Fiksyen 302 by Ramlee Awang Murshid

or translation…

LAN LANI, JIMMY YEOH, PRAKASH KUMAR and FARID JA’AH have brutally killed their victims. They do it in similar way. 302 was the numbers engraved on their victim’s forehead. After the deeds, they call the police and reported that the death sentence had been executed. When the enforcement arrived, they surrender in nude. However, their motives were shady. According to human psychology, those who plead guilty are mentally deranged. Thus the cases remained unsolved.

Year 2032 – Rita Yuzalina, a lawyer, was recruited into a secret project conducted by two psychiatry specialist to solve the murder cases. However, something went wrong. Mistaken identity. The past repeated itself. Even worse than anyone could have expected.

and the rest was author’s blurb but thats the exact translation of the book’s blurb which is quite interesting since I bought it last Wednesday and finished it just now after several attempts in reading it.

I’ve been having a phase of criminal psychology since last year’s case study on serial rapist and talk about forensic entomology with my professors and this book nearly hit that right spot (even I’ve been writing one but after third attempt, I kinda let it fermented on its own, it does get…. twisted and even more noirish than possible… but I will get back you about that much later) but the point is, as much as there’s undeniably too many gore and mysteriousness that centred among its multitude of characters. I still found the book somehow clichéd in some ways.

The meaning of “302” was actually the death penalty section in Malaysian jurisprudence system for first degree murder or conducting premeditated death of someone where  the consequences was death by hanging. The word ‘fiksyen’ or ‘fiction’ was defined as a prose literature and invention or fabrication as opposed to facts. The novel’s title can taken in anyways possible but it does explain itself in the book so I wouldn’t spare you the details.

The book is narrated by various point of views by more than twelve (?! I lost count after the tenth) characters. I suppose it does make the book appeared movie-like with flashbacks and fast forward and to be honest, its quite confusing. Five is minimal enough but more than ten?  Plus, I don’t know the other realize it or not, naming girls by repeating “N” and “Z” in their all their names can be quite confusing. Sometimes I don’t realize that certain dialogues was for the other girl until I reread the last few pages for the other character’s entrance into the book. Please, why can’t the girls be called by simpler names with other alphabets? Like I said, there’s multiple characters trying to be remembered. Generally I forget names right after I read  the books and other than simpler male names, I barely remember the names of the people in the book.

The writing style is simple and structured. There’s several poetic prose that I blink when I read them. Some of them made me displaced
Although the publisher had undertaken great slack to the cover of the novel with a white guy (?!) cropped including the photo-shopped picture of a guy named Zonan with the masquerade full mask (mistakenly called opera mask in this book, since the only well-known mask man in opera was The Phantom and he wore half mask) and put it on every chapter of the book. I actually wished the publisher just italic the whole changes in characters or when the time setting changed since and when scene change, I’m confused about the scene right after that. Well, its suppose to be confusing since its a mystery novel but its hard to find definite clues in the book. And then it went Fringe and become Criminal Mind and such that made me slightly less keen about the book.

At this point, I need to stop finding Olivia Dunham everywhere but….. …. .. you do know that last blurb is really really like Olivia. I don’t want to be spoil-sorts but that last quarter of book was season 3…. oh well..

Olive have became clichéd science fiction character that people like to base their character on even subconsciously in this century

I do appreciate the undertone of Dexter in the book. The amount of blood violence kept me interested even in clichéd malay female characters which one of them does surprised me at the end. Compared to other  psychological thriller books by Ramlee Awang Murshid, I like this book better than Ungu Karmila which most of the story about hallucination, redemption and romance. I do notice that the book does minimise RAM’s tendency too tell instead of showing it to the readers. Random science info-dumping titbits made me look around and wondered if this book have endorsement or something.

I noticed the deus ex machina that are prevalent in this book which is a bit disappointing. But its an okay book, and the ending doesn’t surprise me at all since I know some discrepancies in some middle scenes that made me guess the outcome. What? I read and watch too many procedural crime fiction anyway.

Final gist: Good writing and prose, confusing POVs but satisfyingly divided by movie scenes, does keep me guessing and occupied enough, doesn’t do cheap sex-filled bombs like some fake malay thriller do, some of the characters weren’t well-developed enough like the others, while the others that are prominent behave frustratingly the same that I expected their conclusions. Although I’m from the biological medicine field, I do amaze at the english to malay scientific translation work the author have on some terms. He must have a book or something.

Goodreads : 4

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