Title: Murder Milestone
Author: Salil Desai
Publisher: FingerPrint Publishing
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery Thriller
First Publication: 2020
“HAPPY HANGING!” Saralkar growled with all the spite in his system and stormed out of the cell.
Weeks before serial killer Dharmesh Solanki is to be executed, he wickedly burdens Senior Inspector Saralkar with a macabre secret Saralkar would’ve been better off not knowing.
Impelled to verify Solanki’s disturbing claim, Saralkar and PSI Motkar reopen the sixteen-year-old case, for which the senior inspector had won a police medal. And out tumble intriguing leads and shocking facts that had fallen through the cracks back then.
Worse, only a motley group of elusive characters might form the shaky bridge to the murky truth—a missing ex-constable, a gluttonous witness who had narrowly escaped being murdered by Solanki, Solanki’s biographer, the serial killer’s own son, and the daughter of one of his victims.
Meanwhile another dangerous murderer is busy prowling around for victims to notch up an impressive body count. In the midst of these crazy events, Saralkar’s marriage faces rough weather, while Motkar’s hands are full, investigating a trail of mysterious suicides.
As the duo struggle to cope, personal tragedy strikes Saralkar and a tip-off propels Motkar into confronting an astonishingly diabolical psychopath on his own.
Will Motkar prove up to the challenge? Will Saralkar recover his mojo in time? And will Saralkar and Motkar ever make sense of the complicated chain of murders and suicides and the dark secret of a despicable serial killer sentenced to death?
Book Review: Murder Milestone: An Inspector Saralkar Mystery by Salil Desai
The fourth outing in the Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series, Murder Milestone is Salil Desai’s most ambitious novel to date. This was different from the previous books in the series, in so far as Inspector Saralkar and PSI Motkar find themselves investigating a cold case of sixteen years. This is the first time Saralkar and Motkar have tackled a cold case, and I liked that aspect of the mystery.
A death-sentenced serial killer Dharmesh Solanki, who’s about to be hanged in a few days, asks for a meeting with senior inspector Saralkar. During the meeting with Saralkar, Dharmesh reveals a horrifying secret which may destroy innocent lives if not stopped. Entwined with the case are the ongoing developments in Saralkar’s personal life as he struggles with family matters. This added to the complexity of the story. When the tangled relationships and motives were explained, everything made sense in a believable manner, proving how well the plots were planned and executed.
Salil Desai expertly layered this plot and leads the reader on a merry trail of discovery and unearthing all kinds of information that are just one piece of a very big puzzle. True to form, Salil Desai also presents us with a whole host of vividly portrayed suspects and persons of interest in the case, from a missing ex-constable, a greedy witness, Dharmesh Solanki’s biographer and his own son, and the daughter of one of his victims. There are an array of colorful interrogation with all these characters, with red herrings and clues dispersed throughout.
As always, it is not just the central mystery, but also the central characters, who really make the book and it was a pleasure to catch up with Saralkar and Motkar once more. I was pleased to find some development in their characters and relationship too. Once again Salil Desai has delivered on all counts – Murder Milestone was intricate, carefully-plotted, addictive, and a pleasure to read from start to finish.