“The Newsroom Mafia” is the debut novel of Oswald Pereira, a journalist with over thirty years of experience. Published by the Grey Oak – Westland combine, it was one of the most recently awaited novels off late. A racy crime thriller which promised to expose the unholy nexus between police, politicians, underworld and the press, the book garnered quite some interesting previews. Does it work?
The blurb goes like this –
When Supercop Donald Fernandez declares an all – out war against the invincible Don, Narayan Swamy, he fights back with a formidable Mafia – a private army of armed thugs and a motley gang of corrupt police officers, backed by powerful politicians. What follows is a battle of raw power, sleaze, wits and dirty tactics by both the law breakers and the law enforcers, blurring boundaries between good and evil. To save his skin, the Don fires his most lethal weapon, the Newsroom Mafia.
As has been the case with their other publications, the aesthetics, design, page quality and font of the book is visually appealing. One feels compelled to turn the pages and read what the author has to offer.
The story is engaging from the word “Go”. Being a journalist himself, Oswald knows his subject in and out. Planted news, the unholy nexus between the police, the political class and the fourth estate – the press, the murky dealings in the world of media, the support of underworld by politicians and much more makes the book an engrossing read. The author seems to have mixed reality with fiction so much so that you don’t know what is real and what has been fictionalized. Readers who don’t know the way the media industry works would be shocked at the total lack of ethical and moral standards today.
The narrative is pacy and keeps you hooked right through. At some places, the goings – on remind you of daily news you see on television or read in the newspapers while at others you associate the character ‘Don’ with ‘Godfather’ who tries to balance his dose of bad deeds with good ones.
The only negative I could find was the fact that the proceedings get a bit too Bollywoodish at times. Whether its the depiction of the Don, the Supercop, the cunning politicians – things seem a bit cliche. But then not many books have been written on such stuff. And that’s where the book scores.
All the characters seem life – like. Donald Fernandez is efficient as the supercop who goes to any length to hunt the Don. Narayan Swamy is efficient as the Don. He is capable of making the political, media and the police bigwigs dance to his tunes. And he so effortlessly blends his wrong doings with his work for the society in the name of charity that you are stunned. Then there are his media voices and advisors like Sudhakar, Manian, Surendra, Stella etc. who make him like a demi – god. Conniving politicians, some other news hungry reporters, scheming policemen and the Don’s henchmen complete the character list.
If you are the one looking out for crime thrillers, go for this one!
Rating – 4/5