Kill Me With Love
by Srividya Srinivasan
Publisher: Juggernaut Books
I read Kill Me with Love in one sitting, even as my long to-do list lay pending. I just could not put it down.
On the face of it, the book is a whodunnit about a couple, Anika, and Anil, who has been poisoned. To make things worse, Anika doesn’t recognise her own husband. All she remembers is trying to elope with her lover, Ajay. When she wakes up, she is in hospital, and far from being mad at her, her parents are anxious and worried. Even worse, she sees Ajay with another woman, who is heavily pregnant, and clearly, they are close.
The book takes us on an exciting journey of suspense and emotions, as we try to figure out who poisoned the couple.
Everyone is a suspect, including Anika and Anil. For that matter, the investigating officer Inspector Kumar wants to excuse himself from the case, as even he can be considered a suspect.
Yet, this is not just a whodunnit.
Srividya has a very literary style of writing, and she is an expert at imbuing the simplest mystery with many layers of emotions. Each character is strong and very important to the story, from Anil, Anika and Ajay, to her brother Jeet and his fiancée Kajal, Anil’s cousin sister Trisha and crusty old Yah, who had practically raised them, Anika’s parents, and even Inspector Kumar and his wife, Priya, who are closely connected to the family.
We see them all as human beings with their own story arcs, rather than just place holders in the story. We see their motives, their suffering, their pain, and their hopes.
Srividya delves into each relationship with a finesse that leaves you spell-bound.
You revel in Anil and Anika’s love, while wondering if they are capable of hurting each other, whether their love is a façade for more mercenary feelings. You grieve for the loss of their baby.
You see Ajay being torn by his guilt and feelings for Anika. You empathise with Jeet when he is drowning in his love for Kajal. What I loved the most, was Anika’s relationship with her stepmother, far removed from the wicked stepmother character that we have been conditioned to believe in.
For me, this book is all about just one thing – love.
Love is what is pulling everyone’s strings, blessing some with its presence, torturing others with its lack, and eventually, bringing all the strings together for a grand reveal.
The book is peppered with tiny bits of verse, which are real gems. My favourite is:
“What curious eyes you have, my child, that they see things they are not meant to. You are tempting your fate, my dearest, with that curiosity of yours. For, do you not know that it was curiosity that killed the stupid cat?”
If you like exciting thrillers that are brimming with emotion, if you like books that make you cry, bite your nails, and make you hope, you must read Kill Me with Love.
Srividya is a skilled raconteur, creating relatable characters in very familiar settings, and taking them on a hell of a ride. I would love to read more of her works.
I give this book five shiny, sparkling stars. Happy reading!