Interview: ‘Someone Called Me The Raju Guide Of Mumbai’, Says Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer

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Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer
Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer
Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer

After tasting success with his debut novel Mumbaistan, adman, film maker and writer, Piyush Jha launched his second book, Compass Box Killer earlier this month. A gritty, crime thriller set in Mumbai, this is the story of Ramesh Virkar, a sharp Police Inspector out to get an equally adroit ‘compass box killer’.  Inspector Virkar first featured in one of the stories in Mumbaistan, and like Piyush says, ‘grew on me enough to have a life of his own’. So much so that Piyush is now planning on making him a household name, leveraging the brand across media. I got on the phone with Piyush to know more and here is an excerpt of our chat.

How has been the response to Mumbaistan?
Being a first time author, I had imagined that cornering people’s mind space would be difficult but fortunately the media, the bookstores and the readers have all been very supportive and Mumbaistan, by God’s grace, has been on Crossword’s bestseller list.

Tell us about Compass Box Killer?
Compass Box Killer marks the beginning of a series–adventures of Inspector Virkar who was a protagonist in Injectionwalla, the second novella in Mumbaistan. Compass Box Killer is my first standalone novel. It is in written within the genre confines of post-modern detective fiction that combines aspects of the thriller and adventure genre. It has shades of the Noir style, although it has my own special take on this.

Inspector Virkar is partly based on people who I have met, and partly on people who I wish I had met.

Who inspired the character of the protagonist.. anyone in real life?
Yes and no. The characters and stories were triggered off by the reality around us–crime stories you read in the newspapers and but it is not real or based on any living person. I would say, Inspector Virkar is partly based on people who I have met, and partly on people who I wish I had met.

Are you planning a series?
Yes. A Mumbaistan series which would be pure crime fiction a sort of Adventures of Inspector Virkar, if you will. Compass Box Killer is just the first to come, many more shall follow, hopefully.

The story lends itself to a becoming a graphic novel, an ebook.. perhaps even a film.. any thoughts on that?
There are plans but it’s too early to talk about it. But, you are right, the story does translate itself well into many mediums, and currently the attempt is to leverage it to the maximum.

I introduced the readers to areas of Mumbai that they have probably never seen or heard of. 

Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer
Piyush Jha, Writer, Compass Box Killer

What is the funniest review you have read of your work?
One review that said “Piyush Jha is the new Raju Guide of Mumbai”. The writer meant that I had depicted areas and portions of Mumbai so well that he could feel himself there. Also, I introduced the readers to areas of Mumbai that they have probably never seen or heard of. I’m actually very proud of this fact and shall continue to be the Raju Guide of Mumbai 🙂

If you could have any one super power as a fiction writer, what would it be?
Compel all people to read… and preferably, my fiction.

Mumbai is at the heart of your stories. What about the city inspires you?
To explain this I quote a line from my novella ‘Bomb Day’- On every street of Mumbai, the loud, pulsating throb of the unraveling day could be heard. The shop fronts, the bus stops, the local train stations—transformed from a rest house to the homeless to a temple of business, rapidly filling up with scores of devotees who would partake of its offering, en route to their daily battle for survival.

What advise would you give budding writers?
Write something every day, and one day it’ll turn into a book.

If you enjoy modern, fast paced, suspense thrillers, I’d say get hold of a copy.

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Compass Box Killer Front Cover
Compass Box Killer Front Cover

TITLE: Compass Box Killer
SERIES- Mumbaistan
AUTHOR: Piyush Jha
PUBLISHER: Rupa Publications
CATEGORY: Crime Fiction
PRICE: Rs. 195

Back cover blurb:
‘Akurle is just the first to die. To find out who is next, find me first.’
One muggy afternoon in Mumbai, a senior police officer is found murdered at his desk. When Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch arrives at the scene, he finds a cryptic note that spills out of a student’s compass box. Then begins a series of killings and in each, a tell-tale compass box reveals more clues.
Accompanied by the attractive, ambitious TV reporter, Raashi Hunerwal, Virkar has to race against time to catch the Compass Box Killer before the bodies pile up. As the investigation shuttles from Mumbai to Khandala to Belgaum, Virkar is taken deep into a labyrinth of backroom deals that lead to shocking revelations about the ruthless killer’s motives.
Slick plot twists and high-adrenaline action mark the first of the Inspector Virkar Crime Thrillers—part of the Mumbaistan series. Tough, daring and relentless in his pursuit of justice, Inspector Virkar is a policeman one wishes every city had.

Post By Garima Sharma (111 Posts)

Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.

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Garima Sharma

Garima Sharma
Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.