Hush A Bye Baby by Deepanjana Pal is a complex celebrity crime thriller published in April 2018 by Juggernaut Press. With hundreds of crime novels published each year in India and abroad, it is hard to find a story that stands out. Even fans of the genre will admit that one hard-boiled male detective has a tendency to blend into another, whether their exploits take place in New York, Glasgow, Stockholm or Mumbai.
Title – Hush A Bye Baby: The Cradle Will Fall
Author – Deepanjana Pal
ISBN – 9789386228574
Price – £11.17
Deepanjana Pal is therefore to be congratulated for breaking a lot of the crime-noir stereotypes with a refreshingly original story. At the same time the book embodies the essence of a successful crime thriller; the combination of suspense, violence and believable, flawed characters that keep fans coming back to the genre again and again.
This originality starts with the protagonist herself: gynaecologist to the stars Dr Nandita Rai. Dr. Rai, an outspoken feminist, couples a celebrity lifestyle with open endorsement of women’s rights. She is the full celebrity package, with radio slots, a TV talk show and syndicated magazine columns to prove it. That is, until she is accused of illegally performing sex selective abortions (terminating girls) and is hounded by police, media and increasingly aggressive vigilante groups.
Thus begins a fast paced medical crime thriller in which Dr Rai seeks to clear her name while escaping a rapidly escalating cycle of defamation and violence. The book’s cast of supporting characters represent a seedy cross-section of the great and good in Bollywood, politics and the Indian media. There are very few unambiguously good or bad characters in the novel, including Dr Rai herself. Most characters suffer from profound personality flaws, are cynical in the face of failure and are variously corrupt or simply incompetent to some degree.
This bleak picture of high society places Hush A Bye Baby squarely in the noir thriller tradition, even if the characters themselves and plot twists are unique – and often unexpected.
Hush A Bye Baby can be read as a moral indictment of the Indian elite, or a highly entertaining crime thriller, or both. We will allow readers to make their own judgement. Either way, Deepanjana Pal has written a genuine page turner that is difficult to put down and will appeal to a wide range of fiction fans. Retail customers can order it from Amazon world wide, or through an online seller or bookshop by trade buyers.
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978 938 6228574 £13.99 Paperback