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The Iron Bra

(The first book in the Mumbai Noir series)
A novel by

The daughter of a disgraced undercover police officer tries to clear her father's name by waging war against the Mumbai underworld.

He was less than 20 feet away from Sheila now, his dark face blackened by the windshield. He saw her raise the gun and take aim and he gunned the accelerator.

Sheila gripped the gun in her left hand and her left hand in her right, her palm tight against the grip of the heavy revolver, and squeezed until the gun exploded once, twice.

The first bullet blew a hole in the windshield, sending spider-cracks in the glass shooting outwards from the entry point. It hit the driver, giggling safari suit, in the Adam's apple. He made a loud choking sound that carried above the sounds of traffic and was audible to Sheila, then he fell forward, his head hitting the cracked windshield. The glass, cracked but held together by the sheet of tinted plastic, fell outwards onto the street. The van, the dead man's foot still pressed on the accelerator, shot forward onto the pavement at a speed of at least 50 km per hour, straight at her. This sudden movement made her second bullet miss, pinging off the roof of the van, gouging a long deep furrow in the metal with a high-pitched scraping whine.

The van roared at her like a mad white bull blinded and in pain. Like a torero, she stepped aside and the vehicle growled past, the left door-handle tapping her hip as it went. The van left a remarkably straight thick line of blood on the pavement. The dead driver's head hung out of the windshield, blood gushing out of the blasted artery down the front of the van and down.

The van hit the side of the building behind Sheila with a whump that made her clench her teeth and sent pedestrians screaming in all directions. The endless flow of traffic and the large crowds entering and exiting the station across the street began to stop and turn and stare and exclaim and shout and -

Sheila turned and walked to the van. The engine was still running, the wheels grinding the pavement, sending little showers of gravel and dust flying up, like a bull with his horns embedded in a post kicking and flailing furiously. Then the engine turned over and stalled, the vehicle shuddering to a halt. The roof had crumbled in front, the windows shattered on either side but still held together by the tint screens.

The passenger door in front opened. The man next to safari suit fell out, vomiting on the pavement. He was bleeding on the face and the right hand. He had his gun, but Sheila shot him before he could lift it. He spun around on the left foot, a jazz ballet dancer pirouetting in a real-life version of Eva Mumbai Ma Chal Jayo, the Gujarati adaptation of Westside Story, and collapsed on the pavement.

The rear windshield exploded outwards in a shower of glass shards. Shells felt hot wind sear her right shoulder and dropped to her left knee. She squeezed off two more shots, the bullets punching rupee-sized holes in the body of the van. She waited. Nothing happened.

She got up slowly and walked to the van.

She caught the rear door and threw it open, sliding it back with force enough to slam it deafeningly.

He was inside, struggling to get a grip on the khukri.



Used availability for Ashok Banker's The Iron Bra

Paperback Editions

1993 : Paperback

Title: The iron bra
Author(s): Ashok Banker
ISBN: 8171671101 / 978-8171671106
Publisher: Rupa
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK