It’s almost a decade since 26/11, the deadliest terrorist attack on the Indian soil that jolted the entire nation which reminded us of the monstrosity of terrorism. The implacable incident is etched in the memories of the citizens like a scab that security forces are always on their toes so that another 26/11 doesn’t happen again keeping the country and the citizens safe from vile terrorists and their vicious plans.
S.Hussain Zaidi’s new fiction thriller “Eleventh Hour”, hot off the press has been read, done and dusted over the past week. I have always received stupendous comments from fellow bibiliophiles about the non ficiton works of Hussain Zaidi but his books has always eluded my grasp as I was pre-occupied with other books. I picked the book with great expectations as his previous fiction work “Mumbai Avengers” inspired the Bollywood flick “Phantom”.
The book welcomes the reader with a somber tint of blue and black with the title typography particularly distinctive which makes you awe with the work of Saurabh Garge. The designer also cleverly interpolated the top deck of a cruise liner which is an indication of where the action of this thriller takes place.
The inquisitve title is one among the reasons to see what this book has to offer. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “Eleventh Hour” as the lattest possible time before it is too late. The title stokes the curiosity of the reader and makes us wonder about the inherent plot.
The story has its inception in New Delhi, 2017. Superindent of Police Vikrant Singh with National Investigation Agency who still has the memories of the drastic terror attacks of 26/11 lingering in the abyss of his minds lands a blow on the Pakistani High Commisioner Zakir Abdul Rauf Khan, who is on a visit to India. Vikrant Singh is suspended till further notice but is appointed as a consultant and unoffically asked to assist the team track the five members of Indian Mujahideen who had broke out of the Central Jail of Bhopal. Vikrant had earlier busted the operation of the five terrorists and was instrumental in bringing them behind the bars. There is an imminent fear that “93 Cache”, a cluster of weapons which had rumoured to be in hiding from 93 blasts could be used to wreak havoc by the five terrorists. Vikrant is on the cat and mouse chase that is in the offing, with the terrorists on the run. Meanwhile a cruise liner enroute to Lakshwadeep which departed from Mumbai is hijacked by Somali mercenaries. The events that follow forms the rest of the story with a beffiting climax.
The book is teeming with a sundry of characters, each with a distinctive trait of their own although only few of them makes an impact with the readers. The book is divided into chapters with a non linear flow shifting from place to place and sets us in panic. But sometimes I felt this impeded the flow of the plot by deliberately diverting the inquisitveness of the reader.
The author is to be lauded for the alluring plot providing the reader with a gritty edge of the seat thriller. The plot is well researched and written in a simple language which makes it plain sailing for the readers. The plot reminds the reader of the flair and the dedication of the intelligence officers and the army men of our country evading the country from imminent dangers of various terrorist outfits all over the world.
The book starts slow, gathers pace at its own rate and reaches a crescendo proliferating the adrenaline within the readers making it a humdinger of a thriller engaging you with its brevity. The author makes sure the readers are entangled into a cobweb of parallel moving stories which are connected by hijacking incident that leads to the befitting finale showcasing the research and brilliance of the author.
The book starting slow doesn’t dampen the spirits of the reader rather the plot takes it slow raising the stakes and when it reaches the finale we could feel the rush of feelings within us. This rivetting action packed page turner will make you search for the author’s previous work and devour them.
I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for a short and engaging thriller and to readers who haven’t still devoured Hussain Zaidi’s work. This will be a perfect start to his works.
“All it takes is one brave soul”
“Because if you play your cards right, success will surely come, even if it’s at the Eleventh Hour“.
Book Details :
Author: S.Hussain Zaidi
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins India
ISBN: 9352779290 / 978-9352779291
Copy: Flipkart Review Programme
Get the book here: Flipkart