Book Review – Assassins by Mukul Deva

Published September 21, 2017 by vishalvkale

Ravinder Singh Gill is back; and he is back with a bang! I, of course, refer to the character Ravinder Singh Gill from the Mukul Deva stable of fiction – the latest book under review is Assassins, a Ravinder Singh Gill Novel authored by the king of action thrillers himself – Mukul Deva. And, though I am frankly tired of saying so now, yet again – the novel is c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y different from the others; each novel of Mr Deva is different unique – and this is no exception. The story, the plot, the flow and the narrative are different yet again; only the pace is the same – again, a Mukul Deva signature.

Mukul Deva

The plot essentially carries on from its predecessor – “The Dust Will Never Settle” {Reviewed on my blog here}. The main protagonist – Ravinder Singh Gill has now retired, and is in effect convalescing after the personally shattering events of that mission. Unfortunately, intelligence is received on a forthcoming attack on the Pakistani ex-dictator as well as the Prime Minister during a visit to India. That brings to India one of the close friends of Mr Gill, now a top British Lawman, who manages to get Ravinder Singh Gill involved in the hunt, given that the suspected hitman is their common once-best friend.
The 3 share a personal tragedy – which has clear ramifications for all during this hunt; the hunted killer – Leon Binder – blaming Gill specifically for a sad tragedy; Edward Kingsley – quiet but disturbed on this matter; and Gill – for whom this tragedy was going to increasingly come back, just as for Binder. To make matters more interesting, Leon Binder is getting all status reports from within the hunter team of law enforcers, making for a terrifying climax to this story.
As you can see, there isn’t much of a plot that I have stated; the book blurb on the back of the book says even less, almost nothing in fact. And for that, there is a reason – no way I can tell more without lessening your reading pleasure, so let us leave it at that. The book is, from page one, a classic hunt novel, right till the last page – one unbroken, breakneck speed unputdownable book; the story of a chase. And not just any chase – for all the key characters, it is the chase of a lifetime, of a career.
The plot unfolds from 3 perspectives – the hunted killer perspective, as Leon Binder goes about laying his plot to kill; the treachery perspective as the traitor – who is revealed from the start – goes about betraying his own pals colleagues and seniors, and the hunter perspective, that of the story of the hunt. If this reminds you of Forsyth – stop comparing, for it isn’t similar. The admixture of human emotions, frailties, tensions and past history makes this not quite so simple a story. And the classic admixture of desires, fears, ambitions and personal plans of each main actor in the story makes it absolutely unique.
Each perspective is detailed exhaustively, building a complete background as you are able to relate to each character as a human, a real living person rather than a bare literary figure. Each character comes alive in front of your eyes as you  read, which is the highlight of this book. The way continuity has been maintained in the character plot is sheer class, a point where several top authors of chain novels falter, as I have noted for one previous chain series earlier.
As the hunt gets personal, the tensions ratchets up fiercely as no quarter is asked for and none spared; the hunted killer and the traitor staying one step ahead of the hunters for the most part, making for a very highly tense and riveting read. However, the narrative doesn’t feel dark, unlike one other novel of the same author, which is quite an achievement. The pace is simply too fast, too frenetic, as parry and thrust, counter and counter-counter come one after the other from each of the three sides of the equation.

Adding to the tension is the exhaustive detailing of each strategy as the players do their best to emerge on top in this novel – one of the finest hunt and chase novels I have ever read, to be completely frank. You will be forced to control your impatience, forced to stop yourself from peeking ahead and skipping a few pages to see how things turn out, as the tension builds, yet – the pull of the narrative keeps you glued to the current page. As I said – one of the finest hunt novels in a long, long time indeed!

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