Saturday, March 23, 2019

Book Review - The Heist Artist by Vish Dhamija

A mysterious man walking towards the tunnel light in the cover, the mention of a heist in the title itself and the well written colophon enough to get anyone interested in what lay inside. It had been a long time that I had read something wherein the protagonist was portrayed in a grey shade.

Book blurb
Vagh Pratap Singh aka the Captain is a conman extraordinaire. From transporting illegal merchandise and stealing cars to breaking safes, he's done it all. But now, in his fortieth year, he's ready to retire. So when Udham Kumar, a crooked politician from Uttar Pradesh, commissions the Captain to track down and steal Poppy Flowers, a Vincent van Gogh's painting that has been smuggled into India after it went missing in a museum in Egypt in 2010, the Captain knows that he's found his last, and biggest case. But the painting is now in possession of a dangerous gangster, and the Captain is being followed by Udham Kumar's ruthless associates, greedy for both money and power. As the odds against him begin to stack up, the Captain realizes that his last heist might not be as easy as he'd imagined.
“The Heist Artist” revolves around the planning and execution of an art theft of a lost but precious Van Gogh painting by the sneaky Vagh Pratap Singh, aka “The Captain” and the complete chaos that follows afterwards wherein each character has a double-crossing plan of their own. 

The book is written in third and first person narratives. Its light on the eyes and the unwanted details are kept to the bare minimum. Yes, it does lack the element of powerful suspense, but makes up for it by keeping the story well paced and interesting. The chapters are short well placed and connected. The use of simple language aids the plot as the readers can actually focus on the story and keeps them engaged. Most of the story is on the roads, and the author successfully is able to implant the city and highway scenes in the readers mind with a use of very few words.

Captain as a central character sticks to the plot and portrays his role flawlessly. His planning, on-the-feet thinking, dark humour and his self-justified “steal to survive” ideas are depicted superbly. 
The female protagonist Sylvia’s depiction as a beauty-with-brains aides to the plot and supplements it nicely. Uddham Kumar and Bipin Patel as real world rich and powerful goons play their antagonist parts well, but personally I felt could had been more villainous. Damodar Yadav, Sheena as a supportive character are used only when needed during the plot so that the story stays oncourse. 

Personally, I found the ending to be a little bit of damper. But overall, the author delivers us a story which is quite light for a criminal fiction genre. Inspite of its not-so-new plot, the book successfully captures the readers interest. Its not nail-biting, but it’s something.

For Vish Dhamija’s simple yet lucid criminal fiction thriller, my overall rating would be 4/5.

Overall Verdict:- Light, Interesting and Uncomplicated Heist

Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We would like to thank WritersMelon for providing us the review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


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