A Useful Death ~ Sriram Chellapilla
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
Published: 2019, Westland India
Swathi’s Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Get to know ‘behind-the-scenes’ of Indian cinema
Book recommendation of the day is this new age Indian thriller from a Hyderabad based author who digs his skills in scriptwriting combined with territorial knowledge to offer a brilliant thriller
About the Book:
Aspiring actress Priya is dead. It’s a suicide, and rumour has it that Anil, son of politician and former Telugu-movie superstar Mohan Krishna, drove her to it. Just another film-industry scandal? Or something bigger, much bigger?
Partha, hired by Mohan Krishna’s family to handle the crisis, thinks so. Why won’t such a powerful father defend his son, Partha wonders. Is there an intra-family war? Whose interests are playing out in the media and on social media? Is a political game afoot or is this all connected to Mohan Krishna’s own dubious past? And why are student unions getting involved?
Even as Partha and his associates, Seema and Harish, confront the ethics of being involved in a war with no heroes, they are drawn into a dangerous hunt. They must negotiate a tangled and vicious world to answer one question: a young woman is dead—to whom is her death useful?
I love it when a crime thriller starts with the shot of the crime scene or the murder taking place. That’s exactly how Sriram Chellapilla commences his breathtaking thriller as he moves forward to tell us the story of the victim Priya, an aspiring actor, her friends from Uni and her presumed rival actor family – one of the giants of Telugu cinema, Mohan Krishna. The police investigation begins as they start interviewing friends and family of Priya and the media cannot keep it quiet. They’re shouting names and attacking the actor in question, which shakes the family in question as they are forced to hire a private investigator Partha to help them out of this dire situation.
Now Partha is an intelligent fellow. He’s quick and charming, working with his team of experts Harish and Seema. Harish is the quiet spy and Seema knows how to crack information out of people. Together they make a terrific team, either to solve a murder or publicise cine stars! At first, Partha is hesitant to take the case as he has his doubts on Arun and his father Mohan Krishna, who is known for his drastic arrogant nature. Soon he’s dragged into the case’s mystery as shocking revelations are made and if Partha doesn’t manage to keep it at bay, they’re going to be on the losing side!
I liked the style and vocabulary that Sriram has chosen to display in his Novel. It’s thought-provoking and gives us an insight of how the Cine industries work. The struggles and hurdles experienced by young and ambitious actors to gain a name for themselves is almost always sabotaged, stumped upon by the giants in the food chain, making them weak and vulnerable. It’s clear that the author is a talented scriptwriter as this book could be easily interpreted to base a Netflix Series or a Thriller Movie in India. The language is appropriate and pace is right for the premise. A bit too much descriptions might bore you at places, but it’s binge worthy! Any thriller fan would like the quick thinker Partha whose dialogues could very well reflect your own thoughts while reading the book. Recommended thriller fiction of 2019!
Many thanks to Writers Melon and Westland India for my copy of the book. All opinions are solely mine and in now way biased.
Meet the Author:
Sriram, has lived in Hyderabad for most of his life and has earlier dabbled with advertising, co-written scripts and now teaches screenwriting at the Ramoji Academy of Film and Television.