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Book Review: Blood on the Sands by Sujata S. Sabnis

Blood on the Sands
Author: Sujata S. Sabnis
Publisher: Amaryllis
Rating: 3.5/5

Isn’t it beautiful how mere words can haunt you for a long time? Isn’t it stranger that the same words, when read or heard again, make a chill run down your spine as you are forced to relive the moment of fearful pleasure? That’s what Blood on the Sands does to you. Right in the prologue, the author deftly paints a gloomy picture of the desert and sets the wheels of the murder mystery rolling. Gradually, as the layers unfold and the curtains are drawn, the readers are left in bewilderment, wondering at the plausibility of the actions of the characters!

Blood on the Sands, as the title suggests, is about a murder that is committed in Rann of Kutch. The pervading silence and the whispering sands add the gloom as Mankor and her two children, Samar and Ranu, begin their day as usual. A dutiful wife that Mankor is, she caters to the needs of her children and waits patiently for her devoted husband, Virender, who is in the BSF. Things turn ugly when a person is killed. No one knows who is the killer. The ‘blood on the sands’ brings everyone under the radar. Slowly the identity of the murderer is revealed and the readers are in for a shock!

This story has been neatly written. The plot is taut and the descriptions comprise the imageries that cater to the auditory and visual senses. What I disliked was the several breaks in the narration because of incomplete sentences. These pauses irked me. Also, the character development of Virender seemed incomplete.

Overall, Blood on the Sands has an intriguing premise and touches upon some of the evils that are still prevalent in the society like female infanticide, patriarchy and considering mental illness as a taboo in a very impactful way. Kudos to the author!

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