Review of The Prisoner by Omar S. Hamid

In recent years, Pakistani writers like Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie have been making headlines for their recent works which have been praised by critics and readers alike.Omar Shaid Hamid, a former policeman, is a welcome addition.He has served the Karachi Police for 12 years during which he was targeted by various criminal outfits.Who else would one expect to tell the story of Karachi in a brilliant manner other than a former policeman. Karachi is a hub of power inhabited by millions of people.It is said that power flows like a river and in a city like Karachi everyone wants a taste of power just to survive another day in the metropolitan.

The setting of the novel is quite interesting.An American journalist, visiting some friends in a posh locality of Karachi is kidnapped and the whole state machinery is clueless and dumbfounded by the event.On top of that, the kidnapping puts a question mark on the credibility and influence of the Pakistani people who the US thinks of as their close allies and assets.The kidnappers announce to execute the journalist on Christmas Day and they don’t put forward any demands or conditions; they only want to send a message, a bloody one.Everyone is ready to put all at stake but the problem is they are hitting dead ends again and again and again.These circumstances compel the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to use every means necessary for recovering the journalist even if it means crossing the limits.

The protagonist of the story is Constable D’Souza Constantine.It is through his eyes that we watch the story unfold in a quick and fiery manner.We see how he unexpectedly becomes the the focus of attention and action quite suddenly.

I loved the pace of the book.It keeps you glued to the pages and lets you savor every scene.It offers a deep understanding of the functioning, corruption,and the problems of Karachi Police; the social structure of Karachi and how some political and religious parties distribute and cultivate power through violence, influence and politics.If you want an insiders’ perspective about Karachi, this story will give you that in the guise of fiction and humor.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrilling crime novel.

Rated: 5/5

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