The Hyena’s Laughter! LOVE ON THE ROCKS by Ismita Tandon Dhanker
It wasn’t that I wasn’t forewarned about the chilling story. The blurb clearly warned about murder, lies, suspense and suspicious meat lockers. But being the eternal happy-go-lucky optimist that I am, I really didn’t expect to get embroiled in ‘Murder on the High Seas!’
What makes the novel keep going nay, surging ahead amidst stormy waves and emotion is the distinct style of writing adopted by the author Ismita. With each chapter being a narrative of a different character, the reader not only gets to understand what a character is thinking, he/she is also aided in pursuing the mystery of Love on the Rocks from different interesting angles.
Ismita has done well in weaving life on sea with that of the protagonist Sancha, a 6 month old married careless-carefree pretty woman. In fact, the Prologue hits you with a bang, something like a big chunk of raw meat thrown suddenly at you, catching you unawares! And, you realize that inspite of it all you want more of it simply because herein lie the clues to understanding of the novel, set amidst the sea-faring atmosphere.
But then, just as Sancha can be considered protagonist, Manna aka Ryan aka Aaron is hero too as it is he who sets the story in motion – of child abuse, of a want for parental novel which is brutally denied, of the dark side of life that lies dormant in each one of us with only the degree varying.
“Life has a cruel streak beneath the smiling facade and though miracles happen, more often than not, they are a prelude to God’s sinister plans for you.”
Sancha’s adventures on board the ship Sea Hyena, being the only woman amidst male crew members who are thirsting for some pretty distraction (being deprived as they are of family and sex) is very nicely portrayed through the interesting characters. It is a wonder then how Sancha is unperturbed by lurking danger lost as she is in newly married romantic love and a zest for life that is truly infectious!
I must admit that had I not read this well plotted novel about life on the high seas I would have been very much ignorant about the Navy (the shippies) as the author endearingly calls it.
“Back in my cabin I wondered if deceit was the only universal truth…I thought that funny, sailors and saints? Never! They were a different breed of men from the ones you encountered in your normal course of life. A breed that was large-hearted in many respects, eccentric but also flawed.”
For all those readers wanting a whiff of life on the seas, drinks, dance, danger, flaws and all; this book is definitely a must read. With a host of four letter words thrown in, the novel depicts this romantic thriller realistically. As for ‘faith,’ that’s something we all run short of sometime or the other…
In the lines of the author:
“The lies we live,
The truth we hide,
The love we rail,
The dreams we sell cheap,
The faith that never takes off.”
Thank you so very much for a wonderful review! I was delighted to read it and how very enterprising of you to quote from the book.
Thank you so very much!
Ismita Tandon Dhankher