The Psychopath, The Cannibal, The Lover (2020) is a horror-thriller debut novel written by Tejaswi Priyadarshi that mainly follows a serial killer on the loose, while a writer who attempts to immortalize the gruesome story, ends up getting tangled up in the mess. The serial killer suddenly continues his killing spree years later, which sets off a chain of horrific events. I will be honest, the foreword by Mirzapur creator, Puneet Krishna, tempted me to read the story further but the prologue cemented my interest in the narrative. While the book does have some negative aspects, which could have been improved like the dialogue, and some of the best aspects include Aaina’s backstory and some of Tushagra’s backstory.
The descriptions are really vivid and Priyadarshi uses a very modernized writing style which I really appreciated. These illustrations allowed me to become even more immersed in the story. I am also positively shocked by the research the writer did on drugs and intoxicants, bringing realism into a fictional tale.
Secondly, the various plot lines make for a diverse experience. I have read many psychopath-related novels, and also seen a lot of shows featuring them like Mindhunter, but Priyadarshi’s psychopath is one of the most original takes on this character. The psychopath’s actions are completely unpredictable and this pushes the shock factor all the way to eleven. I also loved the integration of desi phrases in this mostly English-language publication, and as a native or even as an expat South Asian you’ll appreciate these sayings and they further raise the level of realism already prevalent in the story.
Going back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this review: The backstory of Tushagra was something that I found, for the most part, interesting and pleasant to read, giving me plenty of Harry Potter vibes with the way the dorm life was portrayed. This section was quite long which made the gory killing sprees feel that much more impactful and they were very creatively done as well. There were a minority of unnecessary details in this section but compared to some of the subplots of the book, the story in this case progressed much better. Additionally, Aaina’s backstory that follows later on is very short but has to be the best section. Her story managed to evoke pity, made sense since her thoughts were shown perfectly, and the deaths were gruesome and satisfying.
Overall, The Psychopath, The Cannibal, The Lover is one of the best horror-thriller novels I have come across since the last decade. The praise from Mirzapur showrunner, Puneet Krishna, was not unjustified. I cannot recommend this novel enough to lovers of all genres as it has this encompassing greatness about it which is likely to satisfy readers of various categories of literature.