PLOT: 3.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3.5/5 WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5 CLIMAX: 3.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
Divided into 22 chapters, Lies Look Like Love is a suspense-filled thriller whose unpredictability is its unique selling point. This dynamic story, full of twists and turns, catches the reader’s attention and keeps them on edge.
This brings a freshness to the storyline that has a dark aspect to it, which is reflective of the tension and conflict created in the plot to attain a high level of suspense, horror, and terror. The effect is one of shock and surprise that sends chills down the reader’s spine.
Set in an isolated villa in a deserted location, the eerie atmosphere, in which the entire plot is set, is the first prompt to ensure a serious text that revolves around the dark and the deadly.
The book begins with the central character Maya reminiscing the habits and behaviour of her dead husband Ansh who loved reading. When she is visited by a scientist and bachelor Ravi who is seeking a place to live as a tenant, she immediately agrees to allow him to reside in the villa, as she needs the money and some company too.
To her surprise, Ravi has a similarity to her dead husband Ansh. They both can taste the rainwater collected into a cup of tea and tell the mood of the rain. Over time, this landlady and tenant’s relationship blossoms and they become good friends, though Maya has more affection for Ravi than he does for her. Secretly, she is in love with him.
However, the story is very different on Ravi’s part. The more he gets to know about Maya, the more he is creeped out by her and the fact that she is quite secretive about her personal details and has three sisters who barely come out of their room.
It is at this point that the plot gets intense, terrifying, and thoroughly gripping. The twists and turns are gradual. There is no sense of abrupt ending or jumping from one aspect to another. It is this smooth transitioning from one scene to another, and the beautiful manner in which issues are blended, that makes for a wholesome, though spine-chilling read.
All through, it is hard to tell who is the real culprit, who has wronged whom, and why things are the way they are.
It may seem slightly confusing at some points but each chapter raises a lot of issues, concerns, and questions that the attentive reader is bound to make note of. Most chapters end with this note of suspense, thrill, and terror that is not meant for the faint-hearted. Yet, there is a lot more than what meets the eye.
It is this deceptiveness of themes, the characters, particularly Maya, and the issues that run through the plot, that becomes hard to overlook. As the protagonist, Maya initially appears to be a damsel in distress, a widow who has lost a lot, yet her secretive behaviour, and the creepiness of the people that she is associated with, add to the gothic atmosphere of the narrative.
As a foil character, Ravi’s initial openness turns sour as he realises that Maya is full of secrets that are dark and not easily decipherable. While this intrigues him to some extent, it creeps him out greatly. The other minor characters are given a good amount of space to develop while the dead character Ansh is allowed a lot of room in terms of being a major part of Maya’s memory and imagination.
The lucid writing style makes for an entertaining read. Lies Look Like Love will definitely be enjoyed by lovers of thrillers, suspense novels, contemporary gothic fiction, and fiction lovers in general.
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