What Did Tashi Do? by Anagsha Alammyan is a suspense novella about a young woman who is being blackmailed by an anonymous person using information and pictures she thought she had shared privately. I want to start off by saying that just because I gave this story three stars doesn’t mean it’s a bad story. There were a lot of things that I thought were really well done, but there were also a few things that fell flat for me. I think a lot of it comes down to personal preference. As much as I want to like these kinds of suspense stories, I never really enjoy them as much as I think I will. I think it might be time to admit that this simply isn’t the genre for me.
Now on to the details of the review and let’s start with the things I really enjoyed.
Alammyan does an amazing job capturing Tashi’s fear and desperation throughout the story. I think this was best captured in how the relationship between Tashi and her mother changes throughout the story. I found myself physically getting nervous and agitated as I was reading Alammyan’s amazing descriptions of Tashi’s emotions. This is just a really well written story overall.
There were three major areas where the story fell flat for me. The first issue for me was the under development of the suspects. There are a few people that Tashi thought might be responsible for the blackmail that were touched upon briefly in the story. The reader is given some quick insight into them before the story moves on and they aren’t really brought up again. I would have liked to see this developed more so that as a reader I could really get invested in trying to figure out who the blackmailer was. When the blackmailer was finally revealed I didn’t really have any kind of emotional reaction because I wasn’t invested in the potential suspects.
The second thing that didn’t really sit well with me was the way the police acted. Now I understand that this might come down to cultural differences since I have no idea how police in India operate, but I found their behavior really unrealistic.
And finally, I felt like the story was missing the pay off. This one is a little harder to explain, because I don’t mean that it doesn’t have a good or realistic ending. In fact, I really enjoyed the way the story ended and how Tashi handled it. I don’t remember where I saw it or exactly how it was worded, but it’s a piece of writing advice that has really stuck with me. It’s comes down to don’t put a gun in the story if no one is going to get shot. This pretty much sums up how I was left feeling after reading this story. Throughout the story the blackmailer makes several threats to release graphic images of Tashi to friends, family, coworkers, and the internet at large, but in the end, there is no follow through on any of those threats. At one point he does post her information on an escort site, but quickly takes it down. I would have liked to see him follow through more on those threats.
Overall if you like physiological suspense stories you will probably really enjoy What Did Tashi Do? but, despite being very well written, it just wasn’t the right book for me.