If fiction is inspired by reality and the things an author writes bring out the dark realities of the human civilization instead of the fictional fantasy world then the work is likely to be more realistic and appeal to the readers more strongly. This kind of strong portrayal of reality and truth in its stark form is found in Arjun Kacper’s “A False Alarm”. This book by the author, like his earlier work, “Deadliest Secret of Truth” has the elements of thriller and mystery which add on to make the writing a work worth reading.
The story revolves around the lives of two orphan sisters, Viola and Valentine Romano and the characters that they interact with. Kacper creates lively and exuberant characters not just in person but also in the language that they use. The language may be one factor that may restrict readers till a certain age from reading the book but that is the extent to which the author can go to showcase the reality. After all, that is the kind of language used by today’s generation.
Kacper creates Viola and Valentine as mirror images, placing them in contrast to one another in terms of their lives, the choices they make and the prospects they have in mind for themselves despite their beginning being the same. This makes their characters more stronger and convincing as the difference like siblings is not something that can be denied. Thereafter, there is also a difference among the men these two interact with and also their way of dealing with them. At the same time, the author works on the development of the other characters and the narrative is taken care of by each of them whenever they become the torchbearers. Whether it is the character of Finn, Owen or even the minor character of Oliver. Each character breathes a life of his own and the author remains absent in the events that take place. Nowhere does he seem to be pulling the strings and deciding their destiny for a moment, the readers may feel like action being performed in front of them for real.
Kacper explores the critical issue of human trafficking in his work. His characters, through a series of their dialogues, discuss among themselves how the victim girls have gone missing and how they will find out. What makes these girls a figure of sympathy is the fact that the can not hear neither can they speak, i.e they are deaf-mute. This brings out different emotions in the readers where at one place they feel worried and sad for them and at the same time angry at the ones who have done this. In this manner, Kacper manages to touch the different nerves of the readers and at the same time keeps them engaged throughout. This theme also makes the novel relevant at various social levels and the contemporaneity of the problem raised can not be overlooked at all.
Kacper creates a narrative that is complex and intricately woven in the initial stages of the book and later on he reveals the facts and the actual issue he is trying to highlight as the plot progresses further. The structure of the book may make the reader uneasy due to frequent shifts of narrative, but the calm and patience of the reader do pay off later. Kacper is known for his complex and well-knitted plots and in “A False Alarm” also, the narrative is woven on the lands of the cities of Italy, New York and MIami. The author may sound to be running towards different ends when developing the plot initially, but later on all that he had woven earlier makes sense and all the blanks are filled up. By setting the narrative in different countries, the author may be suggesting that the problem of human trafficking is not restricted to any particular country and can happen anywhere and can also be done by anyone who is close or distant.
The reader may try to decipher the meaning of the title, “A False Alarm” but it only begins to make sense once the reader has finished the book and thinks about it for a minute. Although, the author cleverly sows the seeds of the title making sense in the earlier section of the novel, but the readers get so engrossed in the work that they are unable to keep track of it. But that is what makes Kacper an artist in true sense.
A reader who looks for reading reality-based content in an unadulterated form should definitely try reading “A False Alarm” which is yet another entertaining work after “Deadliest Secret of Truth”. The content of the novel may be dark and may seem in the face sort of, but that is the reality and there is no denying that.