Book Review of ‘JFK’ by Jhangir Kerawala

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JFK is a nice thriller novel set in the midst of the hustle & bustle of Kolkata taking you through its narrow streets to reveal a sinister plot which includes a secret society, blackmailers, extramarital affairs and of course murders! Debutant writer Jhangir Kerawala has a knack for writing thrillers it would seem as he seamlessly integrates suspense, thrill, humor and shock in this novel which revolves around 3 letters – ‘JFK’! That was the last word uttered by Manish Mondal to his close friend and protagonist Jatin before he was murdered! The mystery builds up here as Jatin’s full name is Jatin F Karunamoi and was always called JFK by his friends! So why did Manish utter the word ‘JFK’ to JFK himself? This unputdownable novel has the answer to this question!

My wife noticed this particular trait of the novelist and I agree with it too – it is the way in which Jhangir introduces each character in a totally unrelated way to the story by explaining their traits, characteristics, inhibitions and weaknesses before making us understand how they are related to the story and to the plot. Also the way Jhangir weaves the story among the many landmarks of Kolkata like B.B.D.Baug, K.C. Das sweet shop, Esplanade, Howrah Station and Park Street tells us a lot more about the culture of a city which is mostly looked down upon by many Indians as they don’t understand it. Somehow I feel that Jhangir Kerawala writes the story in an autobiographical way as his name also shortens to JFK, if he had a middle name starting with F!

I like the way the motley crew of Jatin and Montu are depicted snooping around different places in Kolkata to investigate on their own the murder case of Manish. Jhangir has depicted Jatin as the unassuming, unsure protagonist and Montu as the bumbling sidekick who is more interested in his next meal than the next clue about the murder! Add to the mix the sultriness of the mysterious Preeti who has had an extra marital affair with Manish (but still seems to be luring Jatin into some kind of trap), and you have a story which you would want to finish without worrying about anything else on your mind!

The style of writing is very simple and easy to read for even the most naïve reader as its very simple Indian English with a lot of dialogues rather than elaborate descriptions of events which have happened. It is also written in third person narrative which makes it easier for you to understand the situations at hand as you won’t be confused thinking who is saying what.

I was doing a bit of research on Jhangir Kerawala and was pleasantly surprised to know that he was the brains behind ‘The Adventures of Timpa’ which was launched in the ‘80s as an Indian alternative to the very popular Tintin comics by Herge. No wonder the adventure and thriller bug bit Jhangir while he was writing his debut novel!

Wondering who exactly killed Manish and for what reason? Was his last word JFK meant to say that his friend Jatin F Karunamoi was the killer and he was betrayed by him? Is Preeti as innocent as she looks or there is more to it than meets the eye? If you want to know the answers to all these questions, go ahead and pick up a copy of JFK by Jhangir Kerawala in your neighborhood bookstore or at Flipkart which is offering it at a discount of 20% – I guarantee you over 5 hours of unadulterated thrills as you become a detective along with JFK and Montu crisscrossing the streets of the City of Joy – Kolkata!

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  1. Shrinidhi Hande
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