Spies, Lies, and Red Tape by Amit Bagaria

  • Title : Spies, Lies and Red Tape
  • Author : Amit Bagaria
  • Book Type : Novel
  • Genre : Thriller, Political, Suspense
  • Edition : Kindle eBook
  • Publisher : Notion Press
  • Year of Publication : 2019
  • Number of Pages :

— Blurb of the Book —

The Gang of Six were clinching their fists under the 21-seater oval teak table in the PMO in New Delhi. How could their Prime Minister speak to them like that? How does the Constitution of India allow such people, with just 35 seats out of 543 in the Lok Sabha, to become the PM?

The Indian PM’s aircraft took off from Islamabad Airport at 7:45 am IST and was scheduled to land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi at 9:10 am IST. When the aircraft started deviating from its scheduled route, there was panic at the IGIA air traffic control tower. By 9:15 am IST, the aircraft was seen heading south, when it became out of range of the radars at IGIA. Had the PM’s aircraft been hijacked? Was it headed to Sri Lanka or the Maldives?

The defence minister, external affairs minister and the NSA had accompanied the PM to Islamabad. In their absence, the best men to contact the Indian Air Force Chief were the cabinet secretary or the defence secretary. Both men tried to get hold of him, but to no avail. He was not answering his office or mobile phone. They tried the Vice Chief and got no response either. What in hell was going on?

By 9:45 am IST, Indian Army soldiers in battle gear began arriving in army trucks at North and South Block, and at various other ministry buildings spread across Lutyens’ Delhi. Hundreds of soldiers also arrived at the residences of the union ministers in the 28.7 km Lutyens Bungalow Zone.

At 9:45 pm Pakistan Time, about five hours after the Indian generals had finished the press conference in New Delhi and about two hours after millions had started demonstrating on roads across fifty-plus Indian cities, Prime Minister Irfan Khan chaired a meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Council. A plan of action was framed.

Lady Bookamore‘s Views —

Firstly, I thank the author for giving me an opportunity to review his debut work of fiction in the guise of a political thriller.

Spies, Lies & Red Tape is a kind of novel which would seem like a superb action movie if it is ever adapted for the silver screen. Suspense, mystery cliffhangers, sudden plot twists, and unique characters — this book has almost every element to be an enjoyable thriller read. However, the wit and humour in the book was actually more farcical than I expected.

The first thing I liked about Spies, Lies & Red Tape was the informative nature of the book. Considering the fact that the author had previously published nonfiction works based on politics, intelligence agencies, the military, and so on, Spies, Lies & Red Tape is built on a vast foundation, where the military, politics, law, and the secret service are indispensable for each other. The themes of the plot, therefore, can be viewed as the product of the author’s own experience as a nonfiction writer. The book sports an in-depth research on the various figures who make or break the political, economic, and military status of a country; kudos to the author for that one! Secondly, the structure of the plot has been built exactly in the way a political thriller should be. A conflict, followed by its context, and then the subsequent events which led to the incident, and the resolution. All this is done by crisp snippets of events, which lead to the analysis of the same. A well-crafted plot is, after all, very much appreciated. Thirdly, the language tends to mimic the movement of the storyline, which is actually a good thing. Spies, Lies & Red Tape consists of snippets of incidents which are followed by the narrator’s analysis of the events (like I said before). It is within these analysis that the plot thickens every now and then; and trust me, you will not regret the plot developments which occur throughout the entire book.

However, two things did let down Spies, Lies & Red Tape more than I had imagined. One, the satirical elements employed in the book turned out to be more of slapstick instead of wit. The “witty humour” that we find in most political thrillers was substituted by farcical elements; this was evident in the mockery of famous political figures in the book. Resorting to stereotypes for the sake of inciting belly-laughter is actually burlesque and not humour. Two, the characterisation was not up to the mark. The description of certain characters, especially the female undercover agents, actually seemed like miniature spinoffs from 007-movies. Instead of creating an engaging plot, these two glitches made the storyline a bit too overwhelming and predictable.

Yet, I will appreciate the work done by the author, considering that it is a debut work of fiction. It is with every mistake that we learn about weaknesses, and eventually we are able to overcome them all. I am glad that the author preferred to create a story in an aspect he is professionally acquainted with, and I’m sure he will come up with better stories soon enough. I convey my best regards to the author for his future endeavours.

Lady Bookamore rates this book 💙💙💙.5/5

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