Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Welcome Tess Gerritsen

Two years ago, I bade adieu to Tess Gerritsen with a heavy heart.
 Why so? I loved her books and when you part with something you loved, you will be obviously, sad. 
The gruesome details she explained in her books were something hard to digest. Her books would send shivers down my spine. 

I remember going to the library and forcing myself not to look at her books kept in the shelf.
When the yearning to read her books goes out of control, I would go to my parents home and ask my mother to sleep in my room until I finish it off. Now, mustering all the courage, I have decided to read her books one by one. A challenge to battle to my own fears.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Soil for my roots – Minal Sarosh

This book throws an important question – How could one preserve one's own roots in a cross-cultural society? Or rather, can one retain his/her individuality in a cross-cultural society? When some characters in the book could retain it, some utterly fails in it. Unfortunately, the latter did not even realise that they do have one. 

This is Minal Sarosh's first book of fiction. The story progresses through Angela, the protagonist, a Gujrati Christian. The story happens in Nasik and from there extends to Ahmedabad. Ask what is unique in her book? It is her meticulous descriptions of place and events. You could feel the pulse of places and emotions narrated here.

Minal opens the story with Angela's ( protagonist) childhood and talks at length about the social scene which existed then. Gujrati, Tamilian, Malayalee – everyone stayed together, she says. But as years flew by, the transformation occurs - the secular scene slowly turns into communal. Amidst these social changes, there are some who steadfastly hold onto their beliefs. Even for a moment, they are neither ready to budge from it nor ready to put themselves in others' shoes. But there are some who dares to delve into their inner self to know their identity and roots and one such character is Sarah.

 Though the protagonist is Angela, my thoughts always lingered around Sarah, Angela's cousin. I felt she is the one who could be called 'liberated' in the real sense. When Angela just went with the flow, Sarah showed some courage to know to her roots. Being a Christian does not stop her from participating in the Gharba dance or many such things which she was not allowed to do just because she is a Christian. It's also strange that Sarah was finally let free by a superstition.  I could relate to her strongly.

Unravelling Sarah would have offered the reader many a revelation. I wish Minal had delved a bit more into Sarah's character. I still want to know more about her. Apart from it, how people responded to the earthquake that hit Gujrat once,  the gruesome Godhra carnage and also the riots that followed subsequently were also dealt with.  She has got a beautiful language that her words could paint vivid pictures of everything for the readers. 

I give her three stars. For a time fiction writer, she did well. 

Minal Sarosh started her literary career as a poet writing in English. She won the commendation prize in the All India Poetry competition 2005 organised by the Poetry Society (India) Delhi. 


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Want to delve into a mystery or just be a reader

I have been reading Mary Higgins Clark books continuously for about two months and thought would write a review only when I think I should write one.  Then I read “ No place like Home”'. And it's time to write something. What I am writing will not be a typical review.

Before explaining further, I would just write a few words on “ No place like home”- First off all, I loved it. A husband buys a plot for his newly wedded wife ( Celia Nolan). He keeps it, a secret until she is brought to the house as he wants to surprise her. And the house shocks her. It is her house where she had killed her mother years ago. She was a little girl, then. But did she kill her mother deliberately ? For that you will have to read the whole story. She was Liza Barton then and now her new identity is Celia Nolan. Then there comes a twist in the tale - The real estate agent who gets them the house is killed.

 I am not going any further. Because, any more information would kill the real joy of reading it. 

As I said above, it was an interesting read. But right from the beginning of this story, a name popped up in my mind – the name of 'who dunnit'. There was no hint strewn in any part of the story. But sometimes after reading years of thrillers and who dunnits, you  somehow garner that trait where you could tell who is the culprit. Many times, your guess would go wrong too. But that trait gets rooted, eventually.

Another logic also works behind it. If you want to have the real impact, the villian should be somebody whom you might not have thought about in your wildest imagination . And a reader like me, then start looking for someone who seems quite unattached with the murder. 

It gives a sense of satisfaction and thrill when you could identify him/her from a great writer's book. And this time, I was right with this book. But there is another point to ponder :  When you get a cue on the culprit, the culmination of final thrill is lost somewhere. I was mesmarised by the ending of ' The Murder in the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie. Could anybody have guessed that ending?

Long and short, If you want to be a good reader, stop guessing, And if you want to be an excellent writer, delve, delve and delve.

pic courtesy - google

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Going to read ' Gone Girl'. This is my first Gillian Flynn book. I was thinking of getting acquainted with a new crime writer every month. I, of course started it with ' Harlan Coben'. But as I got a transfer to other city and could not take many books with me. 'Harlan Coben' is safe in my own home in the other city. I will finish it, once I get back there. Now I have' Gone Girl' with me. I read great reviews about it, online. Hence, I thought I would go for it. Let's see how many days, I will take to complete it.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Make No mistake – Nancy Drew series- Case No 56

I read Nancy Drew after along time. I never thought I could relish it just the way I had done about 12 years ago. Why I went for a Nancy Drew? I got a transfer to a new city and was trying my level best to cope with it. And I was not in a situation to go for a book which is heavy. Mary Higgins Clark would have broken my reading block. But I could not get hold of her book that fast here and did not have any in my collection which I have not read. For a change, I thought, I would go for Mills and Boons. I bought one and there, when I chanced upon a Nancy Drew, I just grabbed it. 

Nut shell

Matt Glover who disappeared some years ago returned to River Heights.  He said he had amnesia and memory returned when he saw his father's obituary in a paper. This aroused suspicion in many. At the same time, there was nothing which could prove that the one who turned up was an imposter. But Nancy could not just take in that one fine morning Matt returned. At the same time, there were many external elements which also seemed like wanting to obliterate Matt. Because if he did not return, there were many organisations which could be privileged by Matt's father's money. So his will states. For Nancy, the case becomes a hard nut to crack when Matt passed a lie -detector test.

My comment

I just loved it. Maybe because, I just cannot hate Nancy Drew.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Anita Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri

I have entered names of two more authors for the Reading challenge ( Not for the general reading challenge 2015). There is no stipulated period to complete the challenge. The reading challenge consists of Anita Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri's books. To be frank, I have already completed Jhumpa Lahiri's books. I entered her name as I did not want to miss my favourite author's presence in my book blog. Regarding Anita Desai's books,  I have started off with ' Fire on the mountain'.  I am so captivated by her style of writing that I am sure I would love her books, the way it was with Lahiri's . The two other authors, I have entered earlier were Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark. I believe I am progressing with their books.
Agatha - 9 books and Clark - 12

Monday, February 16, 2015

Daddy's Little Girl - Mary Higgins Clark

Book: Daddy's Little Girl
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Publication Date: 2002

Daddy's little girl – Yet another Mary Higgins Clark book. I enjoyed it. But if you think, if it's a typical who dunnit? It's not. It is written in a first person's account.

Just one sentence and I could easily give away the story. So let it be a suspense. I know that there would be only a few who have not read her books, especially this one. But I would like to believe that there are exceptions like me.  The title always intrigued me. I could not read as I could not get it anywhere, neither in the libraries nor in the book shops. Eventually, when I caught hold of that book, I am sorry to say that the story did not live up to the title. But I enjoyed reading it. I do not know how that strange phenomenon happens.

Ellie Cavanaugh, a journalist lost her sister when she was just seven years old. Her elder sister was 17 at the time. Robson Westerfield, a 20-year-old was put in prison as she had given testimony against him. Is he the real culprit?  After 22 years in prison, he is out and Ellie just wants to prevent her sister's murderer from roaming free. And her struggle makes the whole story.

Keeping the mystery part away, I started brooding over the relationships that fell apart due to Ellie's sister's murder. Emotions are a rarity when it comes to any suspense thriller.  Ellie's was a close knit family. But they drifted apart after the murder of their eldest daughter, Andrea.  

Though I have enjoyed the book, one question still looms in my head. Why did the murderer kill that girl?  Did I miss anything in the story?. When I close every MHC book, I never asked such questions. I would like to believe that I missed something substantial in the book and hence the doubt.

- by Shalet Jimmy

Thursday, February 12, 2015

completed successfully Reading challenge 2014

I should have written this post in January 2015. Anyway, better late than never. I have actually read 40 books in 2014 reading challenge. My target was 25 books. This is the first time I have completed a reading challenge.

 I have fixed a target of 50 books this year. Last year, I deliberately  kept it a small number for I really wanted to complete the challenge.  The books I read  included most of the genres except Paranormal. But this time, I wanted to take my reading habit  to yet another level. I am a great lover of mystery and suspense books. But my reading always circled around a few authors namely, Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and Dan Brown. Though I am familiar with Patricia Cornwell, Taomi Hoag, Lisa Gardner, I am yet to delve into their books. Hence, this year I have decided to introduce me one new author every month. 

Harlan Coben will be the new author I will get acquainted with in February and I have picked up his ' Caught'. This does not mean that I have given up my favourite authors. I have decided to read every MCH and Agatha Christie books along with Dan Brown. Besides, I have also decided to do research, a bit. Because,one day, I too wanted my name in this list of mystery authors. So I should start toiling and moiling without wasting much time....

So friends, wish me luck....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Harlan Coben Interview

That Frequent visitor - K Harikumar

Why are books written by eminent writers like Agatha Christie, Jeffrey  Archer and Mary Higgins Clark always considered thrillers? It is not because of their lightness but owing to the capacity of these eminent  authors to weave every sentence with such intensity while leaving many things for the reader to ponder that he/she will not be left with any other  alternative but finish reading it at a stretch to quench their curiosity.

The tempo of suspense dwindles hardly till the end. No reference goes unanswered. You can fill every gaps and that too with logic. And, this  definitely needs skill.

Does ‘That Frequent Visitor’ by Hari Kumar, that comes under the category of ‘Paranormal’, fits the bill. Let’s analyse it.

When the story opens, there is a huge protest going on in Delhi against the gruesome Delhi rape incident. Pakhi Dutta, whom the author calls as the most popular journalist of the country working for Manorama 24*7 is covering it.  The author then introduces the character of Jagannatha Varma, the minister touted as the next Prime Minister of India. The story takes a turn when Pakhi Dutta’s brother Parosh Dutta gets an opportunity to write a biography of Jagannatha Varma.

Along with Parosh’s daughter Shiuli, they reach Tripunithura palace at Kochi. There, in a nearby island called Vypeen, they come across a haunted mansion. The mansion soon becomes the main venue where the significant incidents of the story takes place. The outsiders are not allowed after   sunset on the island. But, the little girl Shiuli is often lured to the  mansion where she gets acquainted with the ghost of Richard Baxter. Who is he and what is his story forms the crux of the book.

The book, of course, is readable. But, once the story unfurls, that particular trait which an author needs to make his/her reader glued to each page is seen wavering. It would not be wrong to say that the book   has several attributes that could earn it the tag of a thriller, at the  outset.

The prologue is intelligent. The story opens in a grand way. But, there are certain do’s and dont’s which the author forgets to take care of. Primarily, there are some references which will not go well with serious readers. A good book should always transfers you to another world. It happened here in the initial parts, but all of a sudden, the attempt by the author to give names to certain characters which have direct references to reality severs that beautiful feeling of being in a fictional world.

For instance, an explicit reference to Barkha Dutta (Pakhi Dutta), Manorama 24*7 (NDTV 24*7), Headlines Now (Times Now), Arunab Sardesai could be considered as spoilers of suspense.

It might not have been a problem with foreign readers but definitely not with a serious Indian reader.

Some dialogues such as ‘ Kizhakkeveetil Suresh can call me Suresh Gopi’; ‘You look just like my favourite actor, Thala! Very beautiful you are’ looks immature and of course, the author’s constant mentioning of his name and his first book ‘When strangers meet’ in the story could have been avoided.

Besides, when you make a reader run around so many incidents and many characters, she/he would find it difficult to comprehend. It seems that the author underestimated the reader and that’s why he spoon fed many things. That could have been avoided.

The story could have been much better if was tightly written omitting the unwanted. It is a readable story. But to impress a reader who is a hard core fan of mysteries, suspense and paranormal thrillers, the author should have  put forth tremendous efforts.