Six Suspects – Vikas Swarup

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I loved Q&A (the book the film Slumdog Millionaire is based on) and so was excited to find Vikas Swarup’s latest book in the library. Unfortunately Six Suspects isn’t quite as good as Q&A.

The title refers to the six people who are all discovered carrying a gun at a party in which Vicky Rai, the son of a high-profile Indian Minister, is shot. Through a series of short stories we see into the lives of these people, and their motives for killing Vicky Rai are revealed.

Some sections were really good, especially the story of the mobile phone thief who found a briefcase full of money, but this seemed too similar to the central character in Q&A, who also suddenly comes into a lot of money. It felt like the best sections from Q&A had been condensed and then repeated here.

There were many sections of the book which seemed unlikely, and it didn’t have to charm be able to pull it off. One of the characters gets kidnapped and this section in particular seemed very unrealistic. The book touches on some very difficult subjects, including suicide bombings and poverty, but I felt these were rushed over and so I failed to get an insight into the minds of these people.  The fact that there were six central characters also meant that I didn’t really bond with them that well, as by the time I was getting to know them they were replaced with the next suspect. The sights and sounds of India were also not as present in this book as they should have been.

It is a light, easy read, and it’s 560 pages fly by, but I was disappointed by the ending, as although it is quite clever, it isn’t possible to work out who the murderer is, and that is what I love most about thrillers.

Overall, it was OK, but I recommend you read Q&A instead.


Did you enjoy reading Q&A?

I haven’t seen the film Q&A yet? Which did you prefer – the book or the film?

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  1. Violet says:

    Six Suspects is more popular here than Q&A. I had never heard of Q&A before the movie :) Haven’t read both.

    I thought the movie was good but not as good as the hype. Having seen the movie I don’t think I’ll read the book, but you can never tell :)

    31/2 stars from you is not bad Jackie. I’m tempted to try this one :)

  2. Beth F says:

    I haven’t read either of these. I haven’t even seen the movie! I’m so out of it. I’ll pick up Q&A one of these days and I’ll likely pass on this one.

  3. Jackie says:

    Violet – It was only by accident that I read this book before the film came out. I don’t think many people had heard of it before then either. I guess Six Suspects is getting lots of publicity everywhere now Slumdog Millionaire has made it big. I think that the film is sufficiently different to the book to make it still worth reading, so I advise you to give Q&A a go first. 3 1/2 stars is an OK book, but not one I’d recommend to other people. It’s not terrible, so I’d be interested to hear what you thought of it.

    Beth – Everyone seems to have seen Q&A, so I’m feeling a bit out of it too!

  4. Sandy says:

    I have read neither of these books, nor seen Slumdog. I’ve intended to, but not enough hours in the day. It sounds like the author is trying to cram too much into a book. It also seems that he is using the same recipe as Q&A (I am assuming that Q&A came first?), which can be annoying. Sometimes that can work…I felt that The Kite Runner and Thousand Splendid Suns had very similar modus operandi, but not always.

    BTW, I am back! I am about to send you an e-mail to thank you for your present!

  5. Jackie says:

    Sandy – It’s good to have you back!
    Yes, I think the author was trying to copy some of the successful elements from his first book, which is OK if you haven’t read Q&A, but I found it annoying.
    The Kite Runner and Thousand Splendid Suns weren’t that similar. They were set in the same country and the writing style was the same, but I found the stories to be very different.

  6. Michelle says:

    I’d read Q & A awhile back and really enjoyed it. Watched the movie when it came out and was horribly disappointed in it.

  7. Jackie says:

    Michelle – You’re the first person I’ve heard who was disappointed by Slumdog Millionaire, but then you might be the first person I’ve heard who has read the book first. I really hope I like it.

  8. Steph says:

    I haven’t read the book, but we recently watched (and reviewed) Slumdog Millionaire, and put us in the minority of people who did not like it. I think Tony liked it more than I did, but man, I thought it was really emotionally manipulative and soooo depressing. Based on the movie, I wouldn’t want to read the book, but Claire over at Kiss A Cloud suggested in a comment that the book has a much happier tone and was a lot more enjoyable.

    You can check out our review here:

  9. Jackie says:

    Steph – The book Q&A is quite happy. It does have a few sad sections, but overall it is very light and enjoyable. I’m not sure how I missed your review – I’ll have to go and take a look!

  10. claire says:

    Oh no!! I purchased Six Suspects straightaway when I first saw it! Mainly because Q&A was so much fun, I knew I would be in for a fun ride here. But I read your first paragraph. I won’t read the rest. I’ll get back to you when I’ve read it. Hopefully, I’ll like it much better than you did. :D

    1. Jackie says:

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I think you’ll find it isn’t as good as Q&A, but I don’t know whether you’ll find it a good read or not.

  11. Jenners says:

    Q&A is coming up on my “to read” list and I’m really excited about it!! He sounds like he has a lot of good concepts.

    1. Jackie says:

      Q&A is really good – light, funny but with a deeper message about India beneath the surface. I’m sure you’ll love it!


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