Book Review – Anti-Social Network



Title :Anti-Social Network
Author : Piyush Jha
Publishers : Rupa Publications
Genre :Fiction (Crime Thriller)


Acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and author of bestselling novels, Mumbaistan and Compass Box Killer, Piyush Jha was actively involved in politics as a student .He started off his career in the field of advertising management only to switch tracks later on and pursue a career in film making/ direction. The beginning started with a few commercials for some of the leading brands in the country. Later on he moved on to writing and directing feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar. Anti- Social Network is the third novel in the Mumbaistan series b the author. It is ‘an up-all-night crime thriller layered with suspense’ according to Ashwin Sanghi.


One look at the cover and you know what to expect inside. The figure with a blood dripping knife in hand and blood splashed all over the background definitely suggests that the book is about crime and that too of the gory kind. But what crime? Read the blurb for that.

Blurb of the book

When college students across Mumbai are murdered one after another in gruesome ways, Inspector Virkar from the Crime Branch is called in. As Virkar investigates, he stumbles upon a ruthless gang of young tech- savvy miscreants who use social networking sites and the Internet for blackmail and sextortion. But how are the two cases linked? And who is the mastermind behind these killings?

As the case grows murkier, the computer- challenged Virkar finds himself greatly out of depth, chasing a killer who always seems to be one step ahead, and a group that soon trains its sights on him. He must race against time to unmask the gang and to find the murderer before his reputation is ruined forever.

Thick with suspense and layered with grit, Anti-Social Network brings to you Virkar’s toughest case yet.



Storyline – Relevant with Internet and social media playing a prime role in one’s life. The story brings out the darker side of technology and highlights the dangers these two i.e. internet and social media, pose to our privacy and security. It is also a wake-up call to those involved in crime investigations to keep themselves abreast with the latest technology. The book is not just another crime thriller, it is an eye-opener. On the one hand it deals with drug abuse, extortion and murder and on the other hand it is the story of commitment to one’s duty.

The pace and ease with which the story unfolds is wonderful. The twists and turns add spice to the story.

Language and Length – Simple, engaging, lucid. The length is right, not more, not less.

Characters – Well etched with all their imperfections. Inspector Virkar, the main protagonist is a man committed to his profession. He is no super-cop but just a normal human being. He has his strengths and weaknesses too. His greatest handicap is his lack of thorough knowledge of the computers, the internet and the social networking system.

Richard, the drug addict and computer genius is shown as a hacker ready to assist Inspector Virkar but for a price. He represents those young minds that are willing to do anything just to be able to get high.

Sharad Lal, Kshitij Bhatia, Nayantara, Rajesh Chawre, Akhbir and Philo are young college students out to make a fast buck using their computer skills but in the wrong way. They are all a part of the sextortion racket. The author highlights the dangers posed by the social networking media through these young, tech-savvy students.

Ms. Naina Rai, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology is a mystery.One wonders what interest she has in the crime that unfolds.

Message – The book is a wake-up call to those innumerable professionals who are reluctant to update themselves with the latest technology and the latest in their area of operation. It is a wake up call to all those actively involved in the social networking to guard themselves from unscrupulous elements ready to go to any length just for the sake of money and all that it can buy.


Language – 1) The Marathi and Hindi transliterations need some editing. 2) Foot notes for the colloquial usages would have proved helpful especially to those who come across them for the first time/ do not know the language of the usage.


If you are looking for a page turner then, this is definitely one you can place your hands on. The layers of suspense will keep you hooked.

I thank the The Tales Pensieve and the author Mr.Piyush Jha for being kind enough to send me a review copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. The book brings in focus Mr. Jha’s knack for churning out some wonderful crime thrillers.

This review is a part of The Book Review Programme at The Tales Pensieve.

Anti-Social Network (Inspector Virkar, #2)

Buying Links

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Please leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.


About Geeta Nair

Born in Independent India to two really wonderful people who cherished and nourished me with great care, I consider myself lucky to have had the best that life could offer me. Lucky to have had the best education , the best sibling, the best husband, the best daughter,the best of everything that I could ever want, Love to live life on my terms .

6 responses »

  1. A very analytical review- you have looked at each aspect of the novel and given the positives and negatives. I agree with your observation that footnotes for colloquial would be very useful.


  2. Geeta, I love how you have structured the review. Very precise and a great reference for someone who might want to read the book. Oh well. I want to read the book 😀


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