Too open-ended to be called a thriller

Book: Sidney Sheldon’s The Phoenix

Author: Tilly Bagshawe

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Pages: 422; Price: Rs 399

The Phoenix is a mystery thriller about a very powerful enemy of the world, Athena Petridis, who is rising to power to reclaim her criminal empire back. Rumours had it that her husband, Spyros Petridis, was involved in drugs and murders, but his main business actually was human-trafficking. She and Spyros were killed in a deadly helicopter crash. But when the body of a child washes up on a beach in Greece with a branded ankle, it speculates the return of Athena.

Ella Praeger, a young asocial girl, feels her mind is constantly buzzing with electric signals which give her terrible headaches. She, then, gets called to join The Group which secretly works in eliminating anti-social elements (read people) from the society. Ella, with no one to take care of her after her grandmother's demise, is extremely sceptical about joining it. Mainly, because they are evasive about details of themselves and what is expected of her while she is with them. The only reason she stays there is to know more about her dead parents who were also a part of the same organisation.

The story mainly revolves around these two characters (Athena and Ella). It becomes interesting when Ella joins The Group and starts taking up assignments (missions which involve killing people). What adds to the thrill is her battle to escape near death experiences brought on her due to her own mistakes, but is still adamant to get to the root of the mission. There are certain sections which feel a bit dry, but nothing that isn’t bearable. Also, somewhere in between, the story starts to get repetitive. The climax is a cliff-hanger which might be a buzz kill for those readers who aren’t fond of open-ended books. Because, after all the exhausting hide and seek, we expect a closure which isn’t served! To sum it all, a good read but lacks the essence of a nail-biting thriller.

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