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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 “Cross Country” By James Patterson

Cross Country

By James Patterson

 

A thriller by James Patterson featuring the forensic detective Alex Cross.

 

The plot revolves around the cold-blooded murder of Ellie Cox (Alex’s friend / first real love) and her family by a criminal known as “Tiger”. Many people are brutally murdered by this horrendous person and Cross takes it upon him to catch “Tiger” and deliver justice to Ellie and others murdered by him. His quest lands him in Africa.

The grim reality of this new country though depicted well (to a certain extent) is very graphic in nature. The corrupt government officials in Nigeria arrest, jail and torture Alex for three days before the CIA can come to his rescue. He witnesses some of the most horrible situations and conditions of the people of Africa, far beyond anyone’s imagination. The dire situation in Darfur and the diamond mines of Sierra Leone are boldly portrayed by the author.

Though Alex comes across as smart detective in most of his books, in this one it feels like he walks into lame situations without giving it any thought. How did he simply fly over to Africa tracing a murderer without any political or government assistance?! Why does he end up landing his family into trouble and pain?

The gruesome murders, the contrived situations, and a loose and somewhat complicated plot did not satisfy me as a reader.

Patterson’s short chapters ending with a cliffhanger made it easier to finish the book but the poor action did not keep me engrossed like before.

 

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