Second Lives is written by Anish Sarkar who debuted with Benaami, a historical thriller in the year 2010. The title aptly echoes the importance of life that most of us take for granted until it slips out of our hands in a moment. What comes to me after reading the book is a quote by André Malraux,“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” They say some things should stay as best kept secrets. But, when they disrupt seemingly peaceful lives, one cannot help but relentlessly seek the ultimate truth. Second Lives recounts one such adventurous journey of three best friends – Sara, Neel and Omar who risk their lives to uncover the mysterious death of their fourth friend, Rachel. Narrated through the perspectives of the protagonists, the story splits into two paths that are seamlessly and very intelligently woven into each other.
The main plot recounts the initial, but failed attempts of the protagonists trying to gather evidences relating to the murder while encountering near-death circumstances, only to find themselves on crossroads. The parallel plot (or plots, in this novel) brings/s out the dark pasts and buried secrets in the lives of Sara, Neel and Omar, thereby highlighting the grey shades of each character. The apparently idyllic setting of Goa reflected through its beaches, ancient mansions, shacks and casinos transforms into a dark, ruthless and cold killing grounds for an intelligent psychopathic killer lurking out at large. The cat and mouse chase between the protagonists and the killer in the backdrop of increasing murders is a treat to read for anyone who loves to read a wonderful thriller.
The three narratives keep shifting at a rapid, but progressive pace thereby offering an exhilarating reading experience. In fact, the plot becomes racy in the later sections, inexorably raising questions and pointing fingers at every character, forcing the readers to finish the book in a go. The writing style though simple, provides an experience akin to a theatrical play that thrills and chills. I must not forget to mention that a big surprise awaits the readers as they arrive towards the near-end of the book. The climax binds all the loose threads together in a sensational way and incorporates adrenaline-pumping action sequences (yes, you read it right!) and rightfully draws the killer out into the light. With the final piece of jigsaw falling into place, the story gets a fitting end. As they say, all that starts well, ends well. If you love a thriller that is not just about solving mysteries but a journey that takes you on an adventurous ride, then there should be no second thought about grabbing Second Lives.
Book: Second Lives
Author: Anish Sarkar
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Madhusudan M has a B.Tech degree in Textiles and is an MBA. Writing is his passion and so is connecting with anything that inspires the writer in him.