Book Review: Ashwin Sanghi’s Razor Sharp is a Rollercoaster Ride of Murder and Mayhem

Ashwin Sanghi’s Razor Sharp, the first in his “Kutta Kadam” series, takes its readers on a roller-coaster ride of murder and mayhem through the city of Mumbai. With an immaculate protagonist, Prakash Kadam, a maverick ex-cop, the novel offers a portrait of a bitter and broken man with the keenest sense for smelling out crime and criminals

Sanghi wastes no time, propelling his readers into the crime scene as soon as the book opens. In Razor Sharp, a killer is on the loose. With two murders connected to this apparent serial killer and a lack of logic behind his intent and motives, the police are left clueless and desperate as they scramble about the plot. On top of all that is the mounting political pressure and the internal power games within the department which make solving this case increasingly difficult. Out of options and against the wishes of the larger police department, Prakash Kadam is called in as a consultant for the case. Meanwhile, Kadam has been spending his days making money by playing online poker, smoking, drinking and attempting to hide these habits from his daughter with whom he shares his apartment. Besides these, he is also suffering from extreme guilt over a man’s death, the details of which he refuses to share with anyone, including his psychiatrist. Once on the job, the case experiences immediate progress as Kadam starts seeing patterns that no one has noticed so far and gradually discerns a picture of the connection between the victims and the manner of their deaths. Even as more bodies keep falling around them, Kadam slowly, but surely, moves the case – and the novel – towards its heart-thumping conclusion.

Razor Sharp takes the readers on a ride that brings them face to face with departmental politics, political games, crime mafias, human trafficking and religious cults amongst others. Moving mostly through the dark underbelly of the city, the book exposes the brutality and the filth without flinching and describes things and places as they are, without any sugar-coating. No two consecutive chapters carry the same strand forward. Instead, there’s a constant movement between the various aspects of this complex plot in its chapters. But the plot is tightly knit, and Sanghi makes sure that he is in firm control of the multiple strands that run parallel throughout the book, bringing them all neatly together towards the end. The dialogues are peppered with phrases in Hindi and Marathi and Sanghi breathes life into the various characters that make an appearance in the pages, keeping them neatly different from one another in the minds of the reader. 

But the biggest appeal of Razor Sharp and what sets it apart from a lot of books that feature a brilliant protagonist but a barely-functioning-alcoholic-with-personal-life-in-dumps type is that Kadam has traits and a backstory that elevate him from the ranks of his counterparts and makes him more humane, more alive, to the reader. Coupled with Sanghi’s crisp storytelling, a balanced amount of sustained and the dramaticism of the final reveal, an ending that showcases Sanghi’s meticulous plotting, Razor Sharp emerges as a certified winner. In a recent interview, Sanghi talks about the formula for crime writing. If Razor Sharp is anything to go by, then there’s no doubt that he has mastered it. 

Pick up Ashwin Sanghi’s “Razor Sharp” from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

Dr Sneha Pathak

About the Reviewer:-

Sneha Pathak has a PhD in English Literature and has taught at the collegiate and university level. She currently works as a freelance writer/translator. Her writings have appeared in various publications such as Muse India, Purple Pencil Project, The Wise Owl Magazine, The Curious Reader, Mystery and Suspense Magazine etc. She recently published her first book of translation, an anthology of stories translated from Hindi. Follow her here: Instagram

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