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Digital Reads Reviews

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Deja Karma - A Legal Thriller with Unexpected Twists Now

Digital Reads Reviews is a blog haven for book posts and reviews. This is a review of a legal thriller with dual murder mysteries, Deja Karma.
Shalini

Table of Contents

Blurb of Deja Karma

Deja Karma

A TWISTED SEARCH FOR TRUTH.

A MIND PLAYING TRICKS.

AN ELUSIVE JUSTICE.

Jay Singh is the best defence lawyer money can buy. Flamboyant, wicked, lethal, he is yet to lose a case. No matter the prosecutor, he will arm you with an ironclad alibi and deliver a sure-shot win – so what if his methods are unconventional.

But Jay has a dark and ominous past. His father’s murder from twenty years ago is the one case he cannot solve, his mother’s conviction the one truth he cannot accept. When a high-profile murder-accused comes knocking on his door, Jay finds himself embroiled in a case that can destroy him completely. If he loses, he must kiss his career goodbye. If he wins, he better keep his obituary ready.

As his past threatens to catch up with him, what will the undefeated lawyer choose to defend: his sterling reputation or the vicious truth?

I liked it
3.4/5

Publication Date:

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My Review

What was Deja Karma all about

A legal thriller, Deja Karma, had advocate Jay Singh in the forefront, where a convoluted murder case had him going back in time to think about his father’s murder. 

I was kindly gifted the paperback version from Pan Macmillan India, I was beyond overjoyed to get my hands on it. 

The collected interplay of past and present along with the people that peppered Jay’s life gave a curious cast to his life, hidden in shadows. This was a standalone, a book that was first published in 2015 and reprinted by the publisher now, was fun to read. In most parts. 

Having not read too many legal thrillers, read that as no legal thrillers in two years, this was quite spell binding. 

The Hook

Trigger Warnings: I couldn’t think of any while reading it. 

On the other hand, the dual murder mysteries along with the psychoanalysis of Jay’s mind and the explosive twists which I never could have fathomed made me continue reading this book. 

To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations while going into the book, as I didn’t want to be disappointed. This book, I would say, was comme ci, comme ça, with its subtexts pulling me into the book. 

Due to the hooks, the book could be given one thorough read. 

The Characters

Though I have author Vish Dhamija’s earlier book, released last year, I have not yet read it. So many books to read and too little time and all that. In this, Jay Singh was etched carefully, giving him a lot of characteristics. I could understand what made him the lawyer he was and how life molded him and compelled him to make the choices he did. Down the book, I empathized with the teen whose mother was incarcerated for his father’s murder, even though she was innocent. 

But with many repetitions of the same thing in the prose, the dynamism that his character should have projected was lost. Being a legal thriller, I wished there was more of court proceedings shown, a la Perry Mason or even Steve Martini, where Jay Singh could shine and show off his dramatics. That would have made this book apt for global readers and uplifted it to a higher level. 

Nonetheless, I was quite curious about him in the whole book. 

Bhima of Deja Karma

Bhima deserved a special mention on my blog because he was the one who was the special investigator for Jay with his coterie of spies and people who got work done in the shadows. He made even Jay interesting, and his loyalty was so unflinching that even I wanted a Bhima in my life, though I didn’t know what I would do if I found him. Yet, I still maintain he was the shining diamond in this book.  

The Intricacies

This was the most exciting part of the book. The dual murders made me pull out my old, dusty detective hat and enumerate the suspects, not realizing I could be so wrong. 

This book, according to me, should have been plot-driven, but with pages written about Jay Singh, it soon became character-driven. That, in a legal setup, would cause the attention to waver. Never a good thing in a legal thriller. The balance that was so important in a book was somehow lost midway. 

That happened to me too until I went ahead and skimmed through all the repetitive parts and read only the juicy bits which had my suspect list on the forefront. 

The plotline had tremendous potential, all waiting to be tapped. Its cross examination could have been adrenaline filled, but there was hardly any. I wished the true nature of the story was kept hidden, until the book reached a pinnacle and then allowed it to explode all over the readers. In this, I could gauge who the murderer was due to Jay Singh’s ruminations. Luckily, this was kept to the last few chapters, so the story was still interesting. 

The Ending

What route I expected the book to take, the story went on another journey, reverberating with the title of the book and the karma of the characters. I would have liked to see Jay’s brilliance a bit more and his decisions to be well-crafted. But what I got was philosophy. I believe in Karma but had been shown after a good round of interrogation and counterarguments in the courtroom, I would have been overjoyed. 

A legal thriller turned literary fiction was not my favorite style. I wanted adrenaline filled cross-examination along with the earth-shattering reveal of the truths. 

The Setting

In the whole book, I wished there was more atmosphere of a legal setup in the entire book. What was written was good, but it did not invite me to immerse myself into the pages of the book. Being a book written in 2015, it was possible this was an older way of writing. Need to check the newer books. 

The Pace

There was a lot of information told to me about Jay Singh in the book, and I was not convinced if all those lines were needed. I needed to see him in action, not told to me in prose. 

Though I enjoyed his thoughts to some extent, I wanted to see him action more. That would have helped me finish the book in one day, rather than four days. 

The style of writing - The Prose

I would say from the national point of view, the author had done a good job, but within the international style, there needed to be more transformations. Desi was good, but nothing could beat a careful plotting of scenes to bring out both the author’s and the character’s strong points. 

Jay Singh tried too hard and failed in some places. Careful pick-through of scenes would have rocked the book. So much of introspection was not needed. The book could have been carefully scrutinized now that it was republished. Hoping the author did that at some point. 

How Deja Karma made me feel

No doubt, I enjoyed this book primarily because of the basic plotline and a different set up. Set basically in India where different powerplays of the Indian landscape were well-shown. I loved the ruthlessness of Jay Singh that this book started out with. But slowly love and other stuff went on to become his priority. 

There were a few niggles. The book missed out on the ambiance of courtroom drama where every pulse of the arguing lawyers could be felt. Its ending was more philosophical than required. The different fonts and style of writing in the first and third needed a second look, because sometimes it didn’t feel to be his thoughts even when they supposedly were, since being written in first person. 

This book could be further edited to remove all the fillers so that the same things were not repeated using different words. We readers were not idiots; we did remember what was told to us a few pages ahead. 

The secretary of the psychiatrist knowing things far in advance which gave me the feel that the good doc had shared confidential information was a big no-no for me. 

Do I recommend Deja Karma?

Yes. For a single quick read to get to know the identity of the perps of both murders separated by three decades. Just skip over the ruminations and go into it with zero expectations. 

And always remember Deja Karma was set in a developing country with its own culture and way of being. And of course, don’t paint all of us in the same shade. Including myself. 

I had just experienced someone calling me an Indian in a derogatory manner. India is a country I was born in. Have the guts to know me as a human being without wearing your coat of discrimination. 

Check out the other books available on Amazon. 

I downloaded the digital version of the book from an online retail, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.

If you’ve loved the review, buy me a cuppa to perk me up.

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