How To Kidnap the Rich

Harper Perennial. Jun. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780063028784. pap. $17. F
DEBUT Money is the key for Ramesh Kumar to get out of his rough Delhi neighborhood and away from working at a tea stall owned by his abusive father. He stumbles into a way to use his study skills to scam the system, getting paid by wealthy parents to take college entrance exams for their sons. When Ramesh poses as the not-so-bright Rudi Saxena and unexpectedly aces a nationwide test, Rudi is catapulted into fame and a starring role on a TV quiz show. Ramesh rides his coattails, posing as Rudi’s manager and indulging in drinking and drugs. When Rudi carelessly humiliates a young contestant on air, neither realizes that things have gone too far. The contestant’s father kidnaps Ramesh and Rudi, vowing to make them pay. What happens next isn’t pretty.
VERDICT Debut author Raina’s gritty description of Ramesh’s downward spiral and the story’s over-the-top action give this novel a cinematic feel. Ramesh has a singular voice, and readers will come to understand how and why he has made the decisions he has. This tale should appeal to fans of the 2021 Netflix series The White Tiger, or possibly films such as Parasite and Slumdog Millionaire; the latter is referenced in the novel.
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