31 August 2021

Switched Off - A Book Review

'Switched Off' is the fourth book on crime and investigation from an ex-police officer turned author, Karma Tenzin Yongba. He has built a reputation for himself as a crime writer with his three previous books; The Restless Relic, The Barnyard Murders, and The Darkest June


The new book is about a girl named Sadey, who has two men in her life; Karma Rigzin and Ram Bdr Gurung. From a crime point of view, the book is about Ram Bdr who is found dead on the dancefloor. He was poisoned. Police find Sadey's number on the dead man's call record. And on Sadey's phone, they found a frequent caller, Karma Rigzin. 


Author Karma Tenzin tells the crime stories with the authority of someone who has been there and done that. The dashing cop, Max in the story is unmistakenly the portrayal of the younger version of the author himself, or so it seems. The character of the officer is carefully crafted with the right doses of courage and compassion, discipline and vulnerability,  intellect and rawness. It's a character built to win hearts, one that is a fine image of an admirable policeman. 

Besides the thrilling crime elements in the book, Karma subtly brings out the deep-rooted social prejudices when discussing why Sadey's parents won't allow her to marry Ram. Poor Sadey is stretched between two men both of whom she cannot marry, because the older man she loves, Karma Rigzin, has his family. The honesty with which the author presents these delicate subjects sets him apart. He seemed to have planned to give these strong jabs of social messages across our ribs while still keeping us hooked on the apparent murder case. 

However, the major complaints I have is against the presentation of the book, choice of paper and the cover design. How can we wrap such a thrilling story in something that looks like a high school project work? You don't design your book in MS Word anymore. It takes a professional book designer to layout a book. 

The story could have been seamlessly woven together if they are divided into chapters. An editor would have smoothened the rough edges and brought about consistency in terms of use of names, dates, quotes, paragraphing etc. The author need not take the burden of doing everything himself. A storyteller must go on telling stories and leave the technicals to professionals. 

Note: If you are interested in buying a copy, get it from BOOKNESE. It will be delivered to you. 

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