R.A.W Hitman: The Real Story of Agent Lima
Author: S. Hussain Zaidi
Published by Simon and Schuster India
MRP: Rs. 499/-
Thank you @simonandschusterindia for a media copy of this book.
With R.A.W. Hitman, India's preeminent true crime writer S. Hussain Zaidi has crafted another scintillating page-turner. This time, Zaidi delves into the shadowy world of espionage and national security. The book chronicles the incredible story of Laxman Bisht, an elite commando working for R.A.W. (Research and Analysis Wing) who finds himself ensnared in a dangerous web of cops, criminals and corrupt politicians.
The story begins by plunging us into Laxman's grueling training in Israel that transformed him into a cold-blooded secret agent for R.A.W. - skilled in weapons, ambush tactics, and psychological manipulation. Codenamed "Agent Lima", Laxman is dispatched to assassinate Raju Pargai, a rising mafia kingpin in Uttarakhand with links to politicians. In a gripping sequence, Lima clinically executes the kill. But in a shocking twist, Laxman is falsely accused of the murder by the police and subjected to horrific torture to extract a confession.
What follows is a Kafkaesque nightmare as Laxman gets thrown into various prisons and encounters India's most terrifying inmates - from contract killer Zahid Cheetah to mob boss Bunty Pandey. The codes of conduct within the sprawling criminal underworld are laid bare. As Laxman is shunned by R.A.W. and stripped of his identity, we see the gradual erosion of his principles. The inner workings of intelligence agencies are also exposed - their reliance on criminals for dirty work, internal bureaucracy and how they hang agents out to dry.
Zaidi efficiently employs newspaper clips, photos and eyewitness accounts to construct an intricate latticework of characters and events. Local Uttarakhand flavor is beautifully rendered through its landscape and food. The structure merits praise - short chapters ending on cliffhangers keep you glued. Zaidi's vivid descriptions of torture and violence are gut-wrenching. He has a knack for meticulously piecing together obscure historical details to reconstruct a gripping narrative.
At its heart, R.A.W. Hitman explores the moral conundrums faced by intelligence agencies and the complex interplay between duty, corruption and survival. It is a fascinating character study of a principled man whose identity unravels when the system he serves betrays him.
The book will leave you pondering the boundaries of patriotism and the tipping points that turn law enforcers into outlaws. When does adherence to duty end and personal ambition take over? R.A.W. Hitman provides no easy answers. It only peels back the curtain on the chaotic and cutthroat world of national security.
Zaidi proves that truth is often stranger than fiction. The sheer audacity of events would strain credulity had they not been meticulously reconstructed from primary sources. R.A.W. Hitman is a must-read for aficionados of espionage and fans of taut, intelligent thrillers. With this book, Zaidi has cemented his reputation as India's foremost chronicler of the underworld.
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