Book Review: ‘The Black Orphan’ by S. Hussain Zaidi

Uncover intrigue in Mumbai's underworld with 'The Black Orphan'

Book Title: The Black Orphan
Author: S. Hussain Zaidi
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 248
ISBN: 978-9354899973
Date Published: May 8, 2024
Price: INR 258

The Black Orphan by S. Hussain Zaidi

Book Review

S. Hussain Zaidi’s new book, “The Black Orphan” is a gripping story that expertly mixes fiction with real-life occurrences. Set in Mumbai, the plot follows DIG Ajay Rajvardhan of the National Investigation Agency as he falls involved with the intriguing lawyer Asiya Khan. Despite being on different sides of the law, their paths cross amid terrorism, fraud, and a series of murders targeting India’s top nuclear experts. As Ajay, Deputy Commissioner Sagar Pratap, and Commissioner Neeraj Kumar race against the clock to find the mastermind behind these crimes, Zaidi weaves a fascinating and thought-provoking story.

The author expertly combines aspects from Operation Neptune Spear, imbuing the plot with reality and creating a tone for intrigue from the start. The tale progresses in a chronological manner, with flashbacks that provide complexity to the story. Through rigorous attention to detail, Zaidi delves into the inner workings of intelligence services, shedding light on the complexity of modern espionage. Drawing on real-life occurrences, he deftly weaves known names and locations into the fabric of the plot, giving it a feeling of immediacy and relevance.

The characters in “The Black Orphan” are what drive the story. Ajay Rajvardhan is a complex protagonist who struggles with moral quandaries and internal difficulties as he navigates a dangerous world of crime and treachery. Asiya Khan emerges as a strong opponent, with her unyielding commitment to justice acting as a catalyst for both romance and suspense. Zaidi avoids superfluous exposition, allowing the characters’ actions and motives to propel the tale forward, resulting in a story that is both tight and engaging.

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The Black Orphan” presents a familiar plot with fresh twists that grip readers throughout. While elements like the use of AI and intricate espionage networks add depth and suspense, certain aspects like Ajay and Asiya’s romance may feel predictable. Despite this, the thriller culminates in a satisfying conclusion, though lacking the expected intensity. Overall, S. Hussain Zaidi’s adept storytelling shines through, blending real-life events with compelling characters and thrilling suspense. This captivating tale of love, fear, and vengeance will resonate with fans of spy thrillers and crime fiction alike.

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