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The Tattoo Trail by Gurucharan Singh Gandhi

Vishnukant Ahlawat was working in Indian National Defense service, especially overlooking the operations in Dokalam, after the stand off between India and China in 2017. When he is diagnosed with advanced stage of Lung Cancer, he is admitted to the hospital for intense treatment. In December 2017, there is a meet scheduled between the two countries for peace talks and 2 weeks prior to that, Vishnukant is found dead in his hospital bed.

The Counter Intelligence & Espionage (CIE) department officers Keshav and Sumitra are roped in to crack this case, which is initially assumed to be a natural death as his family members do not exhibit any suspicion. Later the autopsy report points towards poisoning, and a man in blue blazer and cap was seen in the CCTV footage, entering Vishnukant’s room around the time he died.

Kali Nath Singh, a business man from Goa, who visited China multiple times over the years was nabbed by the CIE. Keshav and Sumitra travel along the length and breadth of India, from the remote corners of Jharkhand to Goa, in pursuit of the killer of Vishnukant.

The story starts with the murder of a high profile Defense personnel and two police officers following clues to nab the culprit. While the ending and the reason for killing Vishnukant may not appeal to all readers, the manner in which the author connects one clue to the next one with stories within stories, is the highlight of the book. The editing could have been better taken care of, as the timeline of the story at the start between November and December can confuse the reader.

The book is filled with many quotes from the lead characters which are sure to appeal to the reader. The authors description of places in India, especially Jharkhand is really impressive. There are sequences where the reader would be curious to know what happens next, but the author has included elaborate descriptions, which could feel like hindrances for pace of the narration. Even with the slight glitches, what appealed most to me is the thrill that is attached to finding the next clue in the trail.

If you are a fan of suspense thrillers then this book will definitely appeal to you, if you can overlook the intermittent slow paced narration.

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