Book Review – When the Snow Melts

8:26:00 pm

Title: When the Snow Melts

Author: Vinod Joseph

Plot: An experienced Indian spy finds himself in a tight spot where no one can be trusted, appearances are hugely deceptive and lots of lives are at stake. The tasks he has assigned himself are huge and a single misstep could end his life – and others’.

Ritwik Kumar has brought upon the situation on himself, by excessive drinking and gambling. Now, he has his superiors, loan sharks and al Qaeda representatives at his heels. How is he going to get out of this mess?

In the midst of all this is the beautiful woman, trapped in a lonely, abusive life. Amidst everything, Ritwik can’t help but be drawn to her and wants to give her the life she deserves. How is that ever going to happen, when the massive giant-like Junaid stands in his way?

Review: The plot of the story on the back cover gives a very good idea of what to expect within the book. You are taken into a world of spies, torture, secrets and diplomats. This ensures that the book has enough material to be a page turner. However, though it calls itself a thriller, the book lacks the pace required to place it among the levels of books like ‘The Bourne Identity’. The first quarter or so of the book is quite slow, with an unnecessary amount of prose dedicated to describing the surroundings, which don’t really appear relevant to the story. After that, the pace picks up peaks in the climax, but still felt a little lower than it could have been.

The prologue of the book is probably the most painful part of the book to read. It appears to be a result of ‘over-thinking’. I would advise you to not judge the rest of the book based on the prologue.

The story is set in London, and the author seems to have a good knowledge of London streets and railways. I failed to make the connection between the story and the title, maybe it was something deeper that I missed. The snow seems to be rather forced into the narrative to justify the title of the book.

However, not all is bad. Like I mentioned, the second half of the book is interesting to read and I wasn’t able to stop till I reached the end. The author has put in some interesting twists and turns and surprises await the reader frequently. The basic plot is quite good, but we wish he hadn’t taken so long over it.

The characters have been etched out well, and we can almost see them. I wish a little more time was spent on the lone female character in the book, Nilofer, but I suppose that was probably on purpose.

The climax is a bit of a twist, but if you’re paying attention, you can actually see it coming a few chapters ahead.

Another minor gripe is with the cover of the book, it could have been made a lot more interesting.

Verdict: An okay read for a boring train/flight journey. It is not exactly a book that stays with you, nor do you feel deeply for any of the characters. An average read.

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