Author: Richa Lakhera
Edition language: English
Characters: Neville Valentine, Dorab Silva, Este, Ranganathan, Rathi Thackray, Kimmy White, Molly Limaye
Published: Published July 15th 2018 by Rupa Publications
Format: Paperback, 196 pages
Genre: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Supsense, Crime Thriller, Neo-noir
Hungry Gods by Richa Lakhera is not a book but a thrilling ride into the world of glamour placed above the dark worlds of crime and corporate.
The current timeline begins with the murder of Dinesh Thackray, an act of revenge. Slowly, the author reveals more and more characters with a POV of their own. (Didn’t that sort of POV remind me of GOT? Only one was set in a fictious world full of fantasy elements, while other was set in a more realistic world).
While Dorab Silva, police investigator of Dinesh’s murder, goes about solving the mystery of Dinesh’s death, we get a peek into the lives of Neville Valentine (a rich, handsome, famous superstar), Ranganathan (a lawyer working for Medici), Rathi Thackray (Dinesh’s daughter, lover of Valentine), Kimmy White (Wife of Dinesh, ex-lover of Valentine), Este (a whore from a crime and poverty-stricken Dune trying to find a way out of the place for the sake her daughter) and others. Well, though the POVs are written in third-person, at times it switches to first person and only at the end of the book we get to understand why (my pointing this out is a spoiler in itself so I’m not going to talk about it anymore).
So, about the book’s storyline. Well, it’s an intriguing plot. A murder mystery, yes, but there is more to it. Dinesh’s murder was only the first of a long, haunting, mind-twisting, heart-wrenching series of events. The lives of these people entangled with the life of Dinesh is presented to us in a manner where we feel all kinds of emotion at the same time; disgust, thrill, sympathy, empathy, hatred, more hatred, and no goddamn admiration, thanks to Richa for making each character so dark, we totally love of for the fuck-ups they are. Anyhow the base of entire storyline depends on Medici, a pharmaceutical company that is selling lies to people at a very high cost while breaking all sorts of laws. If that’s not enough it has also setup its own studio to make a TV series and a movie—Healers—whose main purpose is to promote its own Heal drugs, but is nothing more than an amalgamation of violence, crime, sex and rape.
The book is a piece of fiction, but is it really much different from the real world? Although the overall story is a cliché and has been used and reused multiple times, a vigilante on a crusade to avenge rape and murder of a family member, it’s the way Richa has written it which makes it interesting. We also get a glimpse of a darker world of sadomasochistic sexual afflictions, drug abuse, incest and paedophilia plaguing people from each part of society ranging from the poor souls of Dune to the rich and famous people of the city. I must say how the author has represented the world in her book is a very bold move, as it intrudes into those domains of the society which no one is ready to talk about in the open, as if it will burn their tongue to speak about these issues, no matter how they might secretly enjoy it. Risky experiment but with an interesting piece in the end.
Writing style is intriguing with an evoking detailing of the scenes and setting, just the appropriate revealing of layers one after another, and an excellent use of vocabulary. The author hasn’t provided with clear real-world setting or timeline, except that some past events are dated to 1993. Even the choice of character names is interesting and leave little to guess their background. And, although, the author has shown the darker aspects of our society through her story we never get to hear an opinion from her about the same which sets a good pace and lets us focus on the uncertainty of the storyline without worrying about the moral boundary.
As the storyline is setup within a few weeks and have many POVs, the author has still managed to build her characters in a thought-provoking fashion that we have enough to form our own opinions and mental image of each of them.
The resolution of the story is somewhat unexpected and leaves you hanging with an open mouth thinking why it had to be this way. Even so it leaves you satisfied in a twisted manner if not another way.
Overall, Hungry Gods is neo-noir crime thriller, a bold representation of the dark, sadistic world that we live in. It’s a book you must read but read at your own risk because it might leave an aftertaste. The writing style is enthralling, characters are well-written and full of surprises, but you might not love them for their darkness. Pace is excellent and if you read quick, you can finish it in one go. Resolution is surprisingly crisp. Not recommended for the light-hearted ones.