Resonance: Frequency matches found with Indian readers!
A dying man, a cryptic message and a devilish terrorist plot that the world’s best intelligence agencies try hard to unravel! This fast-paced thriller from Ajay Pandey barely allows you to breathe before catapulting you into the next hairpin bend.
All the elements necessary in a modern espionage-based plot are present in this bold plot that combines science and imagination with a deliciously poised twist in the tale. So how does it start? A dying man calls his wife with his last few breaths and leaves a cryptic message about jihadists having initiated ‘To Pak To’. This is the beginning of a story that traverses various continents and countries before the final denouement. The FBI, the CBI, the IB and the ISI along with terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and LeT are all players in this fast-paced thriller. Yes, there is young love, there are hard-nosed militia men and crack spies who have given a lifetime to the pursuit of their twisted goals. The actual core plot is a physics-based one, based on oscillation of motion, amplitude, frequency and the power of resonance. Yeah, check your class XII textbooks, those of you who have forgotten the basics. Sounds plausible enough to be scary.
‘Resonance’ features a hatched-in-Pakistan terrorist plot that eventually sees the governments of India, Pakistan and the US working together to try and foil it. Sidharth Rana, a Joint Director of the IB, is the smart, young Indian intelligence officer who is put on the case with the incoherent message from a dying AIG and has to make sense of it before catastrophe hits. Helping him are his counterparts at the FBI and other government agencies. Ajay uses the Mumbai Terror attacks and real characters to good effect, mingling them with a small group of fictional characters, each with their personal stories and motivations. He uses fact and fiction, deftly blending both to create intrigue backed by pace. The story unfolds quite well and does so without losing a readers interest. There is a sub-plot of a love story that appropriately crosses the boundaries of country and religion and is pivotal to the story.
All in all, ‘Resonance’ makes for an enjoyable racy read, but I missed a better fleshed out ending. I am one of those who prefer an ending that, well, pretty much spells it out with dotted Is and crossed Ts. This was an ending that while clear, deprived me of a denouement á la classic crime fiction, and I must say I missed that.
Ajay is meanwhile busy at work on his next novel and is happy with the tremendous response his first effort has received. An engineer by education, Ajay works with the Indian Revenue Service and has put his knowledge gained at work of how intelligence agencies function, to good use in this thriller. ‘Resonance’ has already gone in for reprints, no mean feat for a first-timer. A last word about the cover: Resonance has an arresting cover and the half-covered face reminds me of Hrithik Roshan from ‘Mission Kashmir’, the movie. I must commend the designer because I’m quite sure this, too, at least subliminally, played a role in the success of this book!