Title: Eighty Hours to Save Karen
Author: Sitharaam Jayakumar
Genre: Crime fiction, Thriller
Eighty Hours to Save Karen is a racy, engaging thriller that keeps the reader hooked and spooked till the last page.
Retired Air Commodore, Matthew Williams lives in a remote hill village with his only surviving family member, his little granddaughter, Karen. When Karen is struck by a mysterious ailment under very suspicious circumstances, Matthew takes it upon himself to get to the root of her problem. It seems that there are forces beyond the natural that have a hand in unfortunate incidents; not only Karen’s illness but also a doctor’s death.
What works well
The title of the story sets the tone of urgency for the reader. The cover art is very apt for the book.
The characters are very well etched and are brought to life by an extensive backstory and an impressive attention to detail. The protagonist, the mature war veteran-turned-detective to save his granddaughter is very convincing.
The plotline is very credible and the setting of the little village is created well.
There is a good balance between the backstory and the action in the present so that the pacing stays fast. The tight narration ensures that the reader can finish the book in a single sitting.
The spook factor is high; there are plenty of thrilling moments sprinkled in the book. There are blood covered mysterious objects, cats tapping on windows in the middle of the night, unexplained accidents and many more. Yet, there is no morbid blood and gore.
On the other hand…
I kept waiting to understand the relevance of the no. of hours mentioned in the title to the book. It was only when the book was over that I realised that it probably refered to the entire timeline of the book.
I also could not get a clear picture of Karen from the book. It would have been good if her age and appearance had been mentioned so that she could be brought ‘alive’ in the reader’s mind.
I really enjoyed the traveling of the MC from the village to the state capital Shimla and then to Mumbai. But it rankled that a remote village in Himachal had shopkeepers selling ice, where it is probably cold the year round. Also, a retired Inspector living in a villa in Mumbai sounded far fetched.
The story moved very well but somehow I felt that Matthew held the cards too close to his chest. The case was cracked through his research on the internet. I wished the part about scientific research and cult leaders was expanded further for the story to have more nuances.
About the Author
Sitharaam Jayakumar is an Information Technology professional. He is a passionate reader of books on both fiction and non-fiction. He takes a keen interest in sports, especially cricket and tennis. In addition, he is also interested in politics and music. He loves to write about anything that catches his fancy in everyday life. His repertoire includes articles on social issues, crime, women’s empowerment, fiction and several other topics. He is a
Pick this fast paced crime thriller that turns spooky and psychological in turns. Very entertaining.
Download the book here.