Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Review: 'Compass Box Killer' by Piyush Jha

Genre: Murder mystery thriller, Detective fiction

Publisher: Rupa Publications

About the Author:

Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of the bestselling novel, Mumbaistan.

A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country's largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar.

He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.


One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a tell-tale compass box reveals more clues.

Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives.

Slick plot twists and high-adrenaline action mark the first of the Inspector Virkar Crime Thrillers—part of the Mumbaistan series. Tough, daring and relentless in his pursuit of justice, Inspector Virkar is a policeman one wishes every city had.


The prologue starts with a raunchy love-making event(s) between an unknown pair in an unbeknownst year, with a brutal end. The story then directly shifts to the present where the killer is in its primary act to kill his first victim, a Sr. Insp. of Police in Mumbai. Inspector Virkar makes a good entry when he is tasked to find this killer. He visits the crime scene and discovers a compass box with the identity of the killer's next victim.

Dazzled and baffled, Insp. Virkar gets involved in the relentless pursuit to find the killer but fails miserably despite having deciphered the killer's codes for his next victims. Unpardoned by the media (due to not so suave but charming journalist Raashi) and pulled out from the investigation by his boss, Virkar takes it to himself to discover the true identity of the indi-genius killer taking clues from the final words of one of the dying victims. What follows is a saga of tracing and tracking the compass box killer and his motives which takes him to different places, putting them (Virkar and Raashi) in the path of danger, while uncovering the mask from the face of killer's next and final victim.

Does Inspector Virkar succeed in his trail? What dangerous cover-ups he gets wandered to while solving the case? Can he really love Raashi? Who is the final victim and is he even worth saving?! To discover all this know and much more, read the book.

Buy it from here -->         


Good narrative; fast-paced action; readable in one go

Story offers delectable thrills and chills, turns and twists

Ingenious methods of the killer (really!)


The whole novel gives the pure feel of a commercial Bollywood cinema (expected since the author belongs to the film industry)

My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

P.S. -- The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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