Book Review: Blood Red Sari

Part of South Asian Challenge 2013

Title: Blood Red Sari
Author: Ashok Banker
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN: 978-93-5029-321-8
Pages: 283
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 of 5
Reviewed for:


Ashok Banker is a name I have always associated with mythological re-tellings having read his Slayer of Kamsa, The Forest of Stories and The Seeds of War, finding a women centered thriller was to say the least a bit out of genre. But apparently as the author introduction says, “But long before he became India’s favorite epic storyteller, he was the author of the first Indian crime novels in English..” there is a side to Banker’s writing prowess I am yet to be exposed to (mental note: must dig out all those books he has written.) The first time I was introduced to this book was as a first reader on Ashok Banker’s facebook page and needless to say I loved the first draft too much to not have read the final, finished product.

Blood Red Sari is the first book of the Kali Rising quadrilogy which is as the blurb of the book says an action thriller with a feminist punch. The book begins with the knowledge that social activist Lalima is dead under mysterious circumstances. Her best friend and ex-lover private investigator Anita has turned up in Varkala, Kerala for her funeral. Meanwhile in Delhi attorney lawyer, Nachiketa, has just won a case against her abusive in-laws who were the reason why she was a lawyer and also why she was in a wheelchair. Permanently. And Sheila Ray in Kolkata has just started a regular day at her all women gym when a few people walk in. All the three women start the day as normally as their days can be but the day threatens to strip them off any normality that may exist in their lives. Anita is on the run in Kerala as her bothers possibly aided by other people are out to kill her; Nachiketa ends up facing murder attempts by foreign nationals as her assistant is raped and killed and she herself lies in the burn ward; and Sheila Ray is on the run leaving everything that she has built as men vandalize her gym and are out to snuff out her life. Only one link connects all the three women who are having one of the most action packed day of their lives – Lalima. Infact a courier from Lalima that was delivered to all three a day before the action. Something in there is too much of an expose for someone out there and they are all out to raze anything that stands in the way.

I am unworthy of writing this review for, Ashok Banker is a talent that is an institution. He packs the right ingredients, in the right measure to deliver a super word-ride. The book is racy and saucy in the right measure. It builds up at the right places and carries through with momentum. This definitely what I call a quicke book. Some books need efforts on the parts of the readers some the writers; the relationship is inversely proportional I believe. This one is effortless for the reader and that says loads about the efforts of the writer. A not to be missed read and definitely looking forward to the next part.

p.s. Loved the book cover especially the side shades; very integral to the book.

Happy Reading.

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