The Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav, is the story of a man trying to tackle his mid-life crisis. A sharp shooter in his youth, he has miraculously managed to escape a life of crime unscathed and settled into a routine life of a shop keeper and a family man. For twenty odd years he has tried to make this life work for him, considering himself lucky for making a clean getaway. But the tedium and monotony of his lifestyle are slowly eating away at his confidence and self-esteem.
A chance encounter with an acquaintance from his past, leads him to scrutinize his feelings. He realizes that he has been drifting from one day to another, and that he cannot be happy unless he regains control of his life.
As a final blow, he discovers that even his safety and freedom is not of his own making or even his luck, but purchased for him, by his father-in-law at a hefty price. With the last vestige of his self respect crumbling, he can no longer sit still. He must do something. But what?
There is only one thing in life that has ever made him happy; his love, his art; sharp shooting. He longs for the adrenaline rush of the hunt and making a precision kill. But how could he justify killing people? Why did his particular art have to be so lethal?
Is there any circumstance under which it is okay to kill someone, he asks himself? What if the person he killed, were the epitome of evil; someone who has had countless other people killed just to get ahead in life; someone ruthless and selfish with no conscience? Surely killing such a person would be a good deed, he rationalises. And thus is born his mission, to assassinate the chief minister, a man he has seen commit unforgivable crimes; a man on whose orders he himself has killed numerous people and a man who is partially to blame for his own anonymous existence in fear.
But does this rusty old sniper still have what it takes to complete such a mission? If he does complete his mission will he be able to handle the repercussions? What will be the fall out of such a monumental irreversible act?
+ + +
- The book follows a steady pace that keeps you hooked, and yet steers clear of getting too dramatic.
- The author tells the story from many different perspectives (POVs), including that of the jeera packer (an ordinary citizen who was once an inside man), the chief minister, his second in command and his brother. It is interesting to see so many different views on the party politics and learning the motivations that makes each one of them tick.
- The different POVs also serve to intensify the suspense. We learn that there are others too who are plotting to kill the chief minister. Will our protagonist the jeera packer get there first, or will someone else beat him to the punch?
- The story brings to light various problems in the Indian political system like corruption, nepotism, a blind slavish attitude to authority and misuse of power. The book also calls out the silliness of the VIP culture with its red beaconed cars, and the irony of tax payers, who fund their existence, scrambling to make way for them. Here is a snippet from the thoughts of the IG of police regarding his impending retirement.
“He dreaded the day he would have to stop at traffic lights and stand in queues to get petrol or medicines.”
. . .
- There are a few small detours, like the society meetings, that seem unnecessary and distract from the story with no real purpose. On the whole, however , this is a thoroughly enjoyable page-turner.
! ! !
- Mid-life crisis, politics, conspiracies, tragedy and coming of age, blend in the stew pot, to bubble into to a great thriller.
⚠ ⚠ ⚠ There are a few pages of explicit sex, and the book contains expletives, so it may be rated PG.
A thriller with character!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Fingerprint! in return for an honest review. Thanks Fingerprint!