Book Review: Elephants in the Room by Suraj Laxminarayanan

Book Name: Elephants in the Room

Author: Suraj Laxminarayanan

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: The Write Place

Rating: 5/5

Book Blurb: A ragtag group of friends are planning a bank heist to end their cash crunch. Novices to crime, they are driven more by emotions than skill – their plan seems foolproof, or so they think.

In another part of the city, a gang of seasoned dacoits has botched up a job and now owes money to the local crime lord. They have to either pay up or pay for it with their lives – and time is running out …

In a bizarre twist of fate, both these groups are brought face-to-face. Trapped in a situation beyond the realm of their planning and experience, they must think on their feet, form quick alliances, and rally behind an unlikely leader.

Set against the backdrop of Chennai, where men sing gaana songs in kuppams (fishing hamlets) nestled against swanky glass-fronted buildings and life-size cutouts of film stars and politicians, a story of love, greed, friendship, fate and the absurdity of the human condition unfolds.

Review: Elephants in the Room is a remarkable debut book and the author manages to get everything right. Usually, an author’s first work isn’t of a very high quality as like every other job, writing takes time to develop but Suraj has managed to pull off a feat here and has produced a masterpiece.

Set in the backdrop of Chennai, Elephants in the Room is about a group of friends planning a bank robbery. The plan is just right and they take care of the intricate details such as finding out if the guard at the bank has his gun loaded or not, they make meticulous plans but nothing goes according to plan. Whatever could go wrong, does go wrong!

The bulk of the book is devoted to the thrilling action that takes place inside the bank. The seemingly fool proof plan gets botched up as gangs come face to face-all deciding to loot the same bank. It makes for unlikely bonds among criminals but there is no honor among thieves here. Trying to outmaneuver the other party, a lot of quick thinking and some luck is required. Will Nari and his group prevail or will the other gang take away the proceeds of the loot? Read the book and immerse in the thrill and cliffhanger situation that sometimes even turns a bit comic.

Every bit of human emotion is well explored. Right from the opening, there is never a dull moment in Elephants in the Room. There is a fair share of drama, thrill, some comic relief in between and a befitting equally grand ending. It’s like a perfect meal with all the right ingredients mixed in perfect proportion!

Suraj has a good hold over language and shines in this book. The thrill; the anticipation that accompanies a bank heist is well recorded. I for one didn’t have great expectations from this book but the writing is so clever and perfect that I managed to complete it in one single sitting. A lot of research must have gone into this book and it shows!

Perhaps the only downside is the bland cover but you cannot blame the author for it.

All the characters are well developed and although the plot is pretty simple and a bit cliched, Suraj has managed to spin a very good yarn! It’s almost like watching a film or a play and whenever an author can manage to do that, its a job well done!


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