Book Review: ‘Crimes of Passion’ by Gerard de Souza

A riveting and revealing book that explores the dark side of love and lust in India


Book Title: Crimes of Passion: When Desire Turns Deadly
Author: Gerard de Souza
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-9357025201
Date Published: Sept. 15, 2023
Price: INR 249

Crimes of Passion by Gerard de Souza

Book Review

“A man in Mumbai killed his live-in-partner, chopped her body with a tree cutter, and boiled the parts in a cooker, sources in the police said. Police were alerted by local residents who complained of a foul smell emanating from the flat.”

“A 56-year-old man was arrested after the chopped body parts of his live-in partner were recovered from a flat in Maharashtra’s Thane district.”

“Kerala man kills live-in partner with pressure cooker in Bengaluru, arrested.”

Did the three news statements above induce panic or instill fear within us? Alternatively, is the abundance of information in our surroundings and the casual scrolling behavior on social media desensitizing us to the actual crimes occurring in our vicinity? This prompts us to contemplate whether the constant exposure to a barrage of news and the often mindless act of scrolling through social media affect our perception of and reaction to the crimes around us. Are we, as a society, becoming desensitized to these pressing issues due to the overwhelming information overload and our habitual online behavior?

In a broad and simplified context, a crime of passion typically refers to an unlawful act carried out in the grip of intense anger or emotional turmoil, often termed acting in the “heat of passion.” This typically stems from a provocation by the defendant, who, in such emotional intensity, commits the crime. Killings in these emotional states lack premeditation, which can lead to a legal classification of the act as voluntary manslaughter, distinguishing it from murder.

In this connection, “Crimes of Passion: When Desire Turns Deadly“, published by Rupa Publications, is a book by journalist Gerard de Souza that explores 11 cases of murder motivated by love, lust, jealousy, or revenge. The book is based on a detailed analysis of court documents and newspaper reports and provides a glimpse into the minds and backgrounds of the killers and their victims. The book covers some of the most sensational and shocking crimes of passion in India, such as the Neeraj Grover murder case, the Scarlett Keeling case, the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, and the Shivani Bhatnagar case. The book also examines the failures and successes of the legal system in delivering justice to the victims and their families.

The book is gripping and compelling, keeping the reader hooked till the end. The author has done a commendable job of presenting the facts and circumstances of each case without sensationalizing or passing judgment. The book also raises some important questions about the nature of love, obsession, violence, and morality in our society. The book is not for the faint-hearted, as it contains graphic descriptions of some gruesome crimes. However, this book is a must-read for those interested in true crime stories.

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The book is well-written, well-researched, and offers a balanced and unbiased perspective on each case. The author has also included some photographs and illustrations to enhance the book’s visual appeal. The book is divided into 11 chapters, each focusing on one case. The chapters are short and crisp and can be read independently. The book also has a bibliography and an index for further reference.

Overall, “Crimes of Passion: When Desire Turns Deadly” is a fascinating and informative book that exposes the dark side of human nature and the consequences of unbridled passion. The book is a valuable addition to the genre of true crime literature in India and deserves a wide readership.

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