Hope you all have been well. It’s the flu season so please take care of yourselves and don’t get sick! I had a great start to 2020, read about 15 books and for this month, I have about 18 books on my TBR. I am sure you all are reading some of the amazing 2020 releases 💜
Today I am going to talk about Barbanki Narcos by Aloke Lal. All Thanks to Hachette India for sending me a copy.
In 1984 – a politically charged time in northern India – Aloke Lal, a young officer, is posted to Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, as the chief of police.
In the small, backward district, known for little other than its opium production and smuggling rackets, Lal finds himself in the middle of a well-entrenched web of crime run by a dangerous drug mafia whose seemingly endless supply of black money appears to have bought out local politicians and district officials and influenced higher rungs of power.
Determined to annihilate the opium chain, Lal sets out on a path that sees him make unlikely allies and deadly enemies as he is led from the red-light districts of Lucknow to midnight highway interceptions and perilous raids that shake up the Barabanki cartel.
But do such actions against powerful criminal organizations ever come without consequences? And what political games are being played in the corridors of power even as this upright officer tries to ride the gathering storm of an enraged underworld?
The Barabanki Narcos is the thrilling true story behind the largest-ever opium bust in history – the methodical build-up to the operation, the deadly aftermath and the ensuing events that would leave a lasting impact on north Indian politics – narrated by the man who led the action at the centre of it all.
You may have noticed that I don’t usually read books of the Non-fiction genre. But Aloke Lal’s, Barabanki Narcos is a true crime which was too hard to resist! Since Lal’s account is of a true crime, the book reads more like a fiction rather than a non-fiction.
In Barabanki Narcos, Lal chronicles how he busted the drug cartel of Barabanki, a small district in Uttar Pradesh, known for its opium production and smuggling which was truly fascinating to read. The titling of the chapters was also an interesting addition which imbued the book with tiny little hints on what the readers can expect in the respective chapters.
There’s nothing much to say about the “plot” since it’s pretty much what it says in the blurb. Lal’s narration was engaging and never did I feel bored while reading the book (which is why I and non-fiction aren’t a great match, unless it’s a book by Shashi Tharoor). The narrative brought out the thrilling aspect which Lal might have himself felt while on duty. I loved that he chose to use a straightforward and easy to follow diction and used short sentences.
There’s just one small quibble though. The book was too short! It’s only 190 pages and the narrative was so engaging that I ended up finishing the book in about 3 hours. Even after reaching the last page, I kept hoping that it wouldn’t end!
I wholeheartedly recommend that you read The Barabanki Narcos. It’s one of a kind Non-fiction/true crime. For people who like short books and are looking to venture into Non-fiction, this would be a perfect choice. Just go and read it already!