I enjoy reading all genres (except Romance), but action/thriller/mystery rules the roost. Ludlum, Forsyth. Sheldon, and the lot continue to keep me busy. I’m not complaining. I wonder how an author’s brain works. Imagining him sitting alone in a dingy room and working his way through the novel is itself fascinating, let alone reading the final draft. And when it’s an action/thriller, it’s much more exciting.
No doubt there are plenty of authors that write action/thrillers, but unfortunately, such genre authors are scarce in India. This was before Haunted happened; a rare gem by Douglas Misquita.
If I was a tad paranoid about picking up the novel, the blurb got my attention:
FBI Special Agent Kirk Ingram’s life is torn apart when his family is brutally murdered before his eyes. Devastated physically and psychologically, he vows to destroy organized crime in all forms.
Across the globe, an international trade houses brings terrorist activities and organized crime together in a deadly nexus that threatens to bring the world-order to the point of anarchy.
And only one man stands in the way of global terror and paranoia – one man seeking redemption, and waging a personal battle against the demons of his past …
The novel kicks off with a brilliant action scene, and before you know it twenty-five pages have flipped by. Pace is something I expect in a novel, and Haunted doesn’t disappoint. The story moves with a rattling speed. Mind you, it’s not easy to write a pacy story. Douglas Misquita scores in this department, and how!
The beginning reminded me of the movie, The Punisher: An FBI Agent’s family is massacred; he comes back and has his vengeance. But I was proved wrong as I read on. I was happy it changed its course. The following chapters are filled with car chases, terrorist activities, excellently choreographed action scenes, a few good twists and turns; my personal favourite: the underwater action scene.
The plot is a bit complex and demands your complete attention. With so many characters and parallel constructs, it tends to get a bit confusing. But wait till the end and everything is properly accounted for.
Although Haunted is one helluva fun ride, there are a few weak points; at least in my opinion. The first one being characterization. Kirk Ingram, no doubt, is a typical hero, but I couldn’t sympathize with his loss. Action scenes are vivid, but it would have been much better if equal importance was given to develop characters. One more grouse is the protagonist himself. After creating so much gravity for him in the first chapter, he doesn’t have much to do until half the book is over. I can understand the plot was being developed until then, but in a revenge saga (although not in a conventional way) like this, the protagonist should have been given more importance. Then, some of the action scenes, although well narrated, are clichéd; seemed straight out of Hollywood blockbusters.
That being said, Haunted is a welcome change. Douglas Misquita has certainly broken a barrier in Indian fiction writing. To my knowledge a novel of this kind is new in India. I’ve always enjoyed novels with multiple hues: too many things going on at the same time in different parts of the world and all the things linking with each other as the story moves forward, giving that nail-biting finish. To that extent it doesn’t disappoint.
Pick it up. You might be amused.
Haunted, by Douglas Misquita
My rating: 3/5
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
Number of pages: 372
Price: Rs. 350/-