Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Runaway by Aritri Gupta

A fantastic first draft

About the author:

Aritri Gupta, 25, was born into a family of arts and culture, in West Bengal, India. A consultant working with Bristlecone, Mahindra, writing has always been her passion and something she pursued with diligence. She loves observing the candid shades of life through the lens of her creativity. Though an engineering degree in Metallurgy and an MBA from one of the top schools in India sounds otherwise, her alter ego is one with the creative hues of art and culture. Reading, dance, music and painting are her other interests.
Life, with all its mysteries, and people have always been her inspiration to write, and that's what her stories essentially comprise of - emotions!

About The Runaway:

I wanted to really dislike this book, because the author committed so many of my most hated sins. Tense jumping around. Overusing the thesaurus. Plonking a word in there ‘cause it looked fancy, with the rest of the sentence screaming blue murder at it. Two dimensional characters. Settings and words that don’t agree (a sheriff? In Scotland?)

But the truth is that I think Gupta has the makings of a fantastic novel here. The story is fascinating. A serial killer on the loose, each grisly murder bringing him closer to the person who he has obsessed about for years. I love this premise, and I think so much more could be done with it. Gupta should heighten the mystery, give us more time to work out for ourselves what the link between the victims is.

The law-enforcement throughout the book is frustratingly useless. Everyone knows who the killer is. He still hangs out in the same places he always has. Everyone knows who he’s after. And we know where she hangs out too. So why can’t they catch the damn guy? I realise, from the author’s point of view, that he needs to remain on the loose, but with a more intelligent police force the killer would have to have been more intelligent also, and this would make for a much more frightening villain. As it was I found him a little ho-hum. He was definitely evil - just not as clever and calculating as I’d have liked.

Gupta had many interesting back-stories, which filled out the novel very well. However, although she gave her characters each a past, somehow this wasn’t enough to push them forward into 3D. I wonder if it was because she jumped so quickly from one flashback to another. I was often reeling with the speed of it, trying to catch up on where we were up to, who had been killed, and whether the murderer was in prison or out of it.

In short, this is a wonderful first draft. I enjoyed it immensely. With the right editors I know it can be teased and reworked into a very enjoyable, grisly thriller. And I think that the cover is absolutely perfect for the book, it drew me in immediately. With three books to choose from today, The Runaway was my first pick - thanks solely to the cover art.


You can find Aritri Gupta online:

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