Bombay Fever – By Sidin Vadukut

Do you know of Twitter? If yes, then you know Sidin.

And if you are also a reader, you will know he has written a few books and has pretty much mastered the genre of office humor &  new ways of re- telling Indian history.

Bombay Fever is his new book, a medical thriller.  Any thriller has to have some qualities – pace, plot, and writing to name a few.

Bombay Fever delivers all these goodies in a very short and sweet manner.

The book starts off in Switzerland. Hormazd Patel is a journalist and is visiting Geneva for work. He happens to misplace his iPad which is found by Kanimozhi Balasingham and she meets him to return it. The next day, Hormazd sees Kanimozhi in a temple, and within a few minutes, Kanimozhi collapses. Hormazd reaches her and watches her as she bleeds to death through her mouth, ears, nose and rectum. This is the final stage of Bombay Fever – ‘The Meltdown’. Hormazd becomes a host to the pathogen and he brings it with him to Bombay, where Bombay Fever ends up killing more people than can be imagined.

Of course, as with any incident that claims lives, everyone points fingers at someone. And who is better than a politician to do this, a species that is the best at playing the blame game. Bombay Fever is a medical thriller, but there is politics involved in it as well.

Sidin Vadukut’s first venture into this genre is interesting one. Medical thrillers are many, and if you have read a few you will know that these books come with terminology and references to things that are beyond a layman’s understanding, at least mine. Somehow, Sidin Vadukut has managed to not bring such heavy jargon into Bombay Fever. In fact, Vadukut has managed to keep the language plain and simple, yet managed to make people squirm squeamishly. The amount of research that has gone into this book is another plus for Bombay Fever. Even Indira Gandhi features in the book, and we are given a glimpse into the workings of intelligence agencies and the inner workings of the government at times. Every little medical and biological research is impressive. Insight into past outbreaks that have caused deaths, how organisms and diseases work, these are well researched and very well written in Bombay Fever.

But most impressive is the imaginative process. Vadukut’s Beta Protocol is something that is entirely possible or perhaps exists in reality by some other name. Coming up with the Beta Protocol, and its actual rules & regulations (for lack of better terms) must have taken some thought. And it has helped Bombay Fever in keeping the reader engrossed. But the best imaginative creations were the female Chief Minister and very young Prime Minister. I figure no one from a certain species has read this book because no one has taken offence to them…Yet.

Overall, Bombay Fever keeps you interested.

Keeping the chapters short helped.  I usually think ‘I will finish so many chapters for today’, but short chapters kept me reading through the book !

The whole book is littered with little incidents that actually give you a tiny clue as to what happens, but it also raises some questions. ‘What happens to these people?’, ‘Does the entire population of Bombay get wiped out?’, ‘Who saves the day?’ there are so many questions that Bombay Fever gets you hooked on to it.

No, that doesn’t sound right… Somehow Bombay Fever manages to entice you to keep reading with a delirious enthusiasm… Now it’s much better.Anyway, I would definitely recommend Sidin Vadukut’s Bombay Fever! Go read.

Reviewed by : Jayasree Bhargavan

Author(s): Sidin Vadakut
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release: Sept 2017
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
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A consultant, and volunteer currently living in Chennai, India. My interests range from photography to reading. I am also interested in music, technology, and writing.

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