Book Review of Betrayals and Paybacks by Ankita Arora

Review by Book blogger Ankita Arora

Betrayals and Paybacks
Author: Sana Shetty
Publisher: Write India

My rating: 3.75/5

Betrayals and paybacks is a story of Vedant Birajdar, his friends Misha Varma and Jay Varma, his brother Tarun, and their village Tamara. Very much like the title, it has elements of betrayal, young love, conspiracy, family ties, the undying bond of friendship, trust and the ultimate payback.

The story starts with Vedant receiving numerous calls and voice messages from his childhood friend Jay, who warns him to be safe and return to Tamara, which he left or fled from (more appropriate given the circumstances) 8 years ago and never went back. They had promised each other to never meet again or stay in touch after a wild night turned disastrous. That call left Ved with memories and a thought: What must have happened that made Jay break their promise?
He pondered over the thought of calling Jay’s sister Misha, whom he had a history with, re-thinking that she might not talk to him. Restless he finally made the call only to hear the worst news, his friend Jay has committed suicide the day he received those messages from him.

He could never believe his best friend doing such a thing. Jay also mentioned that Ved’s brother, Tarun, is in danger as well and requested Ved to return for his safety as he might not be alive by then. His last message to Ved was the only clue he had, to go on with: “A silent voice speaks a thousand words. All you have to do is listen, please; just listen to what he is saying. May krishna guide you.”

Guilt-stricken, Ved decides to go back and find out the truth. Little did he know, he is walking right into the devil’s trap and a multitude of secrets revealed to him in the worst way, about his brother, his parents, their village which they once considered their safe haven, and about that horrendous night which made their lives as is. What follows is a well-sewen series of attacks, deaths, heartbreak, trust, and a basic question: What is at the center of it all?

– I loved the setting of the story, the mix of genres it has from crime to mystery, to a bit of romance and the ultimate thrill combining all.
– A definite plus was how the author revealed every little detail at the very right moment, which kept the pace of the storyline on point.
– When Ishan and Amma are introduced in the story towards the ending, you could predict that they had some role in the final blow, but not the exact twist, which keeps you hooked.
– The tension between Misha and Ved was the right amount, neither underplayed nor exaggerated.
– The character of Raunak brought the stability to Misha which she so needed. You always need a straight-headed, trustworthy person in a story to be the spine and stand out.
– The revelation of The Birajdars, first by Tarun and later by Amma, was a smooth move and very interesting to the story.
– The supporting characters in the story added the much-required thrill to it all. From Dinuanna to Sebi Chacha, Pankaj, Namita, Divya and the Ghost in the dungeons.

It is a very well written screenplay. One could easily imagine the events happening on a big screen. The author has cleverly placed details to make the story worth a read. It keeps you engrossed, wanting for more. And, the ending gives you satisfaction and closure.

I recommend.
Kudos to the author for her debut novel.