Author: Ashutosh Dixit
Publisher: Frog in Well
Cover Design: Vishwajeet Sathye
Cover : 4/5
Title : 3.5/5
Blurb : 4/5
Theme : 4/5
Characters : 4/5
Story : 4.5/5
Overall : 4.5/5
India. The world’s largest democracy. A cesspool of corruption and apathy. The people helpless, the media ineffective, the government indifferent and the crusaders forlorn. But all that was about to change… In 2014, just before India’s massive general elections, a Member of Parliament accused of being involved in multiple scams is shot right outside his residence. ACP Rajeev Shekhar, an honest, upright cop with a tragic past and ACP Digvijay Raut, a veteran legend of the Delhi Police are tasked with investigating the murder. However, more such corrupt officials begin to die throughout the country, expertly assassinated by a mysterious vigilante they call ‘the Man in the Trench Coat’. As the political pressure mounts, the CBI steps in to work with the Delhi cops. The vigilante, aided by the shadowy man known only as Control, steps up his game. As the situation escalates, the investigating lawmen find themselves embroiled in a web of scheming and deceit. Nothing- and no one- is what they seem to be… Who is the Man in the Trench Coat? Why does he do what he does? Who is the master manipulator called Control? And above all, can they succeed in their mission to free India from corruption? Inspired by the notion of vigilantism in popular culture, The Man in the Trench Coat is a story about the fight against corruption in India.
The Man in the Trench Coat by Ashutosh Dixit focuses on India’s state of affairs concerning politics and corruption. It all begins with the assassination of one of the members of Parliament, right in the heart of Delhi, with the Delhi Police being unable to trace any link to the murderer except for a note left on the spot — mentioning the crime and verdict of the MP. ACP Rajeev Shekhar, the protagonist, is paired up with ACP Digvijay Raut to resolve this mystery. Together they interrogate the MP’s widow who had surprisingly been rather happy with the murder but are convinced she had nothing to do with the entire episode. They then dive into information provided by the MP’s personal investigator for whom the MP was just another client. His knowledge of Rajeev’s personal life pisses off the latter while Digvijay is still not completely trustworthy of Rajeev. Amidst all this occurs another assassination of the MP of Karnataka, in the heart of Bangalore, with no trace of the murderer yet again but a similar note on the MP’s crime and verdict. Given the gravity of the situation and the intensity of the case, the Central Bureau of Investigation steps in to take over from Rajeev and Digvijay. Rajeev, for the first time post the death of his wife a couple of years back, feels something for the the CBI officer Maya. Will something sprout between the two? Rajeev’s personal backstory and ongoing interest in Maya provides a breather from the intense murder investigations while also adding context to the ongoing situations and proceedings.
Meanwhile, minor details on the assassin come to the fore with a rough sketch of his being made and a few documents of historical evidence being found. Everyone is convinced that the assassin is a highly trained and equipped player who will leave no stone un-turned in achieving what he has set out for. But he is not alone; a man who calls himself Control provides targets after targets to the murdered by the assassin who is always wearing a trench coat and hence his identity ends up being “the man in the trench coat”. A small narration on the initial days of his career and training intrigued me to the core and I literally got goosebumps when the identities of the assassin and the Control were revealed! An absolute treat of a read, The Man in the Trench Coat will not disappoint you!
A few times the plot became too complex too understand because of the involvement of multiple characters; it was confusing as to which dialogue was being said by whom and that made it difficult to understand a few instances and the characters’ part in the plot.
Amazing story-line coupled with perfectly crafted characters made the book a delight to read. Every page brought in new information thus twisting and turning the story-line, making it more intriguing. The vocabulary was decent and the editing in terms of parallel stories gave the book a different outlook. What I loved most about the book was that it just didn’t end at narrating the story; it left me with a thought that lingered on quite a while even after I was done reading the book — the thought of our countries state of affairs and other such matters. I believe that when a book manages to push you to think beyond the story-line, it has done its task in a way better manner! I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and wouldn’t mind giving it a second read!
A revolutionary thought-provoking narration which shouldn’t be missed! (4.5/5)
Click here to read my interview of Ashutosh Dixit.
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