How far can you walk for name and fame while wearing the Shoes of the Dead?

India as a developing nation has a variety of problems to cope with. But none is greater and more dangerous than farmers killing themselves over the grief of not being able to pay the loans acquired by them. With this premise in mind, Kota Neelima begins the tale of Shoes of the Dead. A story that focuses to dwell deep into the perils of the Indian farmers who have to struggle every day to grow the food that keeps this nation alive.

From the first line itself, the author, Kota Neelima, sets in the exact mood that would make you care about the cause of the book. The story starts with Keyur Kashinath, son of the famous Vasihnav Kashinath, trying to understand the situation of his constituency as he keeps hearing about the problems that just won’t go away. Coming to power as a newly elected MP from the poverty stricken village of Mityala, Keyur’s informal meeting to figure out reasons why farmers are committing suicide sets the tone of the book.

As the story progresses we learn how deep the problem is. Keyur’s character comes out well as a newly elected MP as he makes mistakes due to his arrogance. These mistakes get escalated when the journalist, Nazar Prabhakar, learns how deep the political conspiracy is to silence the true number of farmer’s suicide as it tarnishes the name of Keyur.

Following a lead from one of the associates of Keyur, Nazar tries to help one of the strongest characters in the book, Gangiri Bhadra.

Gangiri Bhadra’s character is fascinating to read as you get to know how much a person can suffer to make something right that has gone terribly wrong. As you read, you get to know how Gangiri’s lifestyle in the city takes a violent 360 degree turn when he gets to know about his brother’s death. The chapter where you learn how he helps farm widows get the justice they deserve is amazing to read.
The story also focuses on the bad guys such as Durga Das and Lambodar Maha Sarpanch. The motives behind Durga Das trying to capitalize on farmer’s death is traditionally clique, but Lambodar’s reasons to nullify as many farmer suicides as possible is as shocking as it can get.

The research done by Neelima is very good as you get to know how farmers struggle to turn the brown of the mud into the lively green of the nature. Some of the aspects of Keyur’s character could have been written better as he makes mistakes that no son whose father has been a cunning politician for more than 30 years should make.

hoes of the Dead starts out strong, but is riddled with uneven storytelling that keeps jumping from one aspect of storytelling to another. Like how after Gangiri makes a big splash by becoming the member of the suicide committee it’s explained how he gains trust of the other members. I felt that part should have been explained before the author makes him seem like such a menace to Keyur.

All in all, it’s a good attempt on part of Neelima as she explains the perils of farmers striving every day to provide food for this great nation of India. I will give 3.5 stars for the solid writing that sometimes surprises you and makes you really care about the situation endured by the life givers of our nation.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Believe in a new India with Resurgent India Patriots


When I first got to know about the book, it seemed intense. I had been reading YA and a couple of other police thrillers lately and when I saw this book on blogadda for review, I wanted to get my hands on the book as soon as possible. The cover art of the book is a little cluttered, but also beautiful to look at. As soon as I opened the first pages of the book, I got even more excited. Mukul Deva, in his author’s note, tells us about how this book was born out of extreme anger and shame. I was expecting an intense and dramatic view of corrupt India and how Resurgent India Patriots or RIP would set things straight by instilling fear in the hearts of the politicians. And that is exactly what I got, only the power with which the novel starts loses steam along the way and when it finally reaches the end, you feel the ride could have been a bit better.

As I said the story starts really good. Colonel Krishna Athawale has a close knit group of friends from his time served in the Indian Army with the 19th Para Commando Special Forces unit. Each one in the team has names starting from K and so they call themselves the K-Team. Their bond is stronger than blood and they are ready to give life to their nation, even if they have retired. The latter is the reason why they embark on a dangerous quest of killing corrupt politicians if they don’t stop milking the country for all its worth.

Colonel Krishna Athawale has a plan and that plan will take him and his team all over India as he tries to get rid of the termites that are destroying our country. The story moves at a steady pace, revealing key plot points that affect a variety of characters throughout the book. The action is good, but the story as I said earlier lacks steam. Some of the characters in the book are like Madame Tussauds wax models of our real life politicians. There was nothing new or intriguing about them. Each and every one was more stupid than the other. But that doesn't mean there aren't good characters too.

Raghav Bhagat, also an ex-19th Para Commando is a really good character. As you read about him you get to know why he is the way he is and that leads you to Reena Bhagat, his wife. I felt bad for Reena. She could have been an excellent character in the book, but ends up as a TV journalist who just does her job. Even those job moments are less and in far between.

The book also tries to show how family life gets affected with the decisions made by their parents. Things which one seems are good can end up backfiring in a really bad way. The children in the book could also have played an important part, but they end up as candy coated bubble gum which you must chew to move on in the book. The climax is not as surprising as you want it to be. If you’ve read international authors such as Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, you will be disappointed because the pay off part just doesn’t have that punch which you are looking for. However, I loved the research in the book. That can be because I haven’t touched political thrillers in a long time, but overall I loved the weapons knowledge and how carefully each mission was planned by the team.

If you hate politicians and want to see them drop dead like flies, pick up this book and you will enjoy it because the mission planning and execution is really good. 1 more elements that I didn’t like in the novel were that throughout the novel the author uses same words to explain the same ideas or emotions. I found that annoying at times. He could have written it differently to convey the same message, but didn’t. However, I liked the book. It was very good at times, but bad at times too. So, I will settle for 4 stars out of 5. Yes I complained a lot, but if you like action packed moments where carefully planned military operations help the good guys win, you will not be disappointed.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!