Book Review: ‘The Stolen Necklace’ by Shevlin Sebastian & V.K. Thajudheen

A gripping story of an individual stuck in a dysfunctional system.

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Book Title: The Stolen Necklace
Author: Shevlin Sebastian & V.K. Thajudheen
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-9356296855
Date Published: May 17, 2023
Price: INR 289

The Stolen Necklace by Shevlin Sebastian Book Cover

Book Review

Did you ever think about what you will do when the people who should save and secure your life are more terrifying than those who threaten your life? It’s incredible how obstinate individuals can be, even when incorrect. Even more remarkable is the refusal of those entrusted to uphold justice to change their methods despite being exposed. When they devolve into a legal nightmare, one must accept that our democracy has lost its course.

The Stolen Necklace” is based on the real story of V.K. Thajudheen, who spent 54 days in prison without obtaining any compensation for the mental, emotional, and physical pain he endured. Thajudheen and Shevlin Sebastian, a seasoned journalist who has covered the case since its start, collaborated on the book.

The police in Chakkarakkal, a tiny town in Kerala, wrongfully accused V.K. Thajudheen of stealing a necklace based on a single CCTV screenshot. They are determined to retain him until a bribe is paid. The life of a middle-aged father of three with a freshly married daughter is flipped upside down instantly. He becomes a criminal stuck between shattered egos and unfair techniques.

The readers, in clear language, travel through the protagonist’s difficulties. Uncertainty and loneliness become a prisoner’s permanent companions in Thalassery. Maintaining his humanity in a setting where everyone is viewed as less than human becomes difficult. Days blur together, and memories start to feel less painful. Thajudheen vows to never give up even as hope progressively vanishes, repeating the mantra “Every night ends in the dawn” in his head. The story has emotions, anger, dissent, fear, doubt, and uncertainty. The narration gets into the skin, and for a second, the readers might forget they are reading a book or watching a thriller movie.

The book showcases how sometimes the police falsely arrest innocent individuals while the actual perpetrators go free. The narrative does not end with Thajudheen being found not guilty by the law. The irrevocable harm done by the irresponsible inquiry and ruthless exploitation of the judicial system does not disappear in a matter of days. When a person is convicted, they live the rest of their lives in dread, constantly looking over their shoulder. Everyone deserves justice, but when the institution delivering it is broken, it becomes an unreachable goal for many.

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This poignant tale is not an easy read, but it’s worth your time and makes you think about what you can do when you are framed for something you haven’t done. Author Shevlin shares this in the initial pages of the book. Don’t miss this book!

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