A man who makes passionate love with naïve women and then kills them by giving away cyanide in the guise of contraceptive pills, a pimp who goes into a killing spree and burns alive women in the fit of rage, a woman who kills in a row by manipulating the minds of women in personal agony in the name of faith, an ex-army man who mindlessly kills children of migrants in a fit of revenge, a tender 8-year-old who kills his own sister and cousins ruthlessly. These are some of the unbelievably notorious serial killers, whose accounts one would find in Anirban Bhattacharya’s gripping non-fiction novel – The Deadly Dozen.
The author points outright in the beginning, ‘what is it that attracts us to the heinous crime committed by a serial killer?’ As a reader, I agree that it’s a mix of many factors that makes us inclined towards knowing about them.
Each story in the book is narrated in great detail and is dramatically depicted, making it for a gripping read. The dedicated research that has gone into each of these accounts is noticeable. Bhattacharya being a co-creator and producer of ‘Savdhaan India’ a prime time TV show on the crime scene in India, has brought in all the necessary elements, data and backgrounds to the story.
In ‘Beer Man’, the author gives us an account of Ravindra or Abdul (after conversion to Islam) who seemed to be a killer of people who lived on the streets of Marine Lines. In a strange course of events, he would first inebriate his victims (mostly men) with beer, sexually assault them and then kill them. Beside every dead body, there would be found a can of beer, hence giving the serial killer the moniker of ‘beer man’.
‘Cyanide Mallika’ or K.D. Kempamma’s story is also equally chilling. Mallika would hunt for women who looked sad and depressed, talk to them kindly and promise them to solve their issues by offering a prayer to a very revered temple (with changed with every victim). She would take her victim to a different place, asked her to wear the best jewelry (to get the best results out of the ritual) and the end of the Puja instruct them to take the holy water. This holy water would be cyanide and the victim would perish minutes after consuming it. Her modus operandi gave her the moniker ‘Cyanide Mallika’.
Why would a person kill another human being like this? is the killer a human at all then? How come the society begets such beasts? Though each case is different, however they all seem to have an unthinkable taste for blood, violence and bestial pleasure.
Though all the cases are equally chilling, however, as a reader the account of the beastly killing capacity of an 8-year-old made me sit up from my sofa while reading his details and left me in utter disgust and a sort of fear.
When inspector Shatrughan Kumar, officer in charge of Bhagalpur Police station sat opposite the 8-year-old, who had been arrested for the murder of three infants, Kumar’s head was wrapped in a fog of disbelief.
When Amardeep was 7 years old, his aunt came to their place and left her 6-month old baby with them, as she had to go to Patna for a job she got there, saying she would come back after 1 month and take her baby. When Parul, Amardeep’s mother went to the market, he went to the infant and started pinching it, the more the baby would cry, the more pleasure he would derive. He put his hands on the infant’s throat and throttled him. after killing the baby, Amardeep would go to the paddy field and bury him. 8 months after this horrid incident, Amardeep strangled his own sister (few months old) and quietly went and buried her as well. When asked by his wailing and shocked parents as to why he killed his sister, he said calmly, “just like that”.
Amardeep an 8-year-old child committed his 3rd crime by killing a girl (younger than him). when asked how he killed her, he said, “Khapda se mar mar ke suta deliyay” (I made her lie down in the grass and smashed her head with a stone).
With dark, horrid and spine chilling accounts of serial killers, this book doesn’t give you any rosy picture of the world outside, it brings to the fore those cases that made even the most courageous police officer buckle under their knees with its ferocity.
Tight writing, superb editing and rich data make the book a complete page-turner. Absolutely gripping, we would recommend this book to all you readers out there who have been avid watchers of ‘Crime Patrol’ on Sony and have immersed into crime fiction novels. Go grab a copy of this riveting read!
The Book Buzz gives a book a thumping 5 stars.