Review: The Uchallambi Icons

A good thriller should keep you guessing and on the edge. Like a James Bond movie it should be international. Praveena Bhaduri keeps doing that throughout and much more is in store. She describes the locales, situations and emotions beautifully.

There are three best friends – Anushka, Pia and Deepti. And one mysterious fellow who calls him ‘MAndravad’ (actually Bikrama Singhe A Govt servant) who also deals in antiques. Three idols called the Uchallambi icons (hence the name of novel) are stolen which are priceless. But the thieves don’t know their true value and takes them to Kenya and sell them to Pia and dirt price. The three friends come back to Bombay and decide that these seem precious so each girl keeps one idol. Then begins a cat and mouse game between these girls and the goons. And meanwhile there is romance also.

The book works very well for a thriller and Praveena describes the locales and situations in vivid details. The editing and choice of words is top class (only margins near the binding were less). Pace is decent but it could have been better. The girls earlier were free birds with no romantic relationships. They were content with the friendship of each other and their respective careers.

The disaster struck and men star coming into their lives. Rehan, Amit and Sarin enter and though it adds romantic angle it slows down the pace. I would have preferred that this would have been a girl power novel but that was not to be. The expectation was partly due to the fact that they were shown as intelligent, independent & headstrong girls and partly due to the cover. The romance and vivid descriptions slowed the pace a bit but that is not a big impediment to enjoy the novel.

4/ 5 stars.

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