Jacob Hills
Jacob Hills
Written by: Ismita Tandon Dhankher
Published by: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
ISBN: 978-93-5029-649-3
No.of Pages: 263
Price: INR 299

Synopsis: It’s just another evening at the Tiller’s Club. Capt. Rana, a Young Officer training at the War College, stands at the bar, deliberately avoiding his pregnant wife, Heena. Saryu, village belle-turned-modern babe, drink in hand, chats up with another YO. Her husband, Maj. Vikram Singh, shoots angry glances at her. The flamboyant Lt. Col. Gary Randhawa and his wife Pam chat merrily with the senior officers – who’d guess that they lead an underground swinger couples’ club?
In a corner stands Eva, the beautiful Anglo-Indian wife of Maj. George Chandy, who finds herself at the heart of the murder mystery. The murdered woman’s body is covered with cigarette burns. A six-year-old girl’s wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse.
Review: I am sure after reading the synopsis you wanna read it now! Yes, it is a riveting and a gripping tale set in 1980s at an army station that houses a War College called Jacob Hills. Eva and George Chandy are the latest couple who comes to this place but are unaware of many undercurrents persisting at the college –  From personal equations to professional rivalries to high ambitions to using others as a success ladder to parties and to swinger club. And among all these, there is a murder mystery which engulfs Eva. There is no way out for her but to find the murderer and thus setting a high paced tempo for the story.
The story is nicely told from the eyes of it’s characters and progresses smoothly. That for me works very well. The plot which includes too many characters and situations may tend to be complex but actually it isn’t. Once you set your eyes in, the book will not allow you to get your eyes of it. Such is the author’s brilliance and control over the plot. 
The characters are superbly etched. Especially the characters of George, Eva, Sarayu and Bunny. Certain delicate issues like that of child sexual abuse and domestic abuse has been brilliantly handled. Also, the story gives a brief highlight of the army world especially the men although fictional but highly believable. The suicide at the end of the story could have been avoided. But nevertheless a whopper of a plot, nicely told without any dull moments while reading thus making it a sure shot page turner.
The plot displays the mindset of people in the eighties which for me still resembles the mindset of today’s people. The line “Under the uniform, they were all naked, a promiscuous man was a Casanova but a loose woman was a whore” still stands true, sadly.
Writing: The writing is crisp and clear without any proof reading errors. The author has a strong command over the language and a clear understanding of characters and their roles which is a rarity when there are too many characters. Infact the characters stand out for themselves which is the high point of the book apart from a good plot.
Overall: A must read for a superb plot and a riveting suspense that will keep you on the edge. 
Ratings on:

  • Plot – 4/5
  • Characterization – 5/5
  • Writing – 4/5
  • Entertainment – 3.5/5
  • Overall – 4/5