Archive for the ‘Psychological Thriller’ Category


The Walls Have Life!

Review of The Unheards – Memories Never Die…; AK Bansal; Cedar Books 2010; Rs 150; pp 216

– Shana Susan Ninan

In his note on the first page of my review copy, AK Bansal had written that he hoped his book would draw an engrossing read. However, before I could get my hands on the novel, my colleague finished reading it in two days’ time, straight. And she praised Bansal’s debut work, The Unheards – with bulged-out rolling eyes, saying it kept her away from her work! That was enough inspiration for me to dig into the story.

The picture of an eerie-looking bungalow on a blue-grey background emphasises the presence of nether beings. The prologue, too, focuses on the history of the Barcaldine house and the stories it has to tell, or rather, reveal. The run-down, abandoned house seems inviting at first: large columns, spacious rooms, expansive gardens, trees all round and an old world charm about it.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (40 votes cast)

“I wanted my readers to relate to my characters.”

Prem Rao, author of It Can’t be You.. A Spiral of Vengeance, is a talent management specialist and executive coach with over three decades of work experience. Dabbling in writing contests and being an active blogger, this debut author has just penned a psychological thriller. He is passionate about writing and believes in connecting his characters and his readers.

– Shana Susan Ninan

IBR – What made you write a psychological thriller as a debut?

Prem Rao – I wasn’t overly conscious of it being my debut novel. This book sits at the intersection of two major interests. For psychology and for the military. It was, I guess, natural that a psychological thriller emerged. The theme sounded interesting and I went for it. As an avid reader of thrillers, I had dreamt years ago that I should write a thriller some day! Today that dream has come true.

IBR – As opposed to writers of other genres, what traits should authors of psychological thrillers possess?

Prem Rao – I can speak of a book like mine. Authors should be able to “live the lives of their characters” in their minds. They should think the way the characters would, yet always keep the reader in mind. One should never underestimate the intelligence of the reader. The plot should be gripping while being credible at the same time. The author needs to be able to create a strong desire in the minds of the reader to want to know more while making it seem as if the reader is on the right track towards solving the mystery.

Can you share with us the major thoughts that went through your mind while writing ICBY, with regards to characterization – major and minor characters?

I am glad you asked this as I have spent huge amounts of time in building my characters. I honestly feel that in a novel like this the characters are probably more important than the plot.

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Rating: 8.8/10 (16 votes cast)

Live By The Sword, Do You? Be Ready to Die By It, Too

Review of It Can’t Be You.. – A Spiral of Vengeance; Prem Rao; Cedar Books 2010; Rs 175; pp 188

– Shana Susan Ninan

Gripping. That’s what Prem Rao’s debut novel is. He calls it a psychological thriller. I’m gonna call it a psychological crime thriller – the murder of Colonel Beliiapa (Retd) is at the centre of the novel. In fact, the first line of the novel states that. The name of the novel, too, It Can’t Be You.. is well chosen and explained in the initial few pages. The author balances the crime and psychological parts beautifully.

The novel is set in the hilly district of Coorg, in south Karnataka, and is told in first person narrative by four people in the Colonel’s family, including the Colonel himself. His son, daughter and second wife all have their own reasons to have the Colonel dead. But, finally, his death comes as a mystery to all of them. And, more so for the readers!

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Rating: 8.9/10 (20 votes cast)

Hauntingly Mysterious!

Review of At 5, San Thome – Where The Past Comes Alive; Sarat Kasyap; Prakash Books 2010, pp 184

– Shana Susan Ninan

Your heart beating fast would be only one of the few outward signs that can be noticed while you are reading Hyderabad-based Sarat Kasyap’s At 5, San Thome. Your mind goes for a toss, wondering whom to believe – the author, the narrator of the story or the voice in your head? Written more like the script of a mystery film, the writing characterises all the good points of a movie storyboard. Words that form concrete pictures in front of your eyes as the words adeptly clasp your imagination.

Just like knowledge, a little imagination is a dangerous thing! Or so I found.

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Rating: 9.1/10 (14 votes cast)