Review Pen: Lipstick by Vish Dhamija

lipstick by vish dhamija

Author– Vish Dhamija

Book– Lipstick

Previous WorksUnlawful Justice, Bhindi Bazaar, The Mogul, Heist Artist


DCP Rita Ferreira is called into the investigation after a third corpse is discovered in Mumbai, which confirms it is the work of the same killer who paints his victims’ lips with dark red lipstick. The Lipstick Killer, like all serial killers, is fast decompensating – the time interval between the murders shortening, the victims shifting from street-side hookers to high-heeled wives …

And he watches everything and everyone – the news of his exploits, Rita, the investigation – and talks. However, he only talks to you:

‘When I’m gone, some people may tell you that I was evil, perhaps even call me a psychopath. Don’t believe them. I am not. I am anything but irrational and impractical; perhaps only slightly more detached than your average guy on the street.’


Lipstick by Vish Dhamija is a crime thriller set in the suburbs of Mumbai, where a serial killer starts murdering women, after brutal torture masked in form of sexual pleasure The case is passed on to DCP Rita Ferreira when the killer’s victim number strikes three, and the choice takes a turn. The book deals with a killer who sexually assaults women, takes their life and leaves no evidence behind. The team reaches a dead end when no strand of DNA is recovered from crime scene. When the DCP addresses the media, the killer feels mocked and the next murder takes place way too soon. The story is all about Rita’s hustle to find the string that ties the killer to his choice of victims and the struggle to save the next one in time.

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This book provided me with all the entertainment I needed. The fast pacing thriller combined with the author’s storytelling was nothing less than a treat. The best part was the story from the perspective of the killer. The thoughts of the damaged mind, which tried to rationalize its judgments. The killer wasn’t about making anything right, he wasn’t about punishing anyone, or to show women their place, which happens to be the thinking of the culprits in most books with crimes against women. The killer was so much indulged in his agenda that human lives felt rather meaningless for him. The measures he took all his life, to seem normal. Building his life around lies, just so he could be himself in secrecy, that is some real evil.

I have read Vish Dhamija’s books before, and they are usually a treat because he always solves the mystery. He doesn’t make random revelations that would help his case. He doesn’t make it easy for himself. This book follows the same routine. It presents the reader with a puzzle, and after a good part, he gives the answer to the puzzle, step by step. He reveals the way to the reader, just like he is solving the case on his own.

The book may be read with all other books featuring Rita Ferreira, or can be read as a stand-alone. It has the glimpses of her personal life and the uncertainty of her future.

The cover is a well-designed one with the DCP’s silhouette being center of attention. The kind that gives the perfect thriller vibe.

Ratings- 4 stars out of 5

I loved everything about the book, except the appearance of a big knife, which was said to be a routine object in all the deaths but only came into light at the last. You can never know something exists, unless its there, and there was no mention of a knife because all victims died of strangulation.

If anyone loves thrillers, this book has all the reasons for them to read it.

Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini

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