Birds of Prey – A review

Birds of Prey by Archana Sarat


Let me begin by saying that the deep dark world of psychological thrillers is not one I would like to delve into. However, and this is a disclaimer, I had to pick up Birds of Prey because it is authored by a friend. That said I have been completely impartial in my review, or so I hope. There is definitely something about the trailer and the cover – chilling yet intriguing – that makes one want to read this book.

The story

When a number of men from affluent families are abducted in quick succession police suspect a serial offender is on the prowl. Ex ACP Anton Pinto is pulled out from his peaceful life of retirement in Goa to the Mumbai crime scene to help track the killer. In keeping with his promise to his wife, Anton tries not to get involved in the case even while providing insights to the investigating team. However when yet another man is abducted he rescinds his promise and throws himself into the chase, trawling through schools and old age homes in search of his quarry. Then, the inevitable happens as the hunter becomes the prey and Anton finds himself trapped in a well that seems impossible to escape from.

That’s all I am going to tell you here. Go read the book for more.

What I liked

I read the book in a single sitting. It’s that gripping. You may figure out the ‘who’ early on but the ‘how’ keeps you turning the pages. It’s a simple enough plot but I liked the way the story unfolded, bit by bit, clue by clue – just how a thriller should.

I need to like or at least understand the characters to like a book. Birds of Prey did that for me. Anton is very likeable, so is his wife Sheeba and most of Anton’s colleagues even though they only have minor parts to play. In fact, the characters have been drawn out with clarity and consistency.

The story comes from multiple perspectives, each of them convincing, making you struggle to take sides. So while you understand Anton’s itch to get back to crime solving you also understand his wife’s reservations; while you of course root for Anton, you feel for the antagonist too, who is far from all black.

Also, compared with the Indian authors’ works on offer, the editing was decent enough, not perfect, but nothing jumps out at you or takes away from the flow of the story, for that I am grateful.

What I didn’t like

Some developments, I felt, came a bit too easily – some revelations during Anton’s  investigation as well as the final escape in the last few pages.

My one major issue with the book would be the description of sexual violence, which was graphic and gory. I could feel the dread in me grow as the chilling bits approached and details of abuse became only too real. I wouldn’t recommend it to young adults or the faint-hearted. But I guess that’s the way psychological thrillers are meant to be, so this is just me. I did say in the beginning that this isn’t my favourite genre.

Oh and the end is tailor-made for a sequel, so that’s something to look forward to.

Last thought: Pick it up if you are intrigued by edge-of-the-seat thrillers that can result from the workings of twisted minds (and I mean that of the antagonist here!).

19 Replies to “Birds of Prey – A review”

  1. Great review, Tulika. I have my apprehensions too around gore of any kind and too much darkness. Though I had enjoyed the Girl on the Train for its spectacular story telling. You can say I flirt with this genre but am not into a deep relationship with it. 🙂 I would like to give this a try. Let’s see when I get time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah me too. I cannot stomach gory details – they remain with me for too long. The Girl on the Train wasn’t really gory – not appetising in its detail – but not bad either and the story was gripping.


  2. Not my cup of tea either, I seldom read this genre. Your review is very balanced and thorough, thanks for the same. I may not pick this book up but many others might, good luck to your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your book reviews are perfect, Tulika! And, this one did what it was supposed to do…had me intrigued enough to want to pick up the book and read it at one go! I love thrillers, full of fact, right now I am reading one by, ‘I let you go’, by Clare Mackintosh and it’s simply unputdownable! I love such books, but the downside is the rest of my work takes a back seat! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Psychological thriller… read the book in a single sitting”… this is enough for me to pick this book. I love the intrigue and the challenge of working on the clues along with the investigators in the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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