes to the author, Athul. The progressions are lucid, and well described. There are no significant glitches, and the story flows seamlessly. You wouldn't really like to keep this book down. You fall in love with the characters and their characterizations, both good and evil, and admire the different shades reflected in the story. If you are a book lover, you got to have this in your collection.

However, I was a tad disappointed with the final showdown between the twins and Anita. The author had really raised my anticipations of a mind-blowing climax, but well, it wasn't as big as I thought. Now, let me not get too critical here since to be honest, whatever the writer presented was really good. It’s just that I had expected a bit more going towards the last few chapters of this book.

That wouldn't stop me from reading the next part of the series though, whenever it comes out. I really enjoyed reading it, and I am sure you would too.

Title: An.Al - The Origins
Author: Athul DeMarco
Publisher: Prakash Books India
Imprint: Fingerprint Publishing
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 264
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 4/5