Title: Yesterday’s Ghosts
Author: Nikhil Pradhan
Price: Rs 189
Link for Purchase: Yesterday’s Ghosts
It’s been three decades since Black Team disbanded in the wake of a disastrous war in Sri Lanka. Three decades since they set eyes on each other. Three decades since they decided to lock away their secret forever.
The four men, now in their fifties and sixties, have moved on with their lives, and have no intention of returning to the place where it all went wrong. However, when each of them receives a mysterious message, written in a once-familiar code, they realize that their secret has followed them home.
When I read the prologue of this book I was simply delighted. The prologue is just a page long, but it is really engrossing. After I finished reading that one-page, I was really left with the impression that here is a thriller I could dig into with relish. The book is written in a refreshingly different style. It is written partly in play format (questioning) and partly in descriptive format. This is a new style of writing I am coming across. There is never a moment of boredom and Pradhan keeps the pace brisk and lively. The story is mainly brought out in the form of flashbacks and questioning of the major characters. The story delves into the past when the IPKF was operational in Sri Lanka. A group of four men called the Black Team are transported to Sri Lanka in 1988 to provide logistical support to the IPKF on the movement of the LTTE forces. They have code names, and their job is to decode and verify messages provided by a spy whose code name is Black Knight.
Till I was halfway through the book, it had me really glued to the pages and I could not put it down. But the final ending left a lot of things wanting. It is the denouement that left me disappointed. The build-up Pradhan has provided throughout the book makes us expect a highly sophisticated plot and great conspiracy. What we get instead makes things fall flat. But despite that, I still feel the book is a good attempt at a thriller by Pradhan. I only wish the book had a little more to offer us at the end. To list the pros the narrative is racy and keeps us on an edge and the characters of the main players are all very clearly defined. The book is written in a refreshingly different format. It is written in part play (bringing out the story through questioning) and part descriptive format. When it comes to listing the cons, I really do wish Pradhan had come up with a more imaginative ending that matches his brilliant narrative talent.
Conclusion: A good book that can be read once. The book is fast-paced, and the narrative style is brilliant and refreshingly different from any book I have read.
Rating: I am going with a 3.5/5 for Nikhil Pradhan’s Yesterday’s Ghosts. I have deducted 1.5 points because, despite the exceptionally good narration and the fast pace, the ending disappointed me a bit.
This review has been written as part of Blogchatter’s Book Review Program