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.