Killing Strangers


Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
302 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ram Gopal works in the field of information technology with an eye for global socio-political issues. In his debut novel, Killing Strangers, Ram explores how the dichotomy and conflict in the complex world we live in and the psychological underpinnings influence human behavior.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a stunning novel filled with political and religious realism; a tale of crime that poignantly addresses one of the ills of contemporary American society: mass shootings. Larry Watson is an ex-FBI agent who goes to Atlanta Tech Corridor for an interview for a security job. He makes sure he is early, but he is caught up in a mass shooting that leaves many victims in its wake while traumatizing the survivors. He gets into action, but can he catch the shooter? The story introduces readers to compelling characters who are suspects, each with a solid motive for the shooting: Alim Mubarak, an immigrant with the means, skills, and a strong desire for religious revenge; Dave Pruitt, an Asperger sufferer obsessed with guns; and Mark McCarthy, a successful businessman who inherits a questionable legacy from his father.

The narrative is suspenseful and the characters leap off the pages with life. They are multidimensional and written with fascinating details, and the author does an impeccable job when it comes to writing solid backdrops against which the story develops. The conflict moves from a social crisis to personal struggles, exploring the inner worlds of complex characters. The lead characters are high-profile individuals, each excelling in their field, each driven by a problem that can push them to violence. In addition to Ram Gopal’s meticulousness in writing characters that are real, the author writes prose that is engaging, flawless, and very descriptive. I particularly enjoyed the way this author translates human emotion into reality in the story that readers can resonate with, especially the sentiment of fear. Killing Strangers is a realistic story that shines a brilliant light on one of the ills that plague American society.

Romuald Dzemo

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a psychological thriller with likable characters and a gripping plot. Retired FBI agent Larry Watson makes sure he is early for his job interview. It is the first time he is setting foot in Atlantic Tech Corridor in the city’s Buckhead district, even if he has lived for decades in this city. He arrives in time to be caught up in a mass shooting. At fifty-five, Watson wants a new start in a security position. He finds himself in the middle of a crisis. But who is behind the shooting that leaves many dead and others traumatized?

This is an intelligently plotted and suspenseful novel, and Ram Gopal introduces sophisticated characters and suspects that will keep readers engaged as they keep on guessing. The opening is explosive and emotionally strong. I enjoyed the way the author writes the backgrounds of the characters, especially the suspects in the shooting incident; they are detailed and filled with disturbing facts. For instance, readers will learn that Dave Pruitt, a man obsessed with guns, has never felt comfortable looking at himself in the mirror as a child. But now, at twenty-five, he takes delight in looking at himself in the mirror. Mark McCarthy is the CEO of Maverick Investments and someone driven by the desire to live up to his father’s vision. Alim Mubarak is a gifted forty-three-year-old computer engineer with strong ties to the Committee of Light and a man with a burning need for revenge.

The author crafts strong motivation in these characters, making them real and genuinely flawed. I adored Ram Gopal’s ability to create characters that are not only realistic but capture and keep the attention of readers. The writing in Killing Strangers is gorgeous, and it is littered with engaging dialogues. This is a novel that contemporary readers can appreciate with themes of mass shootings, religious intolerance, and radical Islamic terrorism; it also has deep psychological underpinnings.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a psychological thriller with a difference. Hundreds of people are caught in the crossfire as a gunman opens fire at the Atlanta Tech Corridor and it's down to Larry Watson, a retired FBI agent who has gone for a job interview, to dive into action. This is the story of three men, three suspects in the shooting. Mark McCarthy is the founding CEO of Maverick Investments, desperately trying to fulfill his father’s prophecy. Alim Mubarak is an immigrant from Iraq, desperate to be seen as one of the good ones. And Dave Pruitt has Asperger’s and a strong obsession with guns. Which one is responsible for the shooting? All three stories intertwine with the shooting as motives become clear in a story with a backdrop of racial hatred, radical Islam, and mass shootings across the country.

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a thought-provoking story with a plot that is highly relevant to the world we live in today. It’s not a straightforward thriller, as the story starts with a mass shooting and then we discover who the three primary suspects are. All three stories are defined separately, along with that of the main protagonist, Larry Watson. Through a well-developed plot, their stories come out and begin to intertwine as the story weaves its action-packed way to the climax. The characters are incredibly well-developed, evolving into people we can relate to on one level or another and the story is written in a way so that you can’t help but feel as though you are there. This is a complex tale but delivered in a straightforward, easy-to-read way with plenty of suspense along the way. If you like psychological or any other type of thriller, you will love this one.

Christian Sia

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a thriller with a powerful conflict and strong plot points, a tale of a mass shooting featuring original and realistic, tough-as-nails, broken yet compelling characters. It starts with a mass shooting at the Atlantic Tech Corridor which leaves hundreds of people in trauma and a trail of dead bodies. Retired FBI agent Larry Watson arrives at the Atlantic Tech Corridor for his interview for a position in security and is caught up in the chaos. He gets into the action, but can he catch the shooter? What follows is a tale that presents compelling characters, each with a strong motive to commit the crime. Follow this story as the plot moves down unsuspecting avenues, leading readers to places they never expected to be.

Killing Strangers is tightly plotted and the writing is superb. The conflict is phenomenal, and the descriptions are stellar. Ram Gopal introduces characters that readers will enjoy in this outstanding crime novel, starting with Dave Pruitt, a man with an obsession with guns. Alim Mubarak, an immigrant from Iraq, carries a big grudge in his heart; from the outside, he looks calm and stable, an intelligent and gifted man. Then there is the CEO of Maverick Investments with big dreams of success. Each of these characters is well-written and compelling, each having emotional and psychological depth. Religious, political, family, and social themes are intelligently explored and the author creates a setting that perfectly fits contemporary American society with its problems and challenges. Killing Strangers is a mesmerizing, character-driven story with neck-jerking twists; the kind of book that keeps readers turning the pages.

Rabia Tanveer

Killing Strangers by Ram Gopal is a psychological thriller with high-octane action and brilliantly composed characters. Larry Watson, an ex-FBI agent was looking for a career change. An interview at Atlanta Tech Corridor for a security position was the perfect opportunity for him to start anew. However, before his interview could begin, the building was infiltrated by active shooters. Larry was the only source of information from the inside and FBI was ready to do whatever it took to end this situation before it escalated even more. There are three possible suspects but who is the real person behind this shooting? Will Larry find the culprit before it is too late?

Killing Strangers was filled with fantastic action! I loved the thrill and suspense the author created around Dave and the shooting incident. I enjoyed reading the different POVs and how the narrative switched with each POV. Larry Watson was perhaps the sharpest and the bravest man in the whole story. He kept his head in the game and focused on getting evidence. Each character got to tell their story, and the readers got to experience their lives. Author Ram Gopal gave detailed backgrounds on the characters which allowed the readers to get immersed in the story. Gopal did a great job creating plausible doubt and then tied everything up at the end for a wonderful finale that left this reader very entertained!