Published:  12:50 AM, 08 October 2017

Discovering a detective novel...

Discovering a detective novel... Nikhojkabbo by Salman Haque, Publisher - Batighar Prakashani in February 2017

Ishrat Binte Aftab is amazed by the writer's strong grasp in twisted story making and conserving suspense consistently.

As a part of growing up, we all dove into the dreadful world of detective stories, to adorn our imaginary world, to conciliate our little mischievous mind. Unfortunately, our childhood thirst was mostly filled by English or translated novels. It is quite indubitable that apart from Feluda's great detective novels, we do not have other detective stories in Bengali. In the literary hub of Bangladesh, no matter how rich it is in terms of other genres, detective stories sector are always in deficit.

To fill that void, some contemporary writers have come up with our very own Bengali detective stories. In that procession of change, Salman Haque Dhrubo has enlisted his name with great success. After huge acceptance of his translation works, he has published his debut detective novel 'Nikhojkabbo' from 'Batighar' in February 2017.

The story sets it plot in a peaceful village of Ratanpur. But, within the interval of three days, three girls gets missing. Police administration falls into crucial position, gets criticized from higher authority. As they could not solve the issue by themselves, special branch officer Nabid Al Niyaz is sent to Ratanpur. Also, he has been quite a failure to the higher authority because of his impulsive nature.

Therefore, this case was basically the last hope for him. After coming to Ratanpur, Nabid has realized the situation is more intricate than it seems and also, due to lack of essential evidences the case turns out more complicated. Just after his arrival, two dead bodies are found and undoubtedly it's those two girls. The scenario seems like the murderer has been waiting the detective to come. Apparently, a serial killer was the first guess, but as Nabid dug deeper, different strings of evidence was brought to light. Anyways, let's not put the whole story in a nutshell. Let's keep the suspense of intact for the readers.

The first and foremost quality of a thriller novel is being suspenseful. In that evaluation scale, 'Nikhojkabbo' will get a good mark forsooth. Even for an academic write up, a hook or grabber is very important to make it alluring and exclusive. Simply put, grabber is the magnet of a write up and unlike other contemporary literary content, this is most important for detective novels. Salman, in his debut novel has successfully put a short introduction that will drag the reader like light captivates moths. As a reader of translated detective novel, we have the idea how much essence of literature can be lost in translation.

However, 'Nikhojakabbo' is indisputably free of that problem-spontaneity is its strongest element. This is a fast-paced thriller where the characters reveal themselves with time. The writer has kept an arduous effort to keep the course of the story consistent. Another mentionable fact is the detailing that Salman has used to portray the whole situation more vividly. By the same token, he did not miss any explanation of expressions, especially during interrogation which is pretty much the main clue for solving a case. Then again, this novel can be delineated as the bridge where humor meets harshness-the conglomerate has been a good part of the novel. Usually, flashbacks are hard to inclue in, but Salman has done that with his crackerjack style.

However, because of flashbacks, the story division seems abrupt sometimes and transition of scenes becomes unsmooth. Then again, the background story of Nabid remains a bit vague from my viewpoint. Inclusion of IT facilities, using computer encryption algorithms and network security system in the crime solve process gives the novel a modern essence and also, it reveals the young mind of the writer. Readers with the knack for thriller stories will love the book wholeheartedly.

As a Bengali writer, choosing thriller genre is assuredly a crucial choice. First of all, our readers have already tasted the international classic thrillers. Thereupon, not only the expectation is on the peak but also the competition is excruciating. Howbeit, in that litmus test, Salman has passed with flying colors. As a first novel there certainly had some flaws but that is pretty much invisible. Indisputably, it's a fascinating and absorbing thriller -- perfect for technology buffs, conspiracy nuts, puzzle lovers or anyone who relish a riveting story.

The reviewer is schooling with BRAC University and she can be reached at

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