Get ready to read a brilliant Indian fiction thriller of 2018. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I actually praised an Indian fiction book to such an extent.
The plot of “Pretty Vile Girl” by Rickie Khosla goes like this:
Jazmeen is a classic example of the term “Bollywood bombshell.” Beautiful, talented and wildly sexy, Jazmeen is Bollywood’s most in-demand starlet, and in a relationship with one of the country’s most powerful politicians. Her outrageous candour in interviews and her oomph factor on screen (and off-screen) make her the most popular actress in Bollywood.
How did she reach this point? Jazmeen’s journey to becoming the femme fatale of the country is filled with decisions, decisions that not only impact her life, but even the lives of those who have a remote connection to her majesticness.
The reader follows her journey from her loving family in Haryana to a tragic accident, which leads to her life in an orphanage run by a sadistic matron. She then dares to spread her wings and enter the fringes of the Mumbai, and swoops into the casting couches of Bollywood. With the right/crooked connections, she (quite literally) dances her way to Delhi, and set the stage for an assassination that will bring the entire nation to a standstill.
Rickie Khosla, in his debut novel, crafts a racy, pacey and explosive story about a woman who is willing to do anything to settle scores and get what she wants.
What I liked about this book is that it is an observant reader’s paradise. If you have the habit of reading each and every word written on the page and if you have the knack of devouring every line in a book, this book is a treat. “Pretty Vile Girl” gives you only the concise form of the relevant details of the background of the characters, yet simultaneously manages to give an in-depth description of their emotions too.
And of course, this book really lives up to the expectation of a thriller. Mind-blowing.
Talking about the plot, this book is one that will make pessimists very happy: finally there’s someone who can support their view of the world! The author describes the worst of humanity: the levels they can sink to to get what they want. People playing with each other’s emotions to get the desired results, people blindly trusting someone and then that someone takes advantage of them, using your body as a means to get whatever you want, paying the price for being an innocent child. The injustice of the book and the scheming ways of the characters will darken your perspective for a few days after reading the book. But then, this is Mumbai, and you would be naive to believe otherwise.
Also, fans of the Bollywood movie “Fashion” would love this book.
What I didn’t like about this book is that there are a few inconsistencies in the personalities of the characters. Though his book is an observant reader’s paradise, it is also an observant reader’s doom. There are certain characters in the book which will confuse the reader about their true identity. (I won’t reveal who, because that would be a spoiler. But I’m willing to exchange my thoughts with someone who has read the book and faced the same problem.) So that makes the ending of the book slightly confusing.
I give this book 4/5 stars. Rest assured, this book is a must-read for fans of the genre thriller. However, if intense depictions of murder / sex are not your thing, you may have to reluctantly give the book a miss.
Note: Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a review copy of this book! ❤