The Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha

The author had me from the start. Ever since I had read the title, I kept wondering about why anybody would leave a compass box after killing people, the idea sounded pretty insane. However, as the story unfolded, it became clearer and clearer. At the end I was left dumbstruck by the sheer ingenuity of the concept.

The Compass Box Killer by Piyush Jha
The heat generated in his system had bothered him enough
for his occasional 'dimaag ka dahi' early morning rides.

Don't get me wrong, the plot isn't a twisted one or one which gives you the thrill of a detective novel; what hooks you to the novel is the author's writing style. Unlike most of the detective stories where the mystery and suspense is revealed only at the end, Piyush Jha has a very talented way of narrating the story while revealing the twists and turns with every passing chapter. This was entirely new to me and it didn't fail to impress me. It has the ability to guide the reader while the mystery looms on, making it very simple to understand the connections and flow of the story-line.

Set in Maharashtra and primarily in Mumbai (Well, it is after all a part of his Mumbaistan series), the bureaucracy and politics behind every single move is vividly described and left me awestruck. It just goes on to show how the common man are oblivious to all these; we fret over highlighted news articles while often not having a deep understanding about the things going on.

The characterisation is also well done. While the TV journalist Rashi 'Hunterwali' Hunerwal always has a bag of tricks up her sleeve, the author's portrayal of Inspector Virkar interested me the most. As he is the main protagonist he is expected to be a macho intelligent handsome hunk who keeps his cool in all situations. This is where Piyush Jha will surprise you. He is shown to be just another common police officer with strong likes and dislikes. The author attempts to connect the readers with Inspector Virkar through his frustration, happiness, lust and sorrows, the most notable being the times when he uses limericks in Hindi - Naseeb gandu toh kya karega Pandu.

While the narration becomes a bit drab at the end and you begin to solve the crime faster than Inspector Virkar, the climax is destined to shock us all. A recommended read for all thriller and crime fiction fans, this book shall not disappoint you.

Bytes and Banter Verdict: A Good Read  -  3/5

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.


  1. nice gist Soumabha .. :)

  2. A brilliant and mature review.

  3. Thanks, Soumabha. This is a nice review indeed. Cheers. Since, you like Compass Box Killer, you might like to read my first novel, Mumbaistan too.

    1. Yes, I plan to buy that too. Should be a good read :)

  4. Just read this novel. Really good read - fast paced and a good plot.....


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