Book Review: ‘Maneuvering through the Fear of God by Vadhan’

Anyone who feels the need to indulge in the thrill, mystery, and suspense, Vadhan’s Fear of God does not disappoint them.  The summer is not complete without some Lee Child style narrative promised to the readers with Vadhan’s third and latest contribution. An all-encompassing detective novel turns into an emotional rollercoaster with the sudden and brutal murder of a Member of Parliament. As per the promise of the genre, the reason for the murder appears bizarre yet the narrative inspects the domains of law, corruption, vigilantism, and courtroom drama.

The novel delves into the deep currents of politics engaging the Member of Parliament’s personal as well as professional relations, carefully charting the readers through the course of love lost and the relationships gone sour. The nation erupts with waves of speculations and unsettling sensationalism combined by the social as well as mainstream media.  The storyline pitches with subtlety yet the narrative is suspenseful. The unsettling revelations with each page hook the reader into Delhi’s alleys and pathways.

The characters are sketched with flamboyant precision which makes the novel a page-turner. When it comes to characters, Vadhan’s Jagan Jigyasi creates an aura that is beyond the realms of thrill and adventure of the novel. Jagan Jigyasi along with the team at the Special Crimes Division of the CBI catapults the search for the murders and killings. In crafting Jagan Jigyasi, Vadhan’s legal knowledge blends with the inscrutability and trepidation created in the course of the storyline.

Fear of God is Vadhan’s third novel anchoring him into the world of the literary crime thriller. His previous Agniputra published by Bloomsbury received wide appreciation as well. As with Vadhan’s previous novels, the difference arises in presenting an analysis of society overwhelmed with hypocrisy, deceit, and corruption. The novel scrutinizes the rich and the elite in a light that is often a subject of ignorance. The lives of the politicians are entwined with the public versus private dichotomy. An attempt is made to put up a play whereby corruption and malignity are addressed like never before. It is not just politics that comes under scanner but media and several other institutions of power and sovereignty give us a glimpse of a nexus that is avoidable yet questionable. The videos of the slaughter of several corrupt politicians go viral on social media platforms; those at the power are fighting for refuge and safe haven. It is quite becoming to address the question that the vigilante’s next target is a war hero and a top constitutional lawyer who took three bullets for the country. The questions are gripping the narrative to make it spellbound and the reader is left with certain questions making the novel unique in its structure.

Not only is Vadhan a terrific storyteller, but he is making us look beyond the technicality and detailing of the events and characters. The reader formulates their own observations where the conflict between power structure is enough to expose the hypocrisy and crumbling institutions. The readers are left with the fear, a fear that is harbored by the vigilante. It is devious in its maneuvers but leaves them freer in terms of addressing the issues at hand.

About the Reviewer

Devina Chandola is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. She runs her own venture for writing-related services called Weaver Finch. She has pursued her BA (Hons.) in English from Jesus & Mary College and MA in English from Hindu College, University of Delhi. Weaver Finch provides specialized writing-related services to digital platforms and has worked for sectors like Publishing, Education, IT, Travel, Décor, and Lifestyle, Fashion, and E-commerce.

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