Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Color Me Rich by Mohan Deep : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Color Me Rich

ISBN/ASIN: 978-8192678528

AUTHOR: Mohan Deep

GENRE: Fiction / Thriller

NUMBER OF PAGES: 189

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank The Book Club and the author for this review copy.

SUMMARY:

Akash Saigal, a starving painter, paints a large canvas hoping for a rich buyer. He finds a buyer and love in beautiful Zenobia, a rich art collector and painter. 'Color Me Rich' is about what the big money can do for a painter and the conflict between his past and present. ... And then Akash is charged with the murder of his rich wife!

FIRST IMPRESSION:

The author sent me a review copy with an attached letter. The first thing I noticed was the cover. A girl with a dreamy expression dominated what was otherwise a simplistic cover. The book was small, and had less number of pages. The summary, short and lacking details, was an indication of how the story was going to be.

This was the first book of the author I am reading. The book had a bigger than usual font and that when combined with more than a quarter of the paragraphs indented within the few pages, promised a short read. 

REVIEW:

Color Me Rich - A title that combines the 'color' in the art of Akash Saigal's life and the 'rich' of Zenobia's life and how these combine to make either one or both lives better. The outset is simple. A struggling but talented artist paints a picture that impresses a rich maiden, who appreciates art for art's sake and not just to decorate the dry wall at one of the big rooms of her house. Admiration of talent quickly turns to attraction and affection. A starving painter comes in contact with money and that has its effects on his life. The conflict between the painter and the artist soon turns to turmoil, and Akash's life takes a twist. He is charged with the murder of his rich wife.

The casual reader might observe that the summary yields more than it conceals and jump to conclusions about how the story would pan out. And also assume the outcome based on the stereotypes of the poor turned rich painter and the born rich wife he seemingly uses as a latchkey to get him into the world of the rich and famous and once that initial magic is over he becomes free of her. While the scene is plausible, the book differs. There is the actual love, not mere attraction but then there are conflicts - not strong enough to be motives but still worthy of notice. The casual reader would then, realise that the apparently multilayered plot actually hinges on that single focal point devoid of any twists.

The story is narrated in alternating view points. 'Yesterdays' and 'Today' meaning a time from the indeterminate past and the current. While this narrative works if the book is set over a long period of time, the slightly vague 'yesterdays' do not actually give an accurate sense of timing, a crucial element in murder mysteries, and whodunits that need to be accurate about when exactly the scale tipped in favour of, or against the victim. The book begins with Akash being acquitted and that, in my opinion, sets the stage for the climax more than the narrative or the guessing. The book begins and ends in the today, with an epilogue that is short, and reveals that life goes on, no matter what happens to predict otherwise.

The book works mainly because of its length. The short book makes sure the readers attention is intact because they might want to see through to the end. It is short, crisp and brings only a few main characters and makes the rest just parts of the story as it progresses. Where the book falters is the plotline - predictable twists sometimes ruin the story, and the beginning did not hold much interest for me, until I had gone about twenty pages into the story. Thankfully, I read the note before I read the book, realising that this was not the debut book of the author. While I was not sure if this was a story based on real events (nothing came to mind) this did remind me vaguely of an old Tamil movie I had seen. Maybe stories do converge beyond borders and across platforms.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The book's length kept me going. I finished it in one sitting.
  • The title works accurately for the book's content.
  • The cover image, though unrelated, provided a nice touch
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • The language - inclusion of many Hindi colloquial phrases with no explanation whatsoever.
  • The plot could have been a bit more tighter and had some twists
  • There were a few crucial missing details that would have given more credibility to the story if added
VERDICT:

Color Me Rich - short, quick read.

RATING: 3/5

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback, Kindle

PRICE Rs. 200 for Paperback and Free on Kindle Unlimited

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

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