Book Review: The Faceless Saldirgan
Ralph Findlay, a successful businessman, commits suicide. Jack, his son, is devastated. But soon after the suicide, a note finds its way to Jack from someone named The Saldirgan, claiming to know Jack’s secret. Already traumatized by the loss of his father, the note makes no sense to him. Not till his dear friend is killed, and he discovers the body first (again), does Jack begin to take The Saldirgan seriously. Who is this enigma? That’s what keeps the pages turning.
The first impression I got was from the cover design, which was interesting while revealing nothing about the story. The blurb promised a thrilling story which had its essence in secrets, the consequences of its revelation being very important to the protagonist, and a villain who is persistent. It made me want to read the book.
The narration was interesting. While I can’t say that the science part of the chapters managed to keep me engrossed but neither did it bore me so much to want to skip it. It did, however, make me wonder what end purpose it served. I liked the twists that are put in. Just when I think that this might be what happened, the author opens another thread of possibility, and makes me mull over that. I had an idea what was going on though, and it turned out to be true. But I felt glad that the author didn’t go the tried and tested route, and instead gave the reader something to think about. Some scenes are retold in another perspective, so it almost feels like we are reading it again. The timelines, however, because of this, felt confusing to me. In the end, The Saldirgan still continues to be an enigma on some level, and that is good, I feel.
With a mystery novel comes multiple characters — suspects or detectives or related to the case in some way. I liked that the characters in the novel stood out. Be it Jack, or Danielle, or the Saldirgan, or John Beckmann, they all add to the story. The enigma that is The Saldirgan impressed me in the way he plays it like a game of chess, planning the next move in advance and seeing the endgame. In more than one way, I feel that the characters, and the story itself, showed how holding things in or holding on to things can be problematic in the future.
Would I read the story again? Maybe I will. It is not something I found under par. But it does have elements that didn’t impress me too. It is a good debut. I look forward to seeing what mysteries come from his pen in the future.
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