Saturday, February 9, 2019

Victims for Sale by Nish Amarnath

Sandy Raman is a nineteen-year-old journalist from Mumbai who does not hesitate to go where angels fear to tread. She lives as a paying guest with the Sawants, an Indian family after the death of her boyfriend, Saahil, in the Mumbai blasts. The appearance of Nirmal aka Nimmy, the son of the house, makes her feel she has an ally, even though she is a trifle startled by Nimmy’s sister, Asha, who first accosts her with a knife. Nimmy and Sandy grow closer, much to the disapproval of his family, but a few instances of his behaviour make her wonder, especially his reactions to her references to the mentally challenged Asha.

As Sandy begins her Masters at the London School of Economics, she comes across the flamboyant Ritchie Johri, a film maker from Los Angeles. She is soon elected as the LSE television network executive head, and hopes to bag a grants programme run by a multinational conglomerate, EGG. Many influential people cross her path, and things seem almost too easy for her, especially when she gets a chance to be a BBC TV series producer in a campaign that teaches disabled children and teens better life skills to help them in public. 

Till she gets involved in a series of murky murders, as people close to her start getting killed.

So, where do things start going wrong? What is the connection between violet teddies and the chaos that Sandy finds herself embroiled in? Why does Nimmy react violently every time she mentions her desire to help Asha through her TV show? As Sandy investigates into the activities of the Bread Breakers, a home for the differently-abled, she realises that she is embroiled in “a cold-blooded tale of sexual abuse and exploitation”. As she continues her investigation, many threads start to unravel, until the final stunning denouement hits her in the face.

Nish Amarnath is a young writer who obviously believes in doing her research, be it in the gamut of health care homes, the BBC’s White City complex or the British police system. Her style is crisp and terse, as she outlines a plot that is filled with twists and turns that keep the reader gasping. Her eye for detail reveals that she has lived in and explored the city of London. ‘Victims for Sale’ lifts the curtain on the poignant truths that disabled girls often go through, maybe due to disinformation or more sinister causes. As Sandy finally puts it, “The betrayed one pays the ultimate price of the betrayer.”

A fast-paced tale of intrigue and suspense!              

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