Book Review: Strangers With Known Faces by Gautam Dutta

Title: Strangers With Known Faces
Author: Gautam Dutta

Place of Publication: Gurgaon, India

Publisher: Invincible Publishers

Date of Publication: Jan 1, 2016

Number of Pages: 257 Pages

ISBN: 978-93-86148-16-2

Genre: Thriller (Conspiracy)

About the Author:

Gautam Dutta is an academician by profession, and has been associated with various universities, both in India and abroad. He has an unflinching thirst for knowledge and is interested in eclectic topics like Science, Psychology, Philosophy and International Geopolitics.

He is currently associated with Manipal University, Jaipur as an Assistant Professor in the department of Electronics and Communication.

You can contact the author on his Facebook page or mail him at-


Rajat, Meenakshi, Sadaaf, Amol, and Shanaya are five University students with nothing in common- who should never have met in the first place. They meet after winning a lucky draw- the prize of which was to take part in a puzzle game. Though the game was engrossing, they were unable to solve the puzzle in the stipulated time. However, this lead to the beginning of a deep friendship between them. Their friendship blossomed. But ego and misunderstanding led to an acrimonious break up. They meet again- two decades later- when Shanaya is murdered, and the other four are suspects. The four soon realize that in spite of being estranged for so many years, there were unknown ties that bound them- ties of treachery, deceit, and subterfuge. Ties that have led them to come together in circumstances that no one could have foreseen. And the game that they had left incomplete two decades back has to be played yet again – on a much bigger canvas. Now they have to trust each other, clear their names, and get to the bottom of the mystery, which threatens not only their lives and relationships, but also the fabric of democratic India. As their travels and travails continue, they discover hitherto unknown facets of the people around them, as well as their own selves. Can they succeed in resolving the puzzle this time? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? As hidden aspects of the human personality are revealed, they realize that no one is what he or she appears to be. For the world comprises of ‘Strangers With Known Faces’.


After finishing Strangers With Known Faces by Gautam Dutta, one will definitely want to grab a copy of his next novel as soon as it comes out.

The murder of Shanaya Mishra leads on to the unravelling of a vast conspiracy behind it for which the four other protagonists come forward and help to solve the mystery, each with a different skill set.

A common theme for a conspiracy thriller is when a character uncovering the conspiracy encounters difficulty ascertaining the truth amid the deceptions; rumors, lies, propaganda, until the conspiracy and co-incidence becomes entangled.

According to me, the theme of the book is very much justified.

For once, it’s almost unbelievable that it is the debut of the author.

The writing piece is based on the year 2030 and ahead. Five friends with no connection in relevance to career get closer; get apart due to circumstances and the choices and mistakes they make in life and finally get busy with their own lives progressing slowly but steadily until their names come up during a scandal involving a murder of one of them and now they have to come together to solve the mystery. That is when we see how useful it to be friends who belong to different fields.

The story is also about listening to your heart, making terrible choices and proving how it all gets better in the end. It’s about love and betrayal. It’s about broken friendships and mended souls. It is also about the dirty politics and obsession.

Everyone around you wears a mask and it never really wears off. There are layers after layers piled up and you think you know them but they’re just strangers with known faces.

The title very well justifies the content.

There are minor editing mistakes which are ignorable but would be nice if they’re taken care of in the next edition!

The cover of the book could have been more engaging. Although, it satisfies the title name, it could have been more attractive.

I personally believe that the chapters to the character’s lives should have been little equally distributed. For example, Rajat Sahay’s story is six chapters while Anmol’s story is only one, from being the most to least, respectively.

There are a few lines from the book I admire—

  • “You could get away with it because that was a virtual world. Things are easy when you sit in one corner of the world, and not show your real self to others.”

  • “Life throws different people together. Many times for a reason; and at other times for a season. During the time they are together, they stay, play, laugh, cry, sing and dance and enjoy, but all that ends one day. Each one goes his own way. They remain neither friends, nor enemies but simply become strangers with known faces.”

Cover Ratings: 3.5/5

Title Ratings: 4.8/5

Editing: 3.5/5

Storyline: 4/5

Overall Ratings: 3.9/5


Shivani Shah


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