This query letter resulted in a publishing contract with MediaAria CDM for his debut novel, THE COLONY OF ROSES, due out in late 2015.
Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is Ron Chatterjee. I live near Princeton NJ, did my undergraduate and graduate work in comparative studies at Rutgers University and teach at a local high school. However, this is about my unpublished mystery novel/literary thriller, “The Colony of Roses.” If I have to sum it up in one sentence, I would say that it is the Indian answer to the “The Cider House Rules” in the body of a mystery/thriller and with an ending that looks very much like “Young Guns,” sorry about the slightly dated references. For context, I was born in India, but have lived most of my life here in the United States. As a result, what you have is a very unusual India-centric story encompassing topics such as abortion and homosexuality. Other than that, it is an assortment of multiple tales of dysfunction and a vehicle for my satirical observations on life.
The story is set in the late sixties in a small town in the eastern part of India, where the left, right and the ultra-left fight for political space and the progressive and fast changing laws of the land regarding things such as abortion and divorce are utterly disconnected from the lives of the masses. In this setting, Pramothesh Banerjee, a decorated homicide detective in his early forties retires from the force tormented by his guilt from botching up a murder investigation leading to the wrongful conviction and execution of two innocent people. As his life begins to unravel, he receives a mysterious note from his uncle, a high-ranking judge in colonial India, who in his own retirement had established a reform colony called the “Colony of Roses.” The story revolves around Pramothesh’s seventy two hours-long frenzied excursion into the macabre world of the colony and the surrounding town. To begin with, he finds his uncle shot to death, and true to the genre, the homicide detective in charge of the case, dutifully co-opts him into his investigating team, without which of course, no thriller in this whole wide world would ever be written. From there, the story picks up pace and people start dropping dead left and right…..and center. Next to go is a man, with a history of blackmail and extortion, then Pramothesh’s aunt, then the blackmailer’s dad and then two others. The investigation takes Pramothesh to an assorted cast of characters including a douche of a Godman, a group of left-wing loons, Adam Smith’s Godson, his uncle’s other family, the prostitute with the proverbial heart of gold, a wacky professor, an “abortion doctor” who is also a straight man living in his self-constructed closet, to name a few. In the middle of everything, Pramothesh meets the woman of his dreams, is accused of the same crimes by the suddenly not-so-fawning police inspector and is forced to face his demons in a haunting, “Eyes Wide Shut”-like dream sequence. Even though it is a period piece, the abortion debate is not cliché and unlike “The Cider House Rules,” there are no fifteen year old victims of incest; instead, there are only flawed individuals, doing irresponsible things, but sometimes ending up with more than their fair share of grief in life. The fast moving story changes color many times and the high octane ending captures not only its dysfunction and despair but also its hope and optimism with Pramothesh finally being able to exorcise his demons and come to terms with his being.
Anyway, this is my best attempt at describing what my story is about and I am attaching the first fifty pages of my manuscript. Please let me know if there is any further interest.