New Delhi: Nikhil Pradhan picked up a worn-out copy of Stephen King's "Christine" in school and since then he has been enthralled by the prospect of the unknown and the things that live there.
And now with the publication of his debut novel "Cold Truth", Pradhan has mostly King to thank, saying he helped him "survive as a teenager and thrive as a storyteller".
The book, published by HarperCollins India, is set in the exhilarating world of investigative journalism and seeks to break the boundaries of conventional crime-writing.
"Christine", published in 1983, is the story of a 1958 Plymouth Fury apparently possessed by supernatural forces.
In "Cold Truth", when 10-year-old Sakshi Prakash goes missing from East Delhi, almost no one, including the police, seems too concerned. Not until a curious journalist begins to ask questions.
Soon, she cracks open a can of worms, and what started as an innocuous investigation into corruption and systemic apathy begins to reek of a larger and terrifying conspiracy, as chilling secrets and long-dead skeletons tumble out.
Pieced together using police reports, detailed interviews, leaked emails, WhatsApp conversations and much more, Pradhan, who is into tech journalism, advertising and content marketing, takes readers from the bylanes of Delhi and the Communist bunkers of Russia to the frozen grounds of Antarctica.