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Tips to become a succesful book blogger

No one has become a superstar blogger overnight.Recognition in blogosphere takes time and there are no short cuts for achieving instant success as a blogger.Read like there is no tomorrow and pen down your sincere thoughts in a lucid, organised and unpretentious manner.Your work will definitely get its due.

Blogadda-Quikr Shopping Fiesta: My Experience

It was like a slap on my face.Thankfully Arun was not there with me to witness by embarassement. I was all set to call him when some random piece of paper with a phone number written on it from my pocket caught my attention.

Book Review:Salvation Of a Saint

On the whole,’The Salvation Of Saint’ is a decent thriller.It may not be as racy as ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’,but still it’s a pretty good one.

Interview with Doctor-turned- Writer Deepal Kripal

Earlier this week,we chatted with Doctor-turned-Author,Deepak Kripal.He has authored 'The Devil's Tale:An impossible journey',published by Leadstart Publishers.In this candid interview,he tells us about his debut work,future plans,his journey as a writer and his other interests in life.

Private India: Book Review

On the whole,'Private India' by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi is a strictly average work.

October 23, 2019

Book Review:Believe Me by J.P Delaney


                         'Believe Me' was first published a few years back in another name by ad-man Tony Strong.The book was not a very big success and was soon forgotten. But after his new found success as the author of 'Girl Before' under the pseudonym, J.P.Delaney, he decided to extensively rewrite the book and the result is 'Believe Me'.
                         Claire is a small time actress who because of immigration issues is working for a divorce law firm.Her job is to entrap straying husbands.But when one of her clients get murdered and her husband becomes the prime suspect,the investigating team decides to make use of her talent to lure their suspect into a confession.But pretty soon, she realizes that she has fallen in love with her target.Is there a way out for her?
                        'Believe Me' aspires to be a psychological crime thriller(of the 'gone Girl','The Girl On The Train',kind).The Protagonist,Claire Wright,having a troubled past and personality issues is one with questionable intentions and the reader never truly 'trust' her or her actions.Patrick, her counterpart, the translator of controversial French Poet Charles Baudelaire, is also portrayed as a man with grey shades and dubious intentions.I kind of liked how J.P Delaney has tried to draw parallels between Claire's story and Baudelaire's life and his encounters with the women he loved.
                      To be very honest, the book works in bits and pieces.One of the many issues I have with this book is it's length and the illogical sequences. After a point,the whole set up looks quite artificial. Even the reason/circumstances leading to Claire going under-cover to trap the culprit is also hardly convincing.Delaney has tried to cover the logical issues in his plot by throwing twists at you in regular intervals. While some of them works, quite a few don't. Neverthless, this one is a decent thriller if a twisty,mindless psychological thriller is what you are looking for!

On the whole,I'm giving this one a 2.9 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

October 22, 2019

Mini Book Review: 19 Canal Road by Sreebala K Menon


19 Canal Road is an award winning collection of personal experiences of Sreebala K Menon, when she was a paying guest in Chennai.The book is a satirical take on life in Chennai in the late 90 s and has a host of characters who are funny as well as genuine.Though these write-ups first came in Gruhalakshmi almost two decades back and in the book form 16-17 years ago,it hasn't taken the life out of it.The book is indeed an interesting read!

-nikhimenon

October 20, 2019

Book Review: Best Seller by Ahmed Faiyaz


                     Indian writing in English (the popular/urban pulp kind) did get an enormous boost in the early 2000s, when Chetan Bhagat brought out his record breaking best seller, 'Five Point Someone'. It not only proved that there was a market for that kind of stuff (read urban fluff) but also paved way for many new publishing houses and revived quite a number of old ones.Best Seller from Ahmed Faiyaz is a satirical take on the new age Indian(English) Publishing arena and how things work out in the back end.
                    Akshay Mathur, is an out-of-work editor of a defunct literary magazine in UK.His debut work as an author has just flopped big time and he also has debt running to half a million in London.So when he is assigned to India to turn around Kalim, an ailing Indian Publisher, he is not left with too many choices.In a world of misfits and has-beens , Akshay has to work really hard to find his own voice. Also joining him in his mission are Anya Malik, the pretty lass,the practical and street smart Zorah Kalim , a Bollywood heart throb who wants to get his work published.Will Mathur succeed in his mission to turn Kalim into a leading publishing house?
                    Coming to the positives, Ahmed Faiyaz has written a fast paced,slick book which shows some light on the cut-throat world of Indian Publishing.There aren't too many characters and the overall tone of the book is largely light hearted.
                   On the downside,though the theme of the book had a lot of potential,for some strange reason,the author hasn't really bothered to go much deeper into the murkier world of publishing.The characters are quite shallow and one dimensional and for the large part of the book I couldn't fathom why the world was so seemingly obsessed with Mathur and his small publishing firm.

Overall I'm giving a 2.5 out of 5 for this book. It's a light,harmless read! 

-nikhimenon

October 19, 2019

Book Review- The Moving Shadow: Electrifying Bengali Pulp Fiction


                 

                  A few years back, Blaft released a book titled : The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction. If my memory is right, the book came out in two volumes and it apparently featured the English translations of  some of the most celebrated works of 70 s-80 s Tamil Pulp Fiction.I badly wanted to read those books then, but for some reason I have never been able to read them yet.
                The Moving Shadow, is a similar attempt on Bengali Pulp Fiction by the award winning translator ,Arunava Sinha (incidentally the jacket cover of both books are also strikingly similar).
                 The book is basically divided into two parts. While the first half is a collection of four crime stories written by some of the biggest names of Bengali Pulp(Premendra Mitra,Swapan Kumar,Vikramaditya,Muhammed Zafar Iqbal) , the second half (Satyajit Ray,Adirsh Bardhan,Gobindolal Bandhyopadhyay,Bhabhani Mukhopadhyay) comprises of an equal number of carefully hand picked horror stories. Though some of the stories were first written almost 60-70 years back (evident from the descriptions and the dates mentioned in them), they never fail to engage and intrigue the average reader.
                 Of the four crime stories featured in the first part, I liked the first one the most (Parashar Sharma makes a bid).It tells the story of a multi-millionaire and his spoilt son. The suspense was good and the climax twist was also un-predictable. The second story, ‘Moving Shadow’ about the escapades of a mad scientist, though too far fetched was also entertaining (provided you don’t take it too seriously).The third one, ‘The Secret Agent’, incidentally the longest one in this collection is some sort of a spy-crime-thriller which badly needed some better editing. It’s not only over-long but also gets monotonous after a point. There are too many characters also in the story which confuse the reader after a point.However the loose ends get tied neatly towards the end and the twist is also neatly done. Copotronic Love is about a robot which is madly in love with a woman. An illogical,yet interesting short story, this one is.
                 Among the four horror stories ('Bhuto','The Moon is Back','Saradindu and this body','Foreshadowed' featured in this book, my pick is 'Saradindu and this body',about a doctor with mental illness penned by Gobindolal Bandyopadhyay.The story has got a killer twist which manages to send a chill down your spine.
               Arunava Sinha deserves accolades for his wise selection of stories as well as for the translation which is quite neatly done. The language is pretty easy-to-read and the editing is also crisp.

On the whole, I’m giving a 3 out of 5 for this anthology. It’s a fun read!

-nikhimenon

October 14, 2019

Mini Book Review: Opening Night by Diksha Basu


                         Diksha Basu is better known for her satirical , moving take on Indian Urban Middle class,'The Windfall'. 'Opening Night'(2012), Basu's debut novel which came out much before her break out work is an average chic-lit ,at best. It is the story of twenty something Naiya Kapur and her life in Mumbai.
                     Naiya Kapur, our protagonist is a Non Resident Indian who after suddenly getting hit by the acting bug has migrated to Mumbai and is on the look out for that 'big break' in Bollywood.Sadly, as any other newbie (read the non-filmi background), she has to face multiple rejections and try her luck at 'dubious',sleazy auditions.Meanwhile she gets into a relationship with Jay, the ex-model-turned producer. 'Opening Night' is all about Naiya's tryst with page 3 parties, fake auditions,fame and her neurotic boyfriend.
                     If you have read the above para, you might have figured out by now that there is nothing that differentiates 'Opening Night' from the n-number of Bollywood chick-lit works which came out in the earlier part of this decade.That exactly is the problem with this book.I myself have read atleast half a dozen books with similar story line.But to give Diksha due credit,'Opening Night' by and large maintains it's light hearted tone and never takes itself too seriously.It is a harmless,light read .Nothing more,nothing less!

On the whole,I'm giving it a 2.75 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

October 13, 2019

Mini Book Review: Murder Games by James Patterson & Howard Roghan


                     I am no big fan of the assembly line thrillers that come out of the James Patterson syndicate. As a matter of fact, I try to avoid them as far as possible since most of the recent works from the JP factory (books written by one of his many collaborators , but invariably featuring 'his' name in 'bigger fonts' in the jacket cover)have been pretty medicore. I picked up 'Murder Games'(also published as 'Instinct' in some territories) as it had been recently made into a successful television show. I must say that the book turned out to be much better than I expected.
                   The setting and the basic premise are pretty generic.There is a serial-killer on the run and our protagonist ,Elizabeth Needham is an NYPD detective who is in charge of this case .She turns to the brilliant professor, Dr Dylan(whose book on criminal behaviour the killer seems to be following) for help .Meanwhile the upstate tabloids have found a nick name for the killer, "The Dealer".Murder Games is basicallt the cat-and-mouse game between "The Dealer" and our investigators-Elizabeth and Dr Dylan.
                  The twists were interesting and the climax was also pretty decent.I kind of liked how the author(s) etched out Dr Dylan's personal life.Like anyother book from the JP syndicate, the language is pretty easy-to-read and the chapters are also short.

On the whole, I'm giving it a 3 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

October 5, 2019

QBR: Suspicion by Friederich Durrenmatt

                                                   
   
                                                       Suspense
                                                       156 + pages
                                                       Pushkin Vertigo
                                                       Originally Published in 1962
                                                       RT Rating: 3.2/5

This work first came out in the 1950's, almost two decades ago, but still it makes for an interesting read. 

The Verdict:This vintage thriller is quite an engaging read!
Synopsis: Inspector Barlach is suffering from Cancer. He notices that a successful Swiss Surgeon bears a striking resemblance to an infamous war criminal.Suspicion is Barlach's journey to un-mask the criminal hiding in plain sight. Or is it all a ploy by someone with vested interests?

The Good:the setting, the characters,suspense

The Bad:predictable at times
RecommendationsBorrow it!

-nikhimenon

Mini Book Review: Kattima by Jayan Shivapuram


'Kattima'  is the kind of book which looks like something but ends up being something else altogether. If you go by it's cover, in all probability you might get deceived into believing that it's a work of detective fiction. I'm sorry to say that it's neither a time pass enjoyable pulp nor a flawless literary gem. I seriously don't know to which category this one belongs to(or who will enjoy reading this kind of stuff,for that matter). At the end of 150 pages or so, what I was left with was sheer exhaustion and absolute boredom!

The plot goes something like this-Devi Aunty is found killed in her room with the murder weapon (a shining butcher's knife is also lying close by) and her roommate, a twenty something girl tries to figure out who (what) killed her beloved aunty. From here, rather than going into a full on investigation mode or an interesting character study, the narrative meanders on through the girl's memories and about the sexual escapades of a lady named Rajamma!

To give it's due, the novel had a killer opening sequence.Nothing less,nothing more!

I'm giving this a 2 out of 5.

-nikhimenon


Book Review: Kapalam by Dr B Umadathan


            I had read Umadathan Sir's 'Oru Forensic Surgeon nte Ormakurippikal'(Memoirs of a Forensic Surgeon), a few years back  which was undoubtedly one of the few authentic works pertaining to Forensic Science which had come out in Malayalam till then.The book basically was a memoir and dealt with some of the cases Umadathan sir had solved during his service. 'Kapalam'(The Skull) is it's follow up which has been brought out by D.C.Books (incidentally the book came out soon after Dr Umadethan's death in July, 2019).Unlike it's predecessor, this one is a fictionalised version of fifteen other cases which Dr Umadethan had worked on. 
            Forensic Surgeon Dr Unnikrishnan,his wife Mrs Mani ,Chief Chemical Examiner and Investigator Hari are the recurring characters featuring in the fifteen stories in this book. Though the book claims to be a fictionalised take on some of the cases which Dr Umadathan had worked on during his life time, it's pretty evident that most of the characters in these stories are fictional replicas of real-life personalities. 'Kapalam' has 15 'stories' of criminal investigation ranging from poisoning,fire-arm homicides and deliberate self harm.
            The writing is quite crisp and fast paced and never lets you down.Though some might find the repetition of some basic tests(diatom,DNA ,nitrate test) and techniques in some stories irritating, it's pretty fine, considering the limited resources the investigators have at their disposal,especially in a resource limited setting.
             The book covers some important aspects of forensic criminal investigations like diatom tests (traditional test, but still very effective), Haemoglobin analysis, forensic toxicology, DNA Fingerprinting and chemical analysis of viscera.The descriptions and explanations are never over-long and don't tire the reader at any point of time.

On the whole, 'kapalam' is an engaging read.

-nikhimenon 

October 4, 2019

Mini Book Review: Letters to My Ex by Nikita Singh


At times, You pick up a book , knowing fully well that you might not relate to it in any ways, but still try your luck with it. 'Letters to My Ex' was one such book for me and frankly speaking,this one didn't entertain or engage me in anyways.

Basically this one is written in the form of letters between two ex-lovers(no prizes for guessing that!)and through these, the readers also get to know what happened to their relationship and why the young couple broke up in the first place. Totally predictable and intermittently annoying, this work might work with teenage readers. For the rest of us, this one is a safe skip!

I'm giving this one a 2 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

October 3, 2019

Mini Book Review: Shareera Shasthram by Benyamin


'Shareera Shasthram' is quite different from Benyamin's earlier works. Unlike his previous books(Goat Days,Jasmine Days),this one is more of a crime novel and tries to trace the organised conversion and crime happening in the name of religion.The story begins with the accident of Midhun, a youngster who gets hit by a mysterious vehicle and dies in the hospital later.His friends Sandhya, Rajesh, Pretty set out to find the truth behind his death only to realize later that their lives are also in danger.

Positives- This one is a decent crime novel and also explores some hitherto unexplored aspects of organised religion,the language is easy to read

Negatives- the pace slackens a bit at times,some loopholes in the plot,there is nothing 'new' in the motive!

-nikhimenon

September 16, 2019

QBR: Sidney Sheldon's Morning,Noon &Night

                                                        Suspense
                                                       372 + pages
                                                       Originally Published in 1997
                                                       RT Rating: 3.5/5


This work first came out almost two decades ago, but still it hasn't become dated and manages to be a racy read. Sidney Sheldon was truly the 'Mr Blockbuster' and will remain to be so and I can confidently say that no Tilly Bagshawe or James Patterson can replicate Sheldon.

The Verdict:On the whole,Morning,Noon& Night is  racy,entertaining pulp.
Synopsis: The Great Harry Stanford, one of America's richest businessman has drowned mysteriously while cruising on his yacht.He was never fond of his three children during his lifetime and soon a young lady appears claiming to be his illegitimate child and a share of his fortune. Is she an imposter?
The Good:enough twists and turns which makes it a racy read.
The Bad:the characters are quite shallow and you never get to invest in them that much.
RecommendationsBuy it!

-nikhimenon 

September 12, 2019

Mini Book Review: Padinjare Kaalam Chorakkalam by G.R Indugopan

     
  G.R Indugopan is one of the new age writers in Malayalam whose works are absolutely engaging reads.Padinjare Kalam Chorakkalam is his latest work which explores the dark underbelly of Kollam.In this world inhabited by rowdies and goons, Indugopan weaves in three delightful stories which dabbles with the themes of lost love,redemption and revenge.The three novellas have a couple of recurring characters and as a result the book jacket (published by DC) claims that this one is a novel! Neverthless, this book is an absolute delight to read and my pick of the lot is the third novella, 'Shankhumukhi'. It traces the story of underworld Kingpin,'Binu' and his/her escapades(spoiler alert!).I is funny,poignant and cinematic.On the whole, I am going with 3.5 out of 5 for this book.Indugopan's prose is simple,relatable and highly readable.Looking forward to his next work!

-nikhimenon

Book Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Book Cover

The 'Lying Game' is a 2017 thriller by Ruth Ware. Much like her previous works, this one also has an atmospheric setting and a good mix of interesting characters with grey shades and relies heavily on their antics to take the story forward.

Thea, Kate,Fathima and Isa are four childhood friends.They used to play a secret game in their childhood-the lying game!Seventeen years later, all of them receive a text message from Kate which says that she needs to meet them all urgently.At the drop of a hat, the three of them rush to meet Kate(!),only to witness some bizarre experiences at Kate's 'Tide Mill'.Pretty soon they realize that their past is catching up and it has something to do with the disappearance of Kate's beloved father, Ambrose and their expulsion from the Salten boarding school, all those years ago.

The Protagonist is Isa and the story is being told from her perspective.The supporting cast include Isa's toddler Freya, her friends Kate,(step)brother Luc,friends Fathima and Thea and a few others.The basic problem with this book is that while Ware has invested so much time and pages in getting her characters right, she has forgotten to add some layers and twists to the story.The 'Lying Game' angle is also forgotten after the initial gimmicks(the school re-union scenes)!  Things get highly predictable and boring after the first hundred pages or so and the overall length of the book at 370+ pages doesn't help in making the proceedings racy or interesting either!

Ruth Ware gets her setting right, the claustrophobic premise is quite unsettling and to be very frank, the episode involving the dead goat is also quite scary.But from then,the story goes downhill , the next 350 pages or so is sheer boredom.The narrative gets some life again only towards the last ten pages or so,by then the reader has totally lost interest in what Mrs Ware has got to say. The basic problem with the book is that it has only one genuine suspense to tell and the entire plot is an excuse to reach that point!

On the whole, I am giving it a 2.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

July 17, 2019

Book Reviews: Mystic Mountain , 307.47


               Malayalam Pulp Fiction is going through a golden phase now. More and more youngsters are bringing out their works and mainstream publishers are picking them up without any inhibitions (there used to be a phase when A-List Malayalam publishers kept a 'safe' distance from 'popular/pulp' writers and wanted 'nothing' to do with their 'works') .They are not only vocal about their works in the online platforms but also aggressively cross promote each other's works. It won't be an overstatement to say that Malayalam popular fiction is witnessing what desi writing in English experienced in the 'Chetan Bhagat' phase (ofcourse, Chetan Bhagat is still hanging around, but the many pale imitations have slowly faded out,by now!).This week, we are reviewing two books which are making waves in the social media- Mystic Mountain by Sree Parvathy and 307.47 by Ashish Ben Ajay. In more ways than one, both these works have a couple of things in common.
               Mystic Mountain is a novel which tries to explore Devil worship, Lesbian Love and adventure travel. Thara and Agnes are a lesbian couple who are madly in love with each other and desperately want to start a life together.To tide over her personal crisis, Agnes decides to go for an adventure trip to Mount Aleena with her friends but there she chances upon a mysterious church (church of insanity) and decides to go after the secret behind this abandoned Church. But little did she know that the place had been taken over by dark forces. 
            On a concept level, this theme/one-line might sound exciting.But the plain narrative and below par treatment makes this one a not-so-pleasant reading experience.
             Plagued by poor character development, a back story heavily borrowed from a Malayalam Comedy Film (the track from 'Romans'), illogical plot twists and loopholes in the narrative (the entry of Devasi Achan, the 'conveniently placed' mobile phone in the climax , the 'keys' appearing from nowhere, to name a few),'Mystic Mountain' ends up as a royal mess. The scenes depicting the Devil worship are so unimaginatively written that they end up being cringe worthy and outright boring.

On the whole, I'm giving it a 2 out of 5.

             Asish Ben Ajay's 307.47 is a work which tries to blend different genres. It has elements of horror, travelogue and mystery.The plot goes something like this-Abhisekh is a young banker who has recently got transferred to Kochi. There , he chances upon a book written by someone named Asish Ben Ajay which basically is an account of the travel which Asish and his friends had made to Munnar (Chinnacanal).Not very much later, Abhisekh and his friends also decide to go on for a pleasure trip to Munnar (Chinnacanal). In the course of the journey, Abhi soon realises that they are also going through the same experiences, as described in the book, one by one!
          Coming to the positives, this book is undoubtedly a light and easy read.For the most part, 307.47 works well as an atmospheric ,suspenseful read.
The illustrations accompanying the text deserve special mention.It did help in elevating the reading experience to a great extend.
          On the downside, the book is not devoid of flaws either.A travelogue becomes more enjoyable when it describes places we haven't been quite acquainted with.But when it's about familiar places, you don't 'feel' much about it.In that sense, it didn't quite work for me.The mystery about the 'Thamizhathy' was also quite predictable.The climax and tail end portions could have been better thought out, though!

I'm giving it a 2.7 out of 5. Asish Ben Ajay is a promising talent as far as Malayalam Popular Fiction is concerned!


-nikhimenon

July 13, 2019

QBR: The Wicked Go to Hell by Frederic Dard

                                                       Noir/Thriller
                                                       152+ pages
                                                       Pushkin Vertigo (2017)
                                                       RT Rating: 3.5/5

The Verdict: 'The Wicked Go to Hell' is a classic tale of friendship, betrayal and redemption.
Synopsis: Two Convicts escape from a high security prison.The police is after them but they have succesfully deceived them so far. But there is one small issue- one of the escaped prisoners is a police mole himself.Will 
The Good:The setting is perfect, the narrative is fast paced, the suspense is terrific and the ending is quite unexpected 
The Bad:Nothing really!

RecommendationsBuy it!

-nikhimenon

July 3, 2019

Book Review: The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt


                 The Pledge is a classic Novella by the Swiss Author ,Friedrich Durrenmatt, recently re-released by Pushkin Vertigo.Though on the face of it, it's a crime /mystery thriller, it's much more than that and delves more into the obsession of a criminal Investigator.
                The story is narrated by a character named Dr H (the former chief of Zurich Police) to a writer(who remains unnamed) of detective fiction. It's basically a tale of a man's (Matthai's) solitary search for a serial killer. A young girl, Gritli is found murdered in the woods close to a Swiss Mountain Village and a local felon is arrested for the crime.But Matthai is convinced that the real killer is someone else and he might also have been responsible for two similar murders which happened a couple of years back. Matthai's hunt for the real killer doesn't yield fruitful results and soon his obsession takes him to borderline insanity. How Matthai overcomes his obsession and how he manages find the truth behind the murder is what 'The Pledge' is all about. 
                The Pledge is what can be called as a realistic take on detective stories. Durrenmatt's disdain for formulaic crime novels which proceed like mathematical equations with a definite solution is pretty evident through out. Infact, the origin of this novella itself stems to the fact that Friedrich was unhappy with a formulaic screenplay he had written for a crime thriller film!
                The characterisation of Matthai is flawless. An aloof ,highly intelligent man who values his 'pledge' more than anything else is what Matthai is. It's brilliant characterisation which makes us root for him and it's again these character traits which makes his obsession look convincing.There aren't many other characters in this book and the climactic reveal is also decently done.
                What makes this book a masterpiece is the author's brilliant vision and his razor sharp observations about formulaic mystery thrillers. Most of his observations remain true to the day and it's quite difficult to believe that this book was written almost 60 years ago!

On the whole, I'm giving a 4 out of 5 for this work!

-nikhimenon

July 2, 2019

Mini Book Review: Dork-The Adventures of Robert Einstein Varghese



                    Sidin Vadukut's 'Dork' is a book which came out in 2010, at a time when the Indian writing in English for the young Urban readers was 'trending'. I had chanced upon this book soon after it's release, but for some reason, never felt like picking it up for reading. But after all these years, finally managed to get a copy and finished reading it in a couple of sittings.
                  As the title suggests, Dork is all about the adventures of Robert Einstein Varghese, soon after he joins his new office.How he manages to get into the company, how he bonds with his fellow team-mates and what happens to his non-existent love life with Gouri.Written in the form of diary entries, Dork is the kind of book which works in parts. For a satire which doesn't have a plot per se, the writing should be sharp and witty for it to work. But 'Dork' is only funny in parts and doesn't manage to be a laugh out loud kind of work.
                 The book begins well, but once the novelty wanes, the diary entries did get monotonous and even plain boring. so ,by the time Robert manages to be an 'associate' following an illogical  'twist',neither the reader nor his team-mates do care much about it!

On the whole, I 'm giving it a 2.5 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

June 24, 2019

Mini Book Review: Don't Let Go by Michel Bussi


                   Michel Bussi's 'After the Crash' was an International Best Seller which had a unique theme. I had reviewed it here, sometime back. 'Don't Let Go' is another gem from this French story teller which has enough twists and turns to surprise you.
               Marshal Bellion and Liane Bellion are on a holiday in the reunion Island with their Six year old daugher, Josapha Bellion. But Liane Bellion suddenly disappers and the blood stains in the room makes Marshal Bellion a potential suspect. Soon after,the police digs up Marshal's blotted past and are quite convinced that he is the killer. Finding himself cornered, Marshall decides to go underground with Josapha. But if Marshal is not really the killer, why does he appear so guilty? Don't Let Go is Marshal's race against time and is all about his attempts to escape from the Police with his beloved daughter by his side.
                Don't Let Go is the kind of book which rightly deserves a screen adaptation. It's such a visual experience and almost every chapter ends up with a cliff-hanger. The narrative is so fast paced that an average reader can finish it in one or two sittings.The book is definitely more fast paced and enteraining when compared to 'After the Crash' and 'Black Water Lillies'.
               On the downside, the book is not devoid of illogical twists either. The scene in which Christo recognises the killer's handwriting on the windowpane was a bit of a stretch.

On the whole,I 'm giving a four out of Five for this thriller.

-nikhimenon

June 18, 2019

Book Review: Riley Sager's 'last Time I lied'


                      Riley Sager's 'Last Time I lied' is a slow burner. It's one of those books which moves at a leisurely pace in the beginning but still manages to hook your attention and never let you put it down or move on with something else!
           Camp Nightingale is a summer camp run by one of the multi-millionaires of the town ,Franny-Harris- White. She has two adopted sons, Theo and Chet. But when three of the young girls from the camp Vivian, Natalie and Allison go missing from the camp all hell break loose and Franny is forced to shut down the camp, also leaving behind Emma, the only other roommate of the three missing girls, traumatized.
          Fifteen years later, Franny decides to reopen the camp and she decides to invite , Emma  also to the camp as the instructor-in -charge of the present occupants(Krystal,Sasha,Miranda) of the cabin (named Dogwood,) from where the three girls went missing fifteen years ago. Emma manages to form a bond with the three young girls,but pretty soon she realises that Camp Nightingale harbours many sinister secrets which might have led to the disappearance of Vivian and her friends.
          As I mentioned in the beginning , Riley Sager takes his own sweet time in setting up the plot and establishing the characters.The first one hundred pages or so are a bit dull and the narrative mostly moves at a lethargic pace,but once the mystery begins unravelling slowly, there is no looking back.In the layered narrative,Riley Sager manages to pack in as much intrigue and mystery as possible ,unravelling them, at regular intervals.
         The tail end twist was splendidly done and I never saw it coming.But I wish Sager had given some more detail about the circumstances that might have led Katherine to take up that drastic challenge! 

On the whole,I'm giving a 4 out of 5 for this genuine psychological thriller!

-nikhimenon