Frozen Tears - A Psychological Thriller that’s Neither Psychological Nor Thrilling
Disclaimer: What I’m going to say in this post is entirely my opinion. I don’t like to hate on books because I have immense respect for authors…it takes a lot of effort and creativity to write fiction. But everyone has their preferences and if I don’t enjoy a book, I’ll say so.
I bought this book on the recommendation of a bookstagrammer I respect. But not just that…the blurb said that it was a psychological thriller and I’ve been wanting to read thriller novels by Indian authors for a while now. So I bought this.
I love it when unknown books turn out to be amazing. I love saying, “This is such an underrated book!”
Unfortunately, I can’t say that for this book.
I went in with high expectations because, well, the blurb was incredible.
Dev, a police detective in Chennai, is investigating a string of murders that seem unrelated except for the fact that the killer gives them a painless death. Dev is struck by the empathetic nature of the killings. The victims are unrelated in every way, and conventional methods of solving the case lead nowhere. His daughter, Rudra, a psychiatrist and criminologist, comes in to help on the case, and her novel methods lead them closer to the killer. But the killer is much closer to home than anyone thinks…
The book promises to be a psychological thriller.
Problem is, it’s neither psychological nor thrilling.
I have so much to say about this book, but I can’t really…because that would go against my policy of “no hate”.
I hated the book, though…and I’ll highlight a few of the most glaring reasons why. If you think they’re petty (and maybe you will. As a writer, I do get a little hung up on the details), I encourage you to pick up the book.
- The protagonist, Rudra, is supposed to be a criminologist and a psychiatrist. Or is it…clinical psychologist? The author doesn’t seem to be able to decide. A tiny Google search would have told him the difference between the two (which is significant). Small details are also important, but the career of the protagonist is a major detail to mess up on.
- Speaking of psychology, Rudra repeatedly calls criminals “psycho”. As a mental health advocate, I take offence to that word, and I realise the absurdity of the idea that any psychologist (much less a criminologist, who would have many technical terms for criminals) would call anyone a psycho. The word is demeaning and undermines the entire mental health movement.
- The dialogues are all stilted. Rudra is initially in England, but her (definitely British) friends talk in a distinctly Indian way. Also, words like “hence” are used in dialogues. No one says “hence”. Hence is a term people only use in boring school essays (and maybe not even then). I know this is a petty reason, but yes. I am petty.
- After all these mistakes, I switched from “excited reader” to “critical editor” and my enjoyment ended. And I couldn’t, for the life of me, turn my damn inner editor off.
- Call me old fashioned, but I want my thriller books to be…well, thrilling. I want them to keep me at the edge of my seat, intrigued about what will happen next. This book had so many things going for it, but it brought out exactly zero emotions inside me. Except annoyance at all the little things that peeved me.
- The ending was completely unexpected, and not in a “oh, everything fits in perfectly!” kind of way. It made very little sense, because the process that Rudra followed to catch the criminal is entirely “psychological”. As if being a criminologist automatically gives you super-human powers.
- The title of the book was explained in the end, but it made zero sense to me. Maybe I’m not philosophical enough to “get” it.
There were a lot of other little things that put me off, but these are the most glaring issues.
I’m in a catch-22 situation here. I wouldn’t recommend this book to any thriller buff out there because it doesn’t quite cut it. But I also want people to read it so I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. Oof!
Anyway…my reasons are mostly petty and this book is not a bad read for:
Beginners at reading
People who’ve never read or watched thriller and want to enter the genre
People who don’t have an editor inside their head