February 18, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Hickory Dickory Shock' by Sundip Gorai

Last heard, my review for this novel was being sent as a blurb for its soon to be launched second print. All the more reason you should read this 'tale of techies'. 
Sundip Gorai's 'Hickory Dickory Shock' is a suspense novel set in the Indian IT industry which is not shown to be exactly as booming as it is thought of. Parts of the story are borrowed from real life scams like the Satyam fiasco and the reader won't have much trouble picking them up. 
The main character of the book is Tuten Chatterjee (or '210' Chatterjee) who finds himself working in Shivam computers post his engineering days. 210 has an uncanny ability of finding patterns in numbers and decoding the most complex of mathematical or technical problems. The entire scenario changes when the nose-poky 210 comes across a mysterious web chat between two aliases- Hickory and Dickory, who seem to be plotting a baleful conspiracy to bring down the organisation. The story though really takes off after the discovery of two murders on the same day, both of which seem impossible to have been committed by anyone. 210 is taken into custody as the solitary clue points towards him and in a scene straight out of the movies, he swears to prove himself innocent and hunt down the murderer(s). 
Apart from 210, the focus of the book is on LoRD, a powerful and versatile software application that can sift through humongous data and identify patterns in it, to discover gaps and false accounting entries. The story shifts gears when this software is stolen from the organisation by an unidentified mask man, right under the very noses of employees handling the department. And that's not all, Raja Reddy, the CEO of Shivam computers plots a major accounting fraud in the name of 'the LoRD' to take in as much personal wealth as possible and also hide his past deeds. But 210 Chatterjee is not the one to give up so easily. Aided by his techie girlfriend, Geeks and clues from cryptic codes absorbed from strange posters in the canteen, 210 sets out to unravel the suspense. 
The book has been written in simple language and is an easy read. At no point, do you feel the accounting or technical jargon hitting you in the face. Mr. Gorai does have a good sense of wit and wisdom as he cleverly makes use of one-liners and situations in the novel to inject humour in this otherwise 'edge-of-the-seat' read. Research also has played a vital role in the story, going by the cryptic codes and facts laid out in the book. Good suspense novels from Indian writers are a rare treat and I am glad I picked up this one. Nicely narrated through an alternate time sequence that could be confusing for a few if they don't check the year of the events taking place, I give this well-written novel a 4.2/5 :)

Buy it from Flipkart



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