cover image The Third Squad

The Third Squad

V. Sanjay Kumar. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61775-497-5

Karan, the hero of this murky noir from Kumar (Artist, Undone), is an “encounter specialist” with the Third Squad, a special branch of the Mumbai police. The branch furthers the cause of justice by carrying out hits on the most egregious criminals. Karan, a new recruit with infallible aim, has Asperger’s, which makes him particularly suited to the black-and-white world of his job—until that same binary sense of right and wrong leads him to directly disobey a kill order, because it matters to him whom he shoots. Written in the first and third person (with one foray into second person), the overly dense narrative and its many threads provide occasionally confusing insights into Karan. One of the more interesting characters is Mumbai, which Kumar evokes with lyrical prose (“In the night the city yields to the will of those who hold remorse for ransom. This city of noir sleeps at dawn. The night’s debris waits for the tide”). (Mar.)