Six Suspects Review
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Earlier this year, director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire took award season by storm, snagging piles of awards for its magical, musical tale of love and longing on the streets of Mumbai. The Oscar-winning screenplay was based on the novel Q&A by author Vikas Swarup. Now, Swarup returns with his follow-up, Six Suspects, a beautiful and captivating mystery novel about six very different people who are under investigation for the murder of notorious businessman Vivek “Vicky” Rai.

During a party at the Rai family home—celebrating Vicky’s own acquittal for murder, no less—someone cut the lights and shot Vicky at point-blank range. After the murder, the security guards found that six guests were carrying guns—and all six were brought in for questioning.

  
 
In Six Suspects, Swarup (through investigative journalist Arun Advani) lays out the facts of the case, introducing readers to all six murder suspects before taking a closer look at each one’s motive. He then tells six separate (but occasionally interconnected) stories—stories of love, jealousy, greed, and desperation—before taking a closer look at the night of Rai’s murder.

In a way, Six Suspects is like a game of Clue. From the beginning, readers are presented with six characters—each with the necessary weapon and a pretty good motive (though some are more compelling than others). As you get to know each one, you’ll try to put the pieces together and solve the mystery. But, as Advani warns at the beginning of the book, “Murder may be messy, but truth is messier.” And that’s certainly the case in Six Suspects. You’ll make a guess…then you’ll change your mind…then you’ll change it again. And you won’t be sure of what really happened until the book closes with a confession.

At times, though, you might find yourself so caught up in the six characters and their stories that you’ll forget about the murder mystery. As you read, you’ll travel through India—and you’ll see the country through the eyes of rich and poor, politicians and outsiders. With each new story comes a fascinating new character with a completely different perspective on life, India, and, of course, Vicky Rai. You’ll listen in on their phone calls and read their journals. And while you certainly won’t like all of them, you’ll be mesmerized by their stories—and eager to know the outcome.

The novel is meticulously structured—divided into sections and stories—yet there’s nothing forced or rigid about Swarup’s writing. It’s fluid and natural, flowing from one story into the next (and from one point-of-view to the next) with a graceful style that often feels dreamlike and even musical. And although the book itself is rather sizeable, you’ll find that reading it is effortless—and thoroughly enjoyable.

Six Suspects is an enchanting novel—smooth as silk and painted in warm, rich tones. The mystery will draw you in, and the intriguing cast of characters will hold your attention until the case is closed. It’s the perfect read for a calm and balmy summer weekend.

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