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The way to build suspense is simply to ask a question, and then not answer it. – Lee Child.

I am not much into suspense thrillers or crime fiction. But at times I do pick it up on the recommendations of my friends. And so I found myself diving into the latest crime thriller from HarperCollins India – Before You Breathe penned by Tanushree Podder. This book Review is done as part of the Blogchatter Book review program.

The book opens with an eerie break-in into a clinic in the quaint hamlet of Ramsar, situated in cradle of Himalayas. Burglaries or murders aren’t much heard of in this small hill town and so the news spreads like wild fire. When the cops and the lauded detective of the town, Colonel Acharya are busy deciphering this event, yet another break-in happens at Willows which raises suspicions. Soon the owner of Willows is found dead. Though a natural death, cops and the colonel have their doubts. What follows is a series of interrogations to solve this whodunnit.

Like I mentioned before I am not a person who loves thrillers so I hardly ever pick it up. My experience with crime thrillers is limited to Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew. And when I comes to this novel I found the plot a tad cliche. It seemed like a usually murder mystery to me. Even the professions of the suspects was quite predictable. The narration of the book was linear and it was well paced at that. But I would like to point out that much like any whodunnit this one too kept me guessing. I wouldn’t deny that the book gave me feels. At some point it was Agatha Christie, at some it felt like Ruskin Bond and at some point I could envision a Hitchcock like gait of the writing.

The setting of the novel added an edge to the whole experience and somewhere it reminded me of thrillers penned my Ruskin Bond, like I mentioned above. The novel didn’t have too many characters yet each was well sketched and well developed. The past life of every character added to the thrill and kept me glued. But there were instances when I felt like the character of Radheshyam could have been used to add more depth to the story. Or the character of Mehra could have been made a lot suspicious.

If I have to analyse the title of this book then Before you breathe had given me high expectations and I was hoping for a lot of charade and spine chilling scenes but it wasn’t what greeted me.

I am a sucker when it comes to heartwarming quotes and I fell in live woth one. It is just apt for every book lover out there.

She loved the library; it provided her with breathing space and privacy whenever she needed it. She loved to read, and the books were an additional source of comfort, sometimes just looking at them and leafing through them was enough to soothe her. – Before you breathe, Tanushree Podder

Also, I felt that the climax was rushed and the party was over too soon. A few more twists could have spiced up the drama. Nonetheless the events were well planned and executed. In my view the closure was brought on just fine by the author.

Overall, the plot was believable and writing kept me hooked. Though this isn’t the best crime fiction from HarperCollins India, I would suggest you give it a read if you are a die-hard crime fiction fan.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: HarperCollins India
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