Age of Vice

Riverhead. Jan. 2023. 560p. ISBN 9780593328798. $30. SUSPENSE
The action in Kapoor’s (A Bad Character) extraordinary India-set second novel stretches across a decade and a half: the good guys never win, the corrupt never lose. When he was eight, Ajay’s mother sold him to pay a debt. An adult now, he works for golden boy Sunny Wadia, son of Bunty, head of the Wadia crime gang. One time only, on the advice of his girlfriend Neda, Sunny defies his father. His father storms into the house, tosses Sunny in the pool, and orders his thugs to trash Sunny’s home, destroying all the treasures on display that showcase Sunny’s refined sensibilities. Neda flees, and an isolated Sunny is put on a short leash. When Gautham, heir to another crime family, crashes his car one night while roaring drunk, leaving five dead behind, Sunny seizes the moment to photograph him. Then he orders Ajay to confess in Gautham’s place. Ajay goes to prison; Gautham is owned by the Wadias. By the end of this grim tale, Sunny is a broken hulk, fat, stoned, and drunk. He doesn’t resist his father now—he can’t—but what does he have to offer him?
VERDICT Impossible to put down; Kapoor is the real thing.
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