Sunday, August 23, 2015

After the crash - Book review

Before I dive into the review let me tell you that I am an avid reader and fan of mysteries and thrillers, and one of those who try to figure out the end/ killer from every clue that the author lets you bite - or not. And it is mostly the well written ones that keep me going till the end, full of excitement and suspense. After the crash has been an interesting one in those terms. Set in the late 90s while taking you back to 1980, Michael Bussi weaves a mystery, not of murder but of life. While most authors kill a character and take us through dark alleys trying to solve it, Bussi takes us through the 18 yrs of a girl through the eyes of a detective and his journal of the investigation.

It starts of with promise, as you feel drawn to know more of the mystery of the sole survivor of a plane crash - a 3 month old baby - while the detective who investigated the case for 18 yrs without any success, resolves to end his life bogged down and depressed. The story is set in a time when technology wasn't the master of lives and solving any puzzle needs only a few clicks and taps. It is set in the beautiful France that allows the readers to experience the sun and the sea and the beauty of the city and the mountains alike, quaint but modern, and taking us through the highs and lows of the mystery as the characters themselves trudge along clues and dead-ends.

The first part of the book sets the pace going as we get drawn into the detective journals and the confusions of the protagonists, letting us wonder and guess. The plan crash, the discovery of the baby, and then how two families claim for the baby and how the story really starts are very well written, keeping us glued, waiting for the events to unwrap themselves. It is however the character of Lylie tha intrigues us. The main protagonist surely would be coming back later to add more substance, right? Umm..kind of. Then there is the crazy Malvina, who I personally found to be a confused character. The author wanted her to be the right dose of weirdness and confusion to add strangeness to the story but seems to have got confused himself. So she is a crazy lady who refused to grow up, is dangerous, spews hatred from her tiny mouth, and yet is supposed to have a tender heart deep inside. OK! the premise is understandable, but as the story progresses, it seems her strangeness was used to fit and fix the loose ends.

Till the middle of the book, the clues and investigation keep on going, until the author realized his book went too long. So he seems to race to the finish a little too fast. And yet the final clue to the identity of Lylie is gob smacking awesome. The events towards the end leave us running ahead with Marc to find it all before it is too late.

There were a few things that I found intriguing in such a well thought out book. Firstly was the lack of definitive humour, and secondly I feel the translation surely would have made the book lose the real essence. Every language has its own small peculiarities, and when a language like French gets translated into English, which it is very disparate with, the essence of many parts could have been lost. This is just a theory but, having watched movies remade into other languages and with subtitles

that kill the essence while grappling to convert it blindly, I personally think that the real essence of any art can be felt only in its native language. Just IMHO.
If the above two points and Malvina had been a little darn stronger, the book would be on my top list of Must-Read-Thrillers list.

I go with 3.5/5 for this mystery of identity confusion and family feud.

1 comment:

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