Reading crime fiction has been a favourite pastime for me in the years that have passed like an arrow out of Gandiva, the miraculous bow owned by Arjuna, the Mahabharata hero. However, the journey has been one that’s filled with highs and lows and I have encounter the pieces of literature that are marvellous and also the ones that are just mediocre or even below that level. Recently, I have read a book by Niraj Sharma, an Indian author from Canada who has cared enough for the Indian readers to provide the Indian edition of a book originally published in Canada – The Penthouse. This novel is rather a story that mostly concerns with one single character, Vito Ricci, of Italian origin. His life, his struggles and his ambitious rise to the position and wealth he always dreamt.
“Vito’s face lit up with glee as knew this time Alonzo now meant business and the boys could start selling the white powder under the table it seemed.”
So, the blurb suggests that Vito and Michael enter into the world of narcotics and gradually, after proving their skills in Italy, the crime lords send these two guys with a team to expand their narcotics trade in the USA. Suffering from an ambitious zeal to become rich and lead a luxurious life, Vito finds this opportunity ripe and enters the scene with an emphatic self-confidence and lashes whips on his horses of trade in the new world. He does fairly and the business is expanded in the proper duration. However, the novelist also suggests, between the lines, that anything that begins with a bad intention may not end with the good result all the time. Vito also understands this and his mental well-being suffers time to time thinking about the compromises he made to reach where he was.
The plot also consists of Alicia, Vito’s girlfriend and eventually his wife. However, the good that begins on the foundations of lies cannot be so high. When Vito is arrested because of possession of a large quantity of cocaine with an intent to distribute it, he is arrested by the FBI and Alicia feels very uncomfortable after knowing the truth that Vito is no real estate developer but a drug lord and in a bad company. This feels very down to her and the relationship comes under an infallible pressure that almost stops the last hole which allowed oxygen for deep breaths.
Towards the end of the novel, the readers will have violence, revelations, and promises for the future. This novel is not the best that it could be but certainly the best way it could be written. Though the narrative may seem boring at the beginning and maybe wayward as well, but as it moves deeper into the plot, the readers will begin to like the characters they want and the novel will unfold into the world of uncertain events and a metaphorical symbol of prosperity and wealth, The Penthouse.
To conclude my review of this novel, I will say that The Penthouse by Niraj Sharma is a crime fiction piece that satisfies the readers with its conclusion and drags them throughout the novel with heights of the narrative that are scattered in patches rather than colouring the whole narrative altogether. It is a worthy read and a time worth spent if you are patient enough to reach the conclusion and understand what transpires that an ambitious person ready to do anything understands he erred and moves towards redemption within one life!
You can buy a copy of this novel from Amazon India by clicking the link below:
Review by Rajesh for Egoistic Readers