Book Review -Manja Veyil Maranangal (Yellow Lights of Death) By Benyamin

KindleandKompass Rating : 4.5/5

Genre : Suspense Thriller

Author : Benyamin (Benny Daniel)

Language : Malayalam/English

If you have read “Goat Days”(English translation of the Malayalam original “Aadujeevitham”) which bagged the Kerala Literary Academy Award of 2009, there is no real introduction to this famous author required. Benny Daniel, who goes by the pen name Benyamin has ever since been a household name and a prominent writer when it comes to discussions surrounding stories that etch a space in your soul and linger in your memory for a long time. I did have a few disappointing stints with reading Benyamin after the initial “Goat Days” and wasn’t sure of how this book would be when a friend gifted it and found excuses to send it down my reading shelf. Finally when I got to it,  it broke all my expectations and became a simple no-put-downer until the finish line!

The story kicks off when the real life author Benyamin begins to receive manuscripts to an autobiography written by an anonymous writer who throws a bit of a story line that sends the author and his bunch of literary friends travel across various locations trying to find the clues from the initial manuscript that would lead them to the person holding the successive manuscripts. The main characters are based on an island called Diego Garcia that has close ties with the Indian mainland. While the story weaves back and forth between Diego Garcia and South India, the author and his friends try to piece together the life of Christy Anthraper and his friends and family from the many manuscripts they collect. They get involved in the real life man hunt searching for the whereabouts of Christy and the mystery surrounding his the incidents that happened around him.

Christy Anthrapper, who claims to be a struggling author, chooses Benyamin, the much famed author to send a portion of his manuscript to with his autobiography filled with intrigue and suspense. With every page, the author has managed to instill the same suspense and desire in every readers mind to uncover more about the mysterious protagonist Christy. While the initial part of the story follows the murder of Christy’s friend, it takes an emotional turn while portraying the love and loss of Melvin. Soon enough the plot takes a dark twist when Christy reaches the much fabled Udayamperur following Melvins death and gets involved with the family that has a history of ancient dark practices called the “Mariam Seva”. Following the breadcrumbs scattered by Christy, the author and his friends are sent on a wild goose chase trying to decode the disappearance of Christy and his family and the mysterious murders that happened around him culminating in his own disappearance.

The Verdict: A Must Read

The gripping, suspense packed story line is certain to hold every readers attention. Every chapter ends with additional suspense and the story never loses the pace. There are moments of love, sorrow, loss, action, mystery and darkness that leaves the reader craving for more, and turn the pages anticipating answers. The story however ends leaving a lot of questions unanswered in the readers mind, the prime one being, was Christy Antraper a real or fictional character, what really happened to Melvin, who was really behind the murder of Christy’s classmate and what finally happened to Christy and his family. While Christy and his story continues to haunt me with these questions days after finishing the book, I am not yet done researching for more information on the much fabled ancient Christian practice of “Mariam Seva” – Myth or real – only time will tell.

PS : Kindleandkompass read the original copy in Malayalam but we have friends who vouch for the English translation “Yellow Lights of Death” which is claimed to be as good as the original.  So grab your copy and read this great piece of writing.

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