Nobody Likes An Outsider by Fawaz Jaleel went on to become one of the bestselling Indian thrillers in 2021.

New Delhi: 2021 has been a mixed year for Indian literature. For the majority of the year, readers were kept away from bookstores, malls, and airports due to the surge in Covid cases keeping them away from relishing the joy of picking up a book, scanning through the back cover, and eventually picking it up. In such times, the ratio of book sales experienced a new shift from the majority chunk happening online as opposed to the regular trend of offline domination.
It was a tough year not just for the newer authors but also veterans in the industry. India’s popular bestselling author, Mr Chetan Bhagat had a solo release with 400 days while the other stalwart Amish Tripathi didn’t have a single release in 2021. His last book Dharma released in December, 2020. In such a year we saw the rise of a young Indian author who picked a relatively less crowded genre i.e political thriller mystery and managed to capture the praises of the critics as well as the readers.
2021 turned out to be remarkable year for Mr. Fawaz Jaleel whose political thriller novel, Nobody Likes An Outsider went on to become one of the bestselling Indian thriller books in 2021. Not only did the book do well online, it also climbed up to number 3 in book rankings in offline stores. Set in Bihar, the book starts off with the death of India’s most promising young politician, Ashraf Zain. A young CBI team led by Senior Inspector Yohan Tytler is called to investigate the case. Another murder follows and the case investigation opens up a pandoras box of secrets linked to the modern history of India and Bihar. The team is entrusted with a herculean task of tracing events ranging from 1970 to 2021, while dealing with political struggles, bureaucratic red tape, and civil society agitations all amidst investigating the most shocking murder of 2021. The book has a parallel yet tied up narrative that focuses on caste, political ideologies, and contemporary issues of India. In the end, the book flips the reader’s imagination by suddenly exposing a completely different side of the narrative it got the readers hooked on to. The ending of the book is one of the bravest attempts in Indian literature that would have caused a stir had it not been dealt with in the sensitive manner it is showcased.
All said, the book isn’t perfect and has some issues. The author does touch upon issues regarding gender inequalities but it wasn’t explored in detail as it could have been. The powerful women characters established should have been used to comment on more societal incidents surrounding women but the author chose to keep his focus strictly on the investigation and delivering a tight mystery. An interesting aspect of the book is its neutral narrative on the political incidents without siding with the right or left and occasionally taking on the sides with strong words and incidents. This particular approach will appeal to readers irrespective of which side of the political spectrum they tilt towards. But the depth in research, seamless mix of fiction and non-fiction, and keeping the mystery alive till the end along with non-preachy socio-political commentary puts Fawaz Jaleel among one of the finest Indian thriller authors.
The author has two releases set for 2022.
Author: Fawaz Jaleel
Book: Nobody Likes An Outsider