Over the names, Vinquita Romaine is difficult to define geographically. In fact, this exotic pen name belongs to a first-time novelist, whose early childhood and adolescence were spent largely in the cloistered environs of traditional and conservative Mylapore in Chennai.
After moving to the UK in the late 1970s to pursue postgraduate studies in medicine, Vinquita Romaine became an associate nephrologist with the UK National Health Service. His debut as a detective thriller writer came quite late in life, but not a day too soon.
An extremely crowded category, crime, and one would assume it’s terribly difficult to hit a clean shot off the bat or hit a home run. That said, Romaine does a remarkable job on the book on so many levels: ideation of the plot, sustained pace so essential for detective writing, fruitful and lucid writing style and above all, a sure grasp of mores and habits. from the British suburbs, one whose intimate knowledge contributes to much of the colorful dialogue in the volume.
However, just to give you an overview, a trailer if you will, on what heartache is all about, here’s a hint of the storyline without hopefully spoiling it for you. A spoiler alert is surplus to requirements, so nothing goes.
The novel’s protagonist is an orphan, Quentin Grayling, raised in England, who has a tinge of South Indian blood in him, but is otherwise as English as any Chelsea FC fan. With the exception of a vital reference to his Indian biological father from Madurai who is trapped in a vile chicanery by his supposed friends in England, and a romantic flashback to Goa, India plays more of a passing role in the novel. .
It’s up to Quentin’s gutted English mother to turn things around in the end. Our anti-hero’s life takes a turn for the worse as he breaks away from his avaricious wife, hostile environment in England and family betrayal, and flies to New York to become embroiled in a dangerous, at times seemingly platonic, romance with a female victim who faces a life-threatening situation from underworld villains.
As the two fly to the Far East (via other exotic locales), Quentin’s mysterious past quickly catches up with him, culminating in finding heartbreaking answers to the mystery of his turbulent life. Oh, and not to mention a few corpses strewn along the way.
You might find heartache an ideal companion when traveling by train. We suggest you pack an accompanying book, as you might finish this captivating book before the train even leaves the platform.
By Vinquita Romaine