Tag Archives: Thriller

Book Review of “The Ordeal” by Mangesh Jadhav

The Ordeal

 by Mangesh Jadhav

We know that USA is capable of quite a lot. Or so it projects in movies and books. But interfering with nature…who would’ve thought!

Mangesh Jadhav’s first offering, a sci-fi one at that, (The Ordeal) is quite entertaining and thrilling. I wasn’t sure how well my mind would receive it- but I was zapped at being hooked on to it from the very first page.

So what’s the story like- you ask? Well we have NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) working on a satellite that can be used for military purposes. And then you have Russia with its undercover agents reporting the secret to its country, and them coming up with plans to counter it, and therein lies the fantastic plot. How it is brought forth and faced makes for a great read.

For a debut writer, Mangesh has used crisp, clean and very free flowing language that is not only easy but also grammatically fine. (Such relief there.)

The characters are very strong and impactful. Michael Jones, the lead protagonist is a CIA agent. His personality almost reflects through the pages. He is in charge of keeping the mission a secret, and what a fine job he does.
Then we have Suzanne Owen (Private Secretary of CIA’s Director) –a beautiful young lady and Michael’s love interest.
The other cast includes: Dr. Nina Portman, the greedy scientist who can’t but keep a secret for the country and sells her soul to the devil (read: Russians); Dr. Stephen Wilson of NOAA, the one to begin the experiment in the first place, and a bunch of Russians (Alexander Kofman, Andrei Yavlinsky, Vladimir Ivanov, Sergi Nemstor, etc.) who complete the picture in a splendid way.

Another good thing about the novel is the ease of reading it brings- well spaced lettering and smooth language- makes reading sort of uninterrupted and the 400 odd pages did not seem a task, really. The narrative is quite linear. Which is a good thing I guess.

The thriller was thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp plot, remarkable twists, pretty good detailing (sometimes a bit too much of it), it felt more real than just a story. Certain places the author could’ve/ should’ve left open-ended sentences/plots for the reader to interpret or assume or imagine. This would’ve engaged the reader more.

But overall, this is a MUST read- esp. coming from an Indian author- a great debut here!

Kudos!

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Book Review of “The Newsroom Mafia” by Oswald Periera

It’s true…and proven time and again – men opt for a “crime-thriller-suspense” novel when it comes to writing. And rightly so. They have a knack to capture and portray the precise feelings associated with the genre. And Oswald Periera does complete justice to his debut novel- The Newsroom Mafia that offers more than just the thrill of being a media-related-crime story.

The story is about how the Mumbai police commissioner Donald Fernandez puts all his efforts in nabbing the don, Narayan Swamy, with the help of Oscar Pinto, a young crime reporter with “The Newsroom”, one of India’s most venerable newspapers. But we see how Swamy’s ties in the media are stronger, and more effective than Fernandez can think of. How some of the “exclusive” stories were planted and how most police officials, reporters and politicians were mere pawns controlled by the don, is scripted quite brilliantly by the author.
The battle of power, and wits, played with dirty tactics by both, the law breakers and the law abiders raises a lot many questions in the mind of the reader, regarding the authenticity and the truthfulness of the media and the people attached to it.
Rightfully the book description says, “The Newsroom Mafia captures the unholy alliance between the fourth estate, the underworld and the government”.
The narrative is riveting. The language is simple and lucid; the pace perfect to keep you turning page-after-page without a break; and the description of places/situations/events and the people so meticulous and faithful that it breathes life in to the words.
The story is more of an eye-opener about things that happen in the media industry and how people (read: cops, politicians, the underworld and media) work their ways around situations and their counter-parts. What happens behind the curtains and the camera is only known to the insiders. Oswald bares the truth, and how!
Who says money can’t buy everything. In today’s world, the media is offered a more-than-handsome-amount to not print/publish/uncover stories that are critical and important for the public.

To say that not everyone is as corrupt or dishonest is true. But the number (or percentage) of such honest folks is minuscule.

The author’s background as a crime reporter gives him the leverage to churn out such a fantastic piece of crime-thriller. With such in depth research and insight, the book feels more real than just “a piece of fiction”.

MUST MUST MUST READ!

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Book Review of “The Mine” by Arnab Ray

The Mine scores as a riveting thriller that will linger in your mind for days, after you finish reading the book.
The plot revolves around five experts who are brought to a hi-tech mining facility sensing strange, unexplainable occurrences. What connects them all is their murky past and a hideous truth that has been long under the wraps. And so begins their perilous journey of confronting their fate and facing their destined end.
This fast-paced, dark psychological thriller is divided in to three sections: The Beginning, The Middle and The End; though the prologue sets the stage for the deep rooted mysteries and fears that surface on each page.
You will find references of real life incidents that made news around the country; the crux of it all is a reflection of our own fears.
The interlinked stories that make up the novel have an overpowering sinister effect. Various characters, various settings and the sly intervening of links that leave room for mixed interpretation and open ended questions, will make you retrace your thoughts and flip back a few pages to gasp in awe and wonder, as the author skillfully spins the web of mystery and thrill.
Given our experience with Hollywood/Bollywood flicks, you will end up visualizing the scenes as you read the story. Karma has its own way of getting back. And you might recollect “Death’s List” from the “Final Destination” series. (And many such references will emerge in your mind if you are a movie buff/avid reader.)
The narratives (and the scenes) are racy and breathtaking. The narrative is fresh and rather intriguing. Philosophical at places, the book shakes you with the insights. A diligent mix of Science and Karma, the suspense and the thrill in the book will give you goose bumps with every new page. And you will not deny that “the greatest evil lies deep inside.”

 

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Book Review of “Prey by the Ganges” by Hemant Kumar

Prey By The Ganges

By Hemant Kumar

A gripping tale of friendship, resistance, endurance, power, corruption, and the courage to beat it all, Prey By The Ganges is the debut attempt of Hemant Kumar. And what a debut!

This clearly is among the most captivating books I’ve read in a long time.

Set around the Independence era, the book offers a very real and earthy image of India (esp. Bihar) back then.

This book certainly has it all. From a very invigorating book cover, to the heart-felt and wondrous acknowledgement that got me hooked to the author’s narrative skill, to the story of course.

The taut and gripping plot makes this book “unputdownable”! So, the story opens with the gruesome death of Ravi, Vaidya Shambhu Nanadan’s best friend (in fact the only friend) near the banks of the holy Ganges. Shambhu, accompanied by a very loyal and trust-worthy servant Hariya see Ravi brutally beaten by dacoits. Ravi breathes his last in Shambu’s lap.

The story traces their backgrounds and the reason of Ravi, Shambhu and Hariya being near the river on a full-moon night. Shambhu sets out to complete Ravi’s initial set plan, and to seek answers from the murderer and yes, to avenge the death of his friend. You witness the story of the feudal lords – the two brothers – Thakur Gajanan Singh of Narainpur and Thakur Suraj Singh of Janak Ganj, who thrive on power and lust and emotions that rule the head not the heart; the glamorous thakurain catching the fancy of most men; the mystery of the diamond…and oh so much more!

I do not plan on giving out any details. It is for you to pick up and read and find out. With its language so rich and lucid that it makes you read without a break; a plot so thick that it engulfs you in its depth; suspense and thrill so mesmerizing that keep you at the edge of your seat as you turn the pages; and the characters so real that one could almost see them around you; the book delivers the satisfaction (of reading a thriller) to the tee!

It was a pleasure reading this book. And I, for one, look forward to the sequel.

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Interview with Ismita Tandon Dhanker

A “lesser known poet”, a brilliant author, and an extremely charming young girl - Ismita Tandon Dhanker made waves with her debut novel- Love On The Rocks earlier this year.

BookChums got talking with Ismita and here’s all that we found out.

We saw your blog and it has some real good poetry. So let’s begin with the clichéd one first – when and how did you start writing poetry?
Poetry happened to me at the age of twenty-six when I went sailing for the very first time. A stroll on the deck one evening gazing at the blue sky slowly turning crimson and the wind stroking my face, the thoughts kept flowing until they began to rhyme beautifully. Communing with nature was the turning point in my life.


Your first published book is a romantic-thriller and not a collection of your poems. Why?

People don’t read poetry. Where is the time in this mad rush to pack meaning in their fast paced lives?  And even if they do they don’t buy a poetry book and publishers have a tough time selling it in the market. But it’s my dream to have a poetry book that would sell like hot cakes. The dream has already begun to pay off since I won 50, 000 for my poem ‘I am Beautiful’. Life is much like poetry…beautiful, free flowing, cryptic.

Love on the Rocks had quite a heady mix of characters. What was the thought process while developing the characters? What kind of research did you have to do for the characteristics and the overall plot?
The characters are an amalgamation of all the wonderful people I have sailed with in the last few years. Sailors are quirky, a lot different from the average man you meet back home. Long voyages at sea in the company of colourful sailors, gross jokes, anecdotes, bizarre incidents, the loneliness it all turned out to be one helluva adventure. That’s all the research that I needed to put together a thriller.

If the book gets picked up for a movie- who do you think will fit the role of Sancha, Capt. Popeye, Aaron, Harsh, and Baldy?

If we are dreaming, we might as well dream big:
Sancha – Amy Adams
Capt. Popeye – Antonio Banderas
Aaron – Christian Bale
Harsh Castillo – Oliver Martinez
Baldy – I think Christopher Nolan can handle rest of the casting

The title, genre and setting of the book is unconventional and not been explored by many new age writers. What prompted you to work along the lines of suspense/thriller/murder…and not take the conventional route of a chick-lit or simple love story?
Everyone has a story to tell and the first book almost always comes from the authors immediate surroundings, experiences. I have always been inclined towards murder mysteries and it seemed like such a thrill to keep the readers guessing. And love is so twisted in this day and age that any story can hardly be termed as a ‘simple love story’. Hence the thriller angle.

What are the challenges you faced while writing the book –maybe in terms of its progress or the characters or maybe with the publishers?
Challenges were plenty. To carry the story forward from different POV’s, exploring their personal crisis while moving on with original plot required that changes be made to the draft very often.
Even after the final draft was ready, my troubles were far from over the difficult task of finding a publisher loomed large. A year long struggle, countless rejection mails and nail biting moments were an integral part of the books arduous journey. And I had to kept reminding myself every now and then ‘Its a good book and I’ll make it’.

Is there an incident that you’d like to share with our readers and budding authors that you encountered while writing the book?
The original manuscript was a grand, elaborate peep into the lives and work of sailors on a ship. Their hardship, the hectic work hours all that had to be pruned to make the plot tighter as editors from various literary agencies believed that the general public would not be interested in reading about the mundane. I differ on that point and today most readers come back to me and say ‘they loved the novel, the plot but a little more description of the life at sea would have made it so much more interesting’.
Persistence is what worked in my favour. It’s a tough call to roam around with a manuscript that doesn’t gel with the standard idea of Indian fiction, the story being narrated by different points of view. And then to be told that Indian writers can’t write good thrillers. Well, I just did!

Given a chance, would you think of giving this story an alternate ending?
Nope but I would prefer to stick to the original/working title of my book which is ‘Almost Lucid’.
How do you think your writing (fiction and poetry) has matured with time?
Clarity of thought and simplicity of expression are now the hallmark of my writing. Practise makes perfect!
Name the authors and poets who have inspired you.

Jeffery Archer, Sydney Sheldon, Kabir, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost.
Tell us something unique about:
Ismita the poet…is restless.
Ismita the author…is an author by default.
Ismita the girl…spends her evenings in the company of Trees.
Tell us:
The one quote that inspires you all the time
To practise any art no matter how well or badly is a way to make your soul grow.

The one character of LOTR that is closer to you than the rest
Manna and his journal entries.

The one dream/aim you still strive to achieve
To be known as a Poetess.

The one poet (and/or author) you desire to meet
Deepak Chopra.
What can we next expect from your desk?
I am half way through another thriller titled, ‘Drink and Die‘, weaved around DND, a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics in a town called Monele near Ooty. The story highlights a social malady, Alcohol addiction, an issue I have always wanted to address.
The plot is a heady cocktail of the different favours of life lust, power, money, incest and vanity. The protagonist of the story is Johnny Will, a man with a high IQ, who runs a rehab and is ostensibly helping the rich and not so sober get over their little alcohol addiction. He has no qualms about blackmailing his wealthy patients too. A crook selling a cure.

What other books/authors of recent time would you recommend our readers?
Deepak Chopra, Robin Sharma, Kabir.

If you had a book club, what would you name it? And what would you be reading in there?
‘The Poetry Night Club’ and would be reading poetry of course!

Well, there’s a lot more to this charismatic young author and we for one, eagerly await her next book.

To know more about Ismita check out her profile page, only on BookChums!

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Book Review of “Worst Case” By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Worst Case

By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

A stupendous work of a seasoned author.

Detective Michael Bennett (NYPD) and FBI agent Emily Parker (abduction case specialist) team up to track a serial killer in this gripping bestseller.

A quick and easy read, decked with giggles and light-hearted fun in mini-chapters.
A run through Bennett’s life – a widower with ten (!!!) foster children; their beautiful nanny who ends up having a crush on Bennett; plenty of exciting action in tracing the villain and cracking the case of missing teenagers; mushy romance with partner Emily Parker ending on a smart and riveting note makes the book a good read. 

The tome exudes loads of suspense, tension and fast paced excitement.

I’d recommend this one.

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Book Review of “Turn Coat” By Jim Butcher

Turn Coat

By Jim Butcher

Yet another feather in the cap for Jim Butcher.

The story begins with Dresden finding the antagonist, Morgan, lying injured at his door seeking his help to get out of a crime he did not commit. Dresden, being the good guy, commits to help Morgan (after much contemplation within).

The story is persuasive and has – a lot about the White Wizard Council (that was missing in the earlier series); a lot of magic; Morgan’s story; smart, witty dialogues (not all by Dresden); alluring action; and best of all the character of Mouse. 

With his supernatural skills as a wizard, and a keen eye for detail (as a detective) Dresden fights against all odds (literally) to emerge the hero (once again!)

Though the pace could have been a bit higher, the plot and the characters, in a way, make up for it.

Absolutely recommended to all.

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Book Review of “The Road” By Cormac McCarthy

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

This one ranks up to be a masterpiece.

The story revolves around a father-son relationship in a post apocalyptic world – amidst brutality, cruelty, savagery, gloom, despair, trench, terror and ashes.

A bold poetic envisage of a dreadful setting/nightmare that captures the reader and lingers in the memory for a long time after reading.

A beautifully executed thriller that can only be devised by an author of McCarthy’s caliber. 

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Book Review of “Relentless” By Dean Koontz

Relentless

By Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is known to have delivered excellent work in the past. But of late, the quality of his writing and his ability of creating thrill seem to have dropped.

Relentless is a story of a highly fabulous family, where the father (Cullen) is a successful author, the mother (Penny) is a successful children’s book author and their son (Milo) is a wiz-kid. Their dog, an Australian Sheppard (Lassie) too seems to posses some good odd powers.

Cullen receives a scathing review for his recent novel from a highly influential critic- Sherman Waxx and instead of accepting the truth, Cullen decides to indulge in a (what seems harmless to him) stunt of sorts. But things don’t really go as planned and what begins is a series of spooky, unpredictable events that venture into harrowing Cullen’s family and everyone around them.

Certain parts of the story are simply sad. And not literally – I mean really sad and lame to read. A six year old with a thing for Physics, inventing incredible gadgets and devices and doesn’t wish to explain it to his parents; a dog with odd powers (cute and adorable); Penny’s parents who believe that humanity is on its way downhill and soon there won’t be any power tools and hence they are trying to get accustomed to such ways of life already – I mean – really!?!

The humor is so forced at places that it is unbelievable. Yes, the ideation is nice but the execution ain’t. The plot seems to be stretched a bit longer that required.

Overall a quick good read with sprinkles of science fiction / humor / satire / suspense.

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Book Review of “Honeymoon” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

I seem to be a bit baffled by this “thriller” of sorts. A black widow, Nora Sinclair, is a young, bright and deadly lady, who seems to be every man’s desire – but ends up being the worst nightmare a man could face. Thanks to her skewed psych.

She is a rich interior decorator mingling with the crème de la crème of the city. Her association with the rich and famous men is short lived – as she ends up plotting their murder after having married them. Having killed two already and planning the death of the third man of her life, she comes under the FBIs radar as the prime suspect. John O’Hara, an FBI agent gets on her trail only to find himself captivated by her charm. In the battle of wits and intelligence, only the best one wins.

“Things aren’t always the way they appear” O’Hara’s father warns him and as the plot unfolds the statement seems more and more powerful. In not the right way though.

But the characters seemed a bit icky and complex. It didn’t seem like any of Patterson’s previous work.

Co-authored by Howard Roughan, the chapters are small and easy to flip through. But many details, I feel, were left out. Like Nora’s mother, who is locked away in an asylum, never ends up revealing the reason for killing her husband. The suspense just remains. The ending is as abrupt as its simple beginning. I did not enjoy it at all.

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