Reviews: Cut Like Wound

Nair introduces us to a police detective who is commonplace, human, a man one can relate to. Inspector Gowda is 49, going to seed, and often at odds with those around him. Nair weaves a fast paced, engrossing tale of suspense as Gowda and Santosh investigate. More corpses turn up, as do clues, sometimes serendipitous….Even though there is plenty of police procedure (meticulously researched, it appears), this is not an old-fashioned whodunit. And therein lies the strength of Cut Like Wound. It is not just a story of another smart cop on the trail of another serial killer. It is more a story that explores the mind of a killer, even tempts the reader to sympathise. All the time, without letting go of the fact that Gowda is the true protagonist.

- India Today

In Cut Like Wound, Nair retains that same earthiness, in a dramatically different genre. By the author’s own admission, she seeks to push her literary boundaries and that is evident in this new book and its unexpected ‘hero’ — one very likely to be a recurrent character in a future series. The unglamorously named Inspector Borei Gowda literally pops out of the pages at you, and by the finish, is so lifelike that you have his entire appearance and personality mentally mapped out…..The story is an honest yet uncomfortably raw exposé of the underbelly of contemporary Indian life. The title of the book definitely plays on these deep undercuts, wounds that fester till they eat into the very core of our charmed existence.

– Khajeej Times

Nair achieves a pleasing restraint in the key passages, and nowhere does this show more than in a tense climax, which leaves a few things unsaid and doesn't try too hard to tie up every loose strand….I also found this book consistently interesting as a commentary on the lives of the sexually marginalised, on the blurring of gender expectations, and the emotional baggage carried by both men and women in a world of role-playing and self-presentation. The inhabitants of the society depicted here – one that includes posh malls as well as seedy underbellies and much in between – are, to varying degrees, struggling with gender roles and perceptions…n his own way, he [Gowda]is nearly as marginalised as some of the more extreme cases he encounters, and if this book leads to a full-fledged series (as the "Introducing Inspector Gowda" on the cover implies it will) much of its pleasure should come from watching this man patrol the mean streets of his city, dealing with his own urban alienation as well as those of his quarries – and perhaps in wondering how thin that line between mild unrest and full-blown psychosis really is.

– Sunday Guardian

The plotting is tight, the setting is familiar to Indian readers and the characters are rivetting. The Trainspottiest side of Edinburgh couldn’t have hosted Cut Like Wound’s startling scenes of ritual worship or its lively transgenders. Even the venal corporator is believable….A confirmed detective fiction junkie, you hope the author hurries up with the next instalment. It’s torture to wait two years for any man; it’s even worse if he’s as interesting as Inspector Borei Gowda, one of the few fictional characters with whom you’d happily share your stick of Sour Punk.

– Hindustan Times

Cut Like Wound by Anita Nair is a remarkable departure in genre by the much-acclaimed author of books like Lessons in Forgetting, The Better Man and Ladies Coupe. This is a psycho-thriller, and to give due credit to the author, there is adequate suspense to keep readers engrossed throughout. Exposed here is the sleazier side of Bengaluru, in its murky back-lanes. It also offers a close look at the transgender community….Excellent, and hopefully, start of a series of novels featuring Borei Gowda.

– Afternoon Despatch & Courier

A departure from her usual literary fiction, this is the author’s first foray into the literary noir genre. The psychological thriller is soaked in the sights and smells of Bengaluru and introduces quite a few interesting characters, including the hero Inspector Borei Gowda. As usual, Nair’s writing is lucid which makes the reading light and quick.

- Verve

Anyone who lives in India has seen the Po-liss as perpetrators: of ill-will, no sympathy and worse manners. It doesn’t help that before you see their cold eyes, you see their protruding bellies. Now Anita Nair, being a chronicler of the times, gives you both these things in her lead persona, yet she manages to imbue negative characteristics with hope for the future….Until you meet Inspector Borei Gowda. Derivative he may be, but he still manages to shine a light on a might-have-been you wish was: a cop you can trust.

– The Hindu

Nair’s murderer is sinister and the motivations are complex. The setting is Indian and easily relatable. The novel explores the realities of the transgender community and corporation politics with great familiarity. The plot itself unfolds in systemized twists and turns. In the truest traditions of the whodunit, the reader will not only be guessing till the end but will also be left smugly surprised that his guesses were almost correct. Plot wise, therefore, Cut Like Wound is tight and upholds the suspense till the last pages….However, in a crime thriller, it is the climax that either scores the effort or undoes it. And it is in the last pages of Cut Like Wound that the atmosphere of Bangalore’s crime riddled underworld, the gaping abyss between assumption and reality bursts open, and Nair not only clinches the deal but takes home the trophy as well.

– Bookadda.com

he murder is well plotted with the requisite smoke and mirrors to keep the reader guessing. Nair apparently did a lot of research while she was writing the book, to get the police station procedure right. And of course the pace steps up at the end so that you’re left wondering whether Gowda will get there in time…As an introduction to a new detective series and to an established writer’s foray into a new genre, Cut Like Wound sets a gripping pace. One can foresee complications as Inspector Gowda’s life develops along with the crimes he is called in to solve, with or without the active cooperation of his superiors in the police force.

- The Deccan Chronicle





Cut Like Wound






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