Book Review: For once, off the target

Having read all the books authored by well-known investigative crime reporter S. Hussain Zaidi and reviewed couple of them in the past, The Class Of 83, seem to lacking in good old Zaidi style and flavour.  Something just did not seem right this time.

One main reason could be the line of approach adopted by the writer suitable or tailor-made for web series or any other larger platforms, which at time hampers the original writing style or the flow of the story.

The book opens up with a chapter on IC 814 hijack to Kandahar way back in 1999 and its Mumbai connection. It is here that two prominent names in the Mumbai Police force crops up, Pradeep Sharma and Hemant Karkare.

Having previously worked under Karkare in Anti-Narcotics Cell of Mumbai Police Crime Branch, Sharma plays a major role this time too with the former now heading the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). 

None can deny that at one point of time (during 80’s and early 90s) more than garbage, the city needed to be cleansed off the gangsters and putting a perennial end to rampant gang-wars that plagued peace and tranquillity of the business capital of India.

Undoubtedly, among those who stood up for the occasion, being at the forefront of ‘Operation Clean-Up’ was encounter specialist and Senior Police Inspector Pradeep Sharma.

Destiny has its own script written for all of us; even Sharma could not escape the writings when his own department, which he had served for two-and half decades, arrested him.

Putting him behind bars in the same jail premises with some of the most dreaded criminals who were arrested by the man himself.

The book revolves around several instances of Sharma’s foresight in handling situations as well as strong network of reliable and trustworthy informers.

Though at some point Zaidi seem to take the liberty to describe a particular incident in a typical Bollywood masala script, which I personally feel, could have been better if avoided.

Die-hard Zaidi readers will certainly go for it; those who admire Pradeep Sharma would like to see it placed on their bookshelf. For me, while Sharma got several bulls-eyes in his eventful career, for once Zaidi seemed to have missed his target.

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Free Press Journal