The debut novel of Jhangir Kerawala, JFK is sure to keep you hooked if names like Howrah Station and Park Street in Kolkota are likely to strike an emotional chord and if you can’t escape from a good crime fiction.
The book brings the reader face-to-face with the ugly underbelly that looms large beneath the bright lights of urban India. It is about an unexpected murder which takes place, and the fallout for the dead man’s family and friends especially the dead man’s best friend, Jatin F Karunamoi. Jatin is no hero. He’s an unemployed, 50-year-old and desperate to find a job and restore his dignity. But his only hope for this lies in him finding the real killer.
As he jumps headlong into the mystery he has a faint idea of what he’s getting into — a hunt for the faceless murderer.
Each step Jatin takes to unravel the mystery brings him closer to insanity as he encounters unimaginable situations, devious characters, intrigue and death.
Kerawala claims that the beginning and the end of the book are based on real-life incidents.
Though the novel is a debut, Kerawala isn’t new to the world of writing since he has produced a much-loved comic series called ‘The Adventures Of Timpa’ in the 80’s which was sparked off by his love for Herge’s Tintin comics.
“I have been writing for quite sometime. I started out with comics in Kolkata. Back in 1984, I made an Indian character called Timpa on the lines of Tintin with a team of artists,” he says.
He feels that though Indian comics existed, there were no comparison to the ones like Tintin in terms of format.
The book fared really well, but it had to be shelved because it turned out to be an expensive affair.
“I hoped that someone could take over and carry forward the project. But, no one did and the book died a quiet death after a period of six years. A lot of energy, effort and money had gone into putting up a very good show,” he rues.
The author was in for a pleasant surprise when he attended the Comic Con event held recently in the city to launch one of his books.
He found out that the organisers had taken over ‘Timpa.’ The author was obviously overjoyed as his book had got a second life after almost 27 years.
“I don’t know which corner of Kolkata they managed to find it. But, they planned to revive it and take over the book.” In between, the author also wrote three books on Timpa as printing comic books was a costly affair.
After experimenting with a comic series, cartooning and short stories for children, JFK is Jhangir’s debut into the world of novels.
How did he manage to plunge into crime thriller from children’s fiction? He rues, “I thought crime thriller would be exciting. Writing children’s books didn’t take me anywhere.”
What next? The author is planning to write a book which he likes to call ‘historical fiction.