Book Review: How To Kill a Billionaire
This is the story of a year, in fact of a lifetime narrated in the time span of a day.
Rajesh Talwar in this novel chooses to not have to do much with dialogues and chooses on a monologue narration. There is only one man who talks in How To Kill A Billionaire, the protagonist himself. This is his story. His memoir of sorts. A rare book, in the genre of crime fiction, with no investigator, no police but there is a lawyer and a confession. The book starts off as a man missing case that has the potential to blow into a full-fledged homicide case and fortunately for the reader it holds throughout till the climax.
How To Kill A Billionaire starts off with multi billionaire, global entrepreneur Lord Patel visiting a civil lawyer’s chamber on a Sunday in Delhi. The man, who has on his payroll lawyers who have graduated from Harvard and the likes, is visiting a lawyer who practices neither in the Supreme Court nor in the Delhi High Court but the lowest rung of the Delhi Court’s status ladder – The Thirty Thousand Courts. And Patel is visiting him unaccompanied. Strange, and stranger is the reason!
Lord Patel’s only son – Amit Patel, has been missing for the past 6 months. And the lawyer, with whom Lord Patel is about to have a forced Sunday breakfast, faced charges of kidnapping Amit; duly filed by Patel’s hi-fi law firm and contested by the lawyer himself. The lowly civil lawyer manages to disprove all the criminal charges levied on him by the Harvard pros and walk free. But Lord Patel wants answers about his son and only one man can give him the answers. The lawyer. And the answers may be twisted and tangled around the suicide of Ruhno, the lawyer’s sister.
Written in first person, How To Kill A Billionaire is not your typical heady, adreline rushing crime thriller. It is a jumbled up crime thriller. It is nearly a literary crime thriller. Jumbled up because while Talwar tells his reader nearly at the start the motive and the perpetrator’s identity what he takes to the climax is how he did it. Literary because unlike a typical crime fiction where the reader is engrossed in the who and however much the author wants nothing else gets more attention, here the author takes the attention off the who by telling exactly that right at the start. Thereafter the author has the attention of the reader to describe the surroundings of the protagonist, the people he knows, his relationships, his familial and personal past, the workings of Delhi courts etc.
Talwar has developed his characters well. He portrays a socially and financially weak protagonist against a financially and politically powerful Goliath. He portrays the age-old battle of being wronged by the Goliath and the vengeance by the David thereafter. The author slowly and steadily builds the characters in the mind of the reader, such that the scales of right and wrong stop mattering.
How To Kill A Billionaire as a crime thriller does not has the heady rush in the climax but what it has is the reader rooting and then cheering for the underdog. It has wit and friendships outsmarting power. And in spite of being a crime thriller, the book ends with a feel good emotion in the reader-heart.
A book that takes time for you to like but nevertheless one that you will definitely go back to know what next. Talwar delivers a literary-crime thriller with a punch.
Read the reviews of other books rated 4 stars by Team TP HERE