Book Review: The Black Orphan

Author: Hussain Zaidi

Reading a book authored by someone among my favourite crime thriller writers is a thrill in itself.

The story begins with the protagonist DIG Ajay Rajvardhan of the NIA who is a part of the team alongside the US troops in the Abbottabad mission, involving the execution of the dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Despite not pulling the trigger, he played a pivotal role and did the groundwork that [saved the way for the US troops. This was meant to be a clear mission, yet traces remained.

Years later when NIA arrests a woman on the charges of terrorism, he comes across a dynamic and attractive lawyer Asiya Khan who stands up against the public prosecutor and he falls for her. Though they belong to opposite teams, they start an affair.

The plot has the NIA investigating the deaths of famous nuclear scientists one by one, and they suspect it to be a case of serial killing. It’s a race against time for Ajay and his counterparts from other departments, Deputy Commissioner Pratapa and Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, and they have to find the killer on the loose.

The stealth investigation takes them to the by-lanes of Mumbai, where they uncover a sinister plot that, if exposed to the world, can create utter chaos in the geo-political realms. But Ajay realises something is brewing right in his backyard and it’s closely related to the loose ends way back in Abbottabad.

Will Ajay manage to resolve it? Will the killer be caught on time? Or will there be irreparable damage?

THe Author excels for his in-depth research. Be it the details of a covert operation or the tiny stories in the inner sanctums of the police department and NIA… He has covered it all and that makes the book authentic. The master-stroke was connecting the dots between the events that brought the subplots to their logical ends. That finally justifies the title of the book.

As an editor, my only grouse was the last part, which seemed rushed… The climax was well written, but the road leading to the climax could have been more intriguing. But this doesn’t take away anything from the book.



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