Travel, Lifestyle, Review Blog

Rakshash-Book Review

Society Maketh Satan



Author: Piyush Jha

Genre: Fiction/ Crime Thriller

Publisher: Westland Ltd

Price: Rs 295

ISBN: 978-93-85724-20-6

At Cannes this year, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s chillingly perfect portrayal of serial killer Raman Raghav drew rave reviews. It is true that India has had its fair share of macabre psychopaths such as Auto Shankar, The Stoneman, Beerman, Pandher-Koli duo and others who kill for pleasure or are on a revenge spree.

‘Raakshas’, Piyush Jha’s fourth book is a study into the life and mind of social aberrations that are serial killers. A spate of gory, horrific murders are occurring around Mumbai — the victims are all women, and all of them are found headless – and so the perpetrator of these crimes is christened ‘The Mundi Killer’. Maithili Prasad, the Additional Commissioner of Police is entrusted to capture the killer who has caused panic in the city that never sleeps.

Prasad, on her part, has to fight her inner demons that are a product of her past. In cracking the case – by ascertaining how the serial killer became one – Maithili is able to not only face her past, but also highlights the trajectories that make one person a guardian of law and another person its breaker. ‘Raakshas’ gives an appropriate introduction to the background of the main character and the circumstances, and incidents that lead him towards insanity and contrary behavior.


The book throws up chilling moments in its narrative, that despite running on parallel tracks, does not once lose its grip on the plot or the interest of the reader. The gritty, uncompromisingly noir-ish story also conveys the collective lack of empathy in a teeming metropolis — where it is easy to sink into anonymity, change your appearance and identity, and no one may even notice your absence or problems until it is too late. Jha dwells on this topic in the afterword where he discusses the reasons for emergence of serial killers — both psychological and physiological — as part of the old inconclusive debate on whether criminals are born or made, and how the problem was compounded by Indian society and law and order machinery’s denial mode about the very presence.

As a bonus feature, there is also an appendix on some serial killers–Amardeep Sada, Mohan Kumar (Cyanide Mohan), Umesh Reddy, Darbara Singh (The Baby Killer), Chandrakant Jha (The Body Parts Killer), Sadashiv Sahu (The Godhuli Killer), Devendra Sharma (The Taxi Killer) and Shankariya (The Hammer Man), who have all been equally menacingly deadly.

{Gursimran is a seasoned media veteran with over 20 years of work experience at world-class media institutions like NDTV, Network18 Group and a Fortune 500 company, Autodesk Inc. (Montreal, Canada). He has also worked extensively in Mumbai at various levels on feature films. He loves reading and checking out the latest in technology and that is what he writes on for Gypsy On Exploration.}

1 Comment
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