Book Review: The Good, The Bad and the Unknown by Raj Tilak Roushan

Title: The Good The Bad and the UnknownThe Good the Bad and the Unknown by Raj Tilak Roushan

Author: Raj Tilak Roushan

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Genre: Crime, True Accounts

First Publication: 2020

Language: English

Theme: Crime, Human Behavior in different situation

Narrator: Third Person


Book Summary: The Good The Bad and the Unknown by Raj Tilak Roushan

While the clock is ticking fast and the city is in a state of shock, how long will it take Rishi to trace a little girl?
Will Rishi be able to give justice to a heartbroken Amol who has lost his married daughter under mysterious circumstances?
Where and for what her whole family has vanished from their house one fine night while Radha was away?

A collection of short stories, The Good, the Bad and the Unknown takes the reader into the minds of criminals and police officers. Gripping and unputdownable in its storytelling, the collection depicts not only the seedy underbelly of our society but also tries to show what motives people around us and people like us have to take up a life of crime.

The truth can often be strange and shocking. Not everyone has the heart to handle it.

All the characters in the stories-be it the grandmother who finds a dead body in her house or the farmer whose crops are burnt down or even a petty thief-have layers to their personalities, where truth and fiction can barely be discerned.

Each story portrays various shades of human behaviour-guilt, rage, love, greed, vengeance and fear-and offers many versions of the truth; the protagonist(s) and even the readers have to rely on their wits to make sense of this twisted world around them.

The Good, the Bad and the Unknown has a universal appeal to it as it reflects the unravelling of the deepest and darkest human emotions through the most unlikely of characters.


Book Review: The Good The Bad and the Unknown by Raj Tilak Roushan

Short stories, where you can’t really get your teeth in the story, always feel a little ‘lesser’ to me than novels. Having said this, The Good, the Bad and the Unknown by Raj Tilak Roushan proved to be fun and light. The prefect thing when you want something easy and entertaining.

In this book, The Good, the Bad and the Unknown, author Raj Tilak Roushan puts together a collection of short stories featuring his engaging hero and a police officer Rishi. Here you will find tales of Rishi solving crimes of different degrees in different places.

The thing about any story in this collection is that the plot is the least of it. The twists and turns are there alright, and pretty satisfying too, but that’s not what keeps bringing me back to visit author Raj Tilak Roushan’s world of crime. The big thing – the constant draw – is the descriptions of the people and of the place.

“The fear of the unknown hits one’s nerves more than the known.”

The characters are a broad mix, from the posh and pompous to the snarky and mean and then the downright nasty. It’s the dialogue that brings them alive: broad use of the vernacular, a dry humour never far from the lips and the effortless authenticity of the banter. It just feels right. And the place – the city itself – with its big old houses, long broad avenues but also dim unseen spaces and damp rotting rooms is a huge presence in these stories. The descriptions are bristling with detail and atmosphere. It’s to the dark underbelly of the city that author likes to take us, ever reminding us that behind the city’s bright façade there lurks something else, something ugly.

Each story in The Good, the Bad and the Unknown is just a small, non-significant mystery that Rishi has to solve, some of which could be featured as side-plots in a fully-formed novel. With these stories you gain an insight in to author Raj Tilak Roushan himself, the people he works with and against.

“One way or the other, we all are criminals, at least of intent.”

The 18 stories flew by far too fast. It would feel churlish to single out favourites, so I won’t try. The overall quality is very high. The mood of the pieces varies: some stories are light and wryly amusing, others dark and unnerving. Most are of typical short story length but there a few one longer tales here too. My feeling is that this collection is best read over an extended period, allowing space for the individual stories to breathe. I think there’s just too much density to the tales to allow constant immersion in this collection. And why spoil it, take your time and make it last.


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