Daaku: The Gangster’s Life picks up the story of Indo-Canadian gangster Ruby Pandher, the hero of Ranj Dhaliwal’s bestseller Daaku, as he recovers from a failed hit by some of his associates.
Violence, wild partying and flashy purchases mark Ruby’s comeback, as he tries to sideline his rivals and re-establish his dominance in the underworld. Still barely out of his teens, Ruby’s eyes and perspective are widened by the new contacts he makes, as he tries to measure up to – and then sideline – big-time gangster Khalsi. Joining forces with a sinister associate and sounding very much like the modern businessman, he sets out to expand his criminal enterprises – all while battling his conscious and wondering what a life outside the underworld would be like.
Meanwhile, life intervenes with a possibility of love for this hardcore gangster; and in Ruby’s brother Kam, who worships his bro’ and wants to follow in his footsteps – something Ruby knows he’s not equipped to do. Meanwhile, Ruby’s activities pull him deeper into the violent side of the world of Sikh temple politics.
Will Ruby’s heart open, or is the flashy lifestyle too much to tear away from? Can he stop Kam from following in his own footsteps? Most of all, can Ruby break the cycle and leave behind “The Life”?
Here’s what critics said about Daaku:
“A fascinating look into the gang world’s twisted morality, casual murder, commodification of women, and the inevitability of a violent demise.” – Quill & Quire
“A haunting parable about unfulfilled potential and lives wrongly lived. … an edgy, politically incorrect novel about South Asian youth and their vulnerability to organized crime, an issue treated far too simplistically by the mainstream media. Dhaliwal … has painted a grimly realistic portrait of the West Coast gangster life and the flash-and-burn trajectory of all those drawn into it.” –Vancouver Review
“An excellent novel about Indo-Canadian gangs. … A scary peek into a subculture about which we know nothing, a tour of Vancouver suburbs as alien as Mars, and Dhaliwal makes as believable as your own back yard.” – Margaret Cannon, Globe & Mail
Ranj Dhaliwal has been warning youth against the dangers of crime and gang life since shortly after his own teen years, and wrote Daaku(2006), which was widely praised for its unique insights into the Indo-Canadian gang culture. Recognized as a gang expert, Ranj Dhaliwal continues to speak on youth gangs and violence and is active in community politics in Surrey, where he lives. He is hard at work on the third volume of the saga of Ruby Pandher and his world.