Pretty Vile Girl: The protagonist you will hate to love!
When you have racy plot and myriad, twisted sub-plots married to a series of brutal murders, committed with ice-cold nerve made all the more chilling by a kind of detached, almost meditative casualness, you get a Pretty Vile Girl!
The theme of this novel is revenge- and its corollary, Justice. It’s premise is: Evil must bear the consequences of its actions. If it doesn’t, the deficit is passed on to someone who is innocent.
The story weaves in an out of time with such swift nimbleness as to render the reader quite undone long before the first few chapters are done.
This is a book whose reading I had to be vigilant about rationing. The story is so mesmerizing and addictive, that you are pulled into it even before you can say Jack Sparrow. A part of you is blissed out because you LOVE the murky depths into which the narrative holds you captive. Hence the rationing. Long drawn out pleasures might be a torture, but oh! they are such sweet torment!
When you have characters which astound you with their complexity, you can but hate to love them- or love to hate them. The protagonist of Rickie Khosla’s Pretty Vile Girl is certainly one such character. A cold blooded killer, but one you celebrate with, after each brutal execution. Because, yes, that’s what they are. Executions, not just murders.
In a novel of this kind, the chronology of events is a domineering task-master. It waves its cruel whip and the author must jump to it. If you don’t, the narrative become hopelessly confusing, leaving your reader gasping for breath like beached whales. But if you DO just as chronology would have you jump, your narrative would become a linear, plodding thing that is anything but exciting.
Rickie, who has the soul of a born story-teller, did neither one nor the other. He did not submit to the unyielding whip of sequence, he masterfully made it his hand-maiden. He did not follow its dictates, it had to dance to his tunes. The result, I need hardly say, shot past the highest superlatives in the thesaurus. And that, for me, is saying it all.
There were no tears, mainly because expensive lunches, gin and rummy, and shopping were the kind of soil in which the seeds of friendship could, at best, grow only into stunted shrubbery—not a thriving forest laden with the fruits of empathy, joy, and kinship. Or grief even.
~ Rickie Khosla
Rickie’s understanding of human emotions and of the anatomy of relationships are deep. His stark truisms on what makes people do what they do, make you stop short, so devoid of superfluity are his observations. This understanding not only helps him create robust characters but also to imbue them with believable motivations and compulsions.
When a thrilling edge-on-the-seat saga of revenge, murder and inevitable mayhem ends with a twist in the climax, with a revelation that you never saw coming, your cup of joy flows over. After a soul-satisfying meal, you are grateful to your senses for having given you the tools to experience culinary perfection. Reading a novel like Pretty Vile Girl is every bit as satisfying, if not more.
Well done Rickie!
My rating for the book is 4.9/5.0.
This is the highest rating I have ever given to a book. Though I looked assiduously, I could not find a single thing that could be improved in this novel. But I’m sure the author will find a way to create a more thrilling narrative in his next novel. My best wishes to him as I look forward to his next book.
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Disclaimer: I was happy to buy my own copy of the e-book (paperback is also available). I was not paid or otherwise compensated in any way for this review.