The Black Orphan

by Chandra Sundeep
Cover picture of The Black Orphan by Hussain Zaidi

The Black Orphan by S. Hussain Zaidi is an enthralling read, and I finished it in a single sitting. It was worth every minute. The intricate web of crime, conspiracies, assassins, terrorists, and espionage make for full-on paisa vasool entertainment.

Set in Mumbai, the story centers on DIG Ajay of NIA. While working on a terrorism-related case, he comes across Asiya Khan, a brilliant young lawyer defending a terror suspect. Despite being on opposite sides, it is love at first sight for Ajay.

The plot turns exciting when Ajay begins probing a series of deaths of nuclear scientists. Initially, the deaths appear as isolated cases, but soon, Ajay connects the dots. The intense investigation uncovers shocking truths about a dangerous plot that threatens lives. Ajay and his team are in a race against time to crack these interconnected cases.

The novel is inspired by true events, thus making it realistic. The compelling narrative kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the authentic blend of real-life names, places, and events like the Mumbai blasts, the role of ISI, training camps in Kashmir, Osama Bin Laden’s capture, etc. It certainly made the storytelling more engaging.

The novel is fast-paced. The build-up of suspense and satisfying climax resolution contributed to a memorable experience. But I’ve to mention, the story is not just a mindless thrilling chase! The author has explored varied themes like justice, terrorism, security, human rights, corruption, espionage, etc. He also touches upon the moral dilemma law enforcement officials and the legal fraternity face.

The central characters, Ajay and Asiya, are well-developed. The author portrays them as nuanced and multi-faceted individuals. The various secondary characters strongly support them. Ajay is depicted as a courageous and dedicated officer, committed to his duty. Asiya’s unwavering pursuit of justice and fierce advocacy for the wrongfully accused are portrayed exceptionally well.

Their complex relationship adds emotional depth to the story and drives the narrative forward. Though their chemistry is intense and heartfelt, the hasty progression of the relationship is somewhat unbelievable. It gave away some of the suspense and revealed too much about the story prematurely.

Though the climax is predictable, the fast-paced action and twists make it enjoyable.

The Black Orphan is a masterfully crafted, high-stakes thrilling chase in the bustling streets of Mumbai. It is a riveting tale that combines action, romance, and psychological depth. It’s a must-read for true crime enthusiasts.


I received a review copy from Blogchatter. This review reflects my honest and voluntary opinion.


Wordsopedia Rating 4/5


Title: The Black Orphan Author: S. Hussain Zaidi
Publisher: HarperCollins India Publication date: 8 May 2024
Genre: Fiction – Crime Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9789354899973 No. of Pages: 248

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the Author

S. Hussain Zaidi is a prominent Indian author, journalist, and screenwriter celebrated for his invaluable contributions to the world of crime reporting, investigative journalism, and storytelling. Born on February 28, 1962, in Mumbai, India, Zaidi has left an indelible mark on the literary and cinematic landscapes of India, particularly in the realm of crime and the Mumbai underworld.

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