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on 15 August 2009
Vikas Swarup follow up novel "Six Suspects" is a richly entertaining and brilliant piece of prose about modern India. He is truly a wonderful and intelligent story teller. The novel plot revolves around the life of six individuals who are on suspicion for the murder of an industrialist. It not a typical murder story, where the main focus is about capturing the murder. As readers, we gain a real insight in life of the six suspects and it like a game of Cluedo. We reach our own judgements about the motives of the characters and who is likely to be the main murderer. It is well plotted and cleverly written with excellent characters, a well defined plot and provides valuable insights into modern India. Six Suspects is another brilliant read by Vikas Swarup, who achieved global success with Slumdog Millionaire. The author continues to impress with Six Suspects.
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on 21 July 2011
The Six Suspects are an unlikely group of disparate individuals whose lives overlap and eventually converge when they are all in the same place at the same time and become suspects in a high profile murder. There is a clear structure to the book. Chapter one is subtitled 'Six Guns and a Murder' and the final Chapter is entitled 'CONFESSION - The truth'.

In between these bookends are 4 sections each comprising 6 chapters, one for each of the suspects. The sections are headed:SUSPECTS; MOTIVES;EVIDENCE; and finally SOLUTIONS.

The suspects come from all parts of society, a bureaucrat; a politician; a Bollywood star; a graduate slum-dweller; an American redneck and a young tribal man from the Andamans. As the stories of the characters are developed we get transported all over India and experience sights and sounds of Mumbai; Delhi; Chennai; Kolkata; Srinagar; Varanasi; Lucknow; Jaisalmer; and little Andaman, no name a few. It is a very enjoyable galloping journey around India and full of drama.

The lives of the rich and poor alike are riddled with cruelty and corruption as they scrabble to get to the top or stay at the top of their pile. Innocence, kindness and care for others is only to be found on the fringes of their societies. The author pours scorn on the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the police, the judiciary and the business world. There is none that doeth good, no not one. At times it is a very stark portrayal of wickedness but the author writes with humour too so you get the message without feeling hectored. The American is the clown in the book but doesn't he do well!

In the end a man gets a bullet in the head and no-one sheds any tears for him, he is not the real victim of the story as you will discover if you endure to the end. A good read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 July 2014
I really enjoyed both Q&A and The Accidental Apprentice. This for me was a 'light' read - not short, no, but content-wise it's the kind of book where you can just float along and see where it takes you. But it IS a murder mystery. You forget that after a while.

The introduction, by an investigative journalist, tells us that rich, corrupt industrialist Vicky Rai has been murdered at a party at his home (celebrating his acquital for murder). Six suspects are in custody, each in possession of a gun that could have fired the fatal bullet.

We are then taken back one by one through each of the suspects' stories and backgrounds, back up to the date of the party. Each is completely different - a Bollywood megastar, a village tribal, a mobile phone thief, a politician, an American and Vicky's own father. It takes 400 pages but eventually we see how each tale takes the suspect to the murder site, and how some are connected.

It's not overly involved, though at the end names and accusations fly thick and fast and your guess is bound to be wrong. I guessed the final twist just before it was revealed .... (to avoid spoiler, skip down a line)

*SPOILER* and then was annoyed as I felt the synopsis on the back cover needed a rewording *END SPOILER*

It's a really enjoyable read, though a few phrases of English jarred. I liked Shabnam's narration the best I think, the Bollywood story, though all had their moments, especially the slightly dumb American, over in India to meet the 'fiancee' he's been sending money to. One negative I suppose is that because each story takes 50-80 pages, you forget some of the other characters by the time they come back into the story again, but it DOES all come together at the murder scene.

Another book with a good feel for India (at least to this Western reader!) and a read to while away a few days.
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on 2 August 2013
This social commentary couched in a murder mystery is the second novel by the deep-thinking Vikas Swarup, who clearly cares about his India, and in this book couches his deep social commentary in a murder mystery. We learn about a number of peoples from different parts of India, get into the psyche of six different individuals and go over the same set of events a number of times - this does get a bit repetitive and is a structure I found made the book put-downable. However, the amazing Vikas Swarup delivered again.
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on 6 December 2009
Swarup's talent lies in devising human interest stories rich in poetic irony but reliant on chance. In this sense, he isn't going to rank with the great detective novelists BUT because his subject matter is the horror that is Ind, his work rises to the rank of literary fiction because it expresses the great human truth that people brutalized by poverty become very very very rich quite suddenly by winning quiz shows or getting spotted as the next Matinee idol or something like that. Surely, this is the essence not just of literature but also religion- not to mention the Investment strategy my Pension fund seems to have pursued.
The retarded Texan character worked quite well for me- and suggests a ironic reversal whereby guys who work for Walmart in Waco, Texas, might now be seen as a new species of slumdog.
This is a real easy read and Swarup has spent some time plotting this out properly. Most Indian English writers know less of India, are deeply boring and can't come up with an original idea to save their life. Swarup aint heavy, aint literary and shows flashes of (albeit heavy-handed) humor.
Very readable. Compare it to the immensely long and immensely silly 'Sacred Games'to see why I give it 5 stars.
Wonder if Bollywood will make a movie of this? I seem to recall an Egyptian movie from 20 years ago with a similar theme.
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Vivek 'Vicky' Rai is a crook, a businessman and the son of the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh - he is labelled the "poster boy for sleaze" by journalist Arun Advani and his crimes range from fraud to murder. When Rai is aquitted on a high profile murder charge, he decides to have a big party to celebrate. During the evening he is murdered and there are a whole host of people who would have been happy to see him dead. Six suspects are arrested who have all come to the party with a gun and this clever and entertaining novel interweaves their stories, their motives and the evidence against them.

The characters include a bureaucrat whose body is invaded by a spirit, a Bollywood actress, a member of an ancient tribe attempting to locate a sacred object stolen from them, a mobile phone thief, a politician, and a hapless American. Although this novel has much that will make you think and feel, it is also extremely funny. Larry Page, the American who arrives in India hoping for a mail order bride and is then kidnapped by some terrorists only slightly less useless than he is, brings humour to situations that you feel few other authors have been brave enough to tackle. All have their reasons for wanting the unlikeable Vicky Rai dead - but who pulled the trigger? I have to say, the story is in the journey and this is a very entertaining and thought provoking read.
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on 3 November 2008
To be frank, I LOVED this book. I read it in a matter of days, and could not put it down!

The story revolves around 6 people who have the motive and opportunity to kill a high-profile thug and results in a whodunnit thriller.

It is a well thought out, well written book, that is easy to read and only gathers momentum towards the end.

I highly recommend this read and very much look forward to Vikas Swarup's next book.
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on 22 July 2009
This has been one of the best books that I have read this year. It is witty , well written and excellently thought out. All the stories interwine very cleverly to develop a brilliant climax. I thoroughly recommend !
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on 19 October 2010
I don't usually read thrillers but this one got me hooked from page one. cleverly written with a very unusual construction and style, places and people weave together in unexpected ways. An amazing voyage into another culture, full of surprises with a refreshing humorous streak running through the narrative.
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on 17 October 2009
This is a truly enjoyable book. The story is captivating and you are left guessing till the end about which of the six suspects may be involved in the murder outlined at the start of this book. Amidst the wonderfully written whodunit is also a very insightful commentary on the social and political lives of people in different sections of Indian society influenced by traditions, superstition and corruption. Several of the characters are very similar to real life figures of popular Indian culture and this makes the book all the more enjoyable. However, not being familiar with the real life figures does not necessarily detract from the enjoyment of this book. Overall, a very good read and is highly recommended.
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