Thursday, 22 June 2017

Missing by Adiva Geffen

Blurb:

They’re back…

Internationally best-selling suspense master Adiva Geffen in going to launch you on a whirlwind adventure with Israel's mostly hotly pursued private detectives. And this time the good guys might not win.

How far will they go?

After finding and securing Daria, a young runaway, Sammy and Dikla are left slack-jawed upon discovering her dead body. Local police determine the case to be an open-and-shut suicide, but a far more sinister plot is about to be uncovered.

Drama, Pain & Passion…

Follow these never-say-die investigators down the rabbit-hole of heaven-sent cults and con-artists as they attempt to reveal the truth once and for all, while juggling raw, heated relationships and heart-pounding drama. Real-life, down-to-earth dialogue will put you in the front row seat of a story that will make the bath water go cold around you.



Review:

 

Israel is an enigma for most of the world. A small oasis in the desert. Adiva Gaffen brings the story set in the heart of Israel. Religious fanaticism and hunger for money is a deadly cocktail. It a quagmire in which once you set foot it is very difficult to get out. It can be dangerous even deadly. The talks of salvation, eternal peace, bringing out inner happiness and eternal bliss are very lucrative. But when it is for ulterior motives results are disastrous.
 The story starts when Daria who is staying with Dikla for one night jumps to her death from the terrace. Dikla is distraught and feels guilty for her death. Sammy and Dikla are two detectives which find it difficult to keep afloat. They are out of cases and money. Sammy is old and can hardly move. Dikla is her hand and foot in the field. Eve is Sammy’s classmate from school and she owes eve big time due to some guilt trip. So when Eve’s daughter Daria goes missing Eve approaches her to find Daria out. Eve is very secretive and makes it a point that this should not be told to her husband. Also she needs daily update of the progress. Dikla is very resourceful and finds out Daria. She is terrified and depressed. Daria talks of salvation and eternal peace. When they inform Eve to take her; she requests to keep Daria with them for one night. And then Daria commits suicide after a mysterious pizza delivery boy comes to deliver pizza and delivers a message about some eclipse and end of world. The case is closed by police but Dikla is convinced of foul play. She keeps on digging and it bring out some dark and horrible secrets. 
I was hooked to the book from page one and kept me hooked till end. It has plenty of humour which keeps proceedings light. Chemistry between Sammy and Dikla is first rate and both understand each other perfectly. The books moves at a brisk pace and there not a single dull moment. The suspense is also good and layered. As I progressed in the many new revelations came to light.

All in all a very good mystery. Some passages which I liked are posted here:

 

1.     I had to wait a good hour (three cigarettes and two packages of Oreos, to be exact) for the two childhood friends to finish rehashing all their sweet high school memories. Then I got up and told Sammy that I had to leave because Bodernick was waiting for us at the office to discuss “the project.”

2.     Bodernick is a code word we use. It means Get going with the investigation, you pain-in-a-donkey’s-ass


3.     “It’s true,” she said after she hung up. “Daria doesn’t have a phone number. Eve says she’s against cell phones. You were right, it’s some sort of stupid stance about radiation and environmental pollution. Daria belongs to the lunatic tribe of landline users.”

4.     “I spent hours in the preschool and didn’t hear a single kid crying or screaming. On the other hand, I also didn’t see any of them laughing.”



5.     But I’m loyal to my tiny Kia, which at least gives me a one in a million chance of finding a parking spot in Tel Aviv. With the giant Mrs. Ford, my chances of finding a parking spot are as slim as the US Army’s chances of wiping out ISIS. But for the sake of Sammy’s knee, I’d decided to accept my dad’s offer.


6.     Shoshkowitz, right now your guilty conscience is a misfiring engine that’s driving your mind off the deep end.


7.     I poured myself some whiskey, my best friend at such moments. I drank a couple of glasses and waited for the golden liquid to trickle into my system and melt some of my panic.

 

 

Recommendation and rating:


I would recommend it to those who like to read a humorous fast mystery. I give the book 4/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:




If Wishes Were Horses by Tim Hemlin


If Wishes Were Horses... (The Neil Marshall Mysteries Book 1)If Wishes Were Horses... by Tim Hemlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb
Neil Marhsall is a graduate student in the University of Houston's creative writing program and a promising young poet.

However, facing a financially and emotionally draining divorce has him worried about more than paying tuition. So, to make ends meet, Neil moonlights as a chef for a high-society caterer.

Just when Neil's life seems bleakest, his oldest friend, racehorse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered. And Neil becomes the prime suspect.

To avenge his friend, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil infiltrates the dark underworld of horse theft and illegal breeding.

Neil's friends -- his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman -- offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted

Review:

It is a classic whodunit with plenty of red herrings. It is book one of a series where hero is a reluctant detective. Why? Because he is the prime suspect in murder of his friend.

Nothing is going right in Neil Marshall our hero’s life either on personal or professional front. He is on the verge of divorce with his wife, Susan. He is studying in college and pursuing literature. His mentor is a pig. He is falling for a married woman, Keely Cohen. He is financially broke and working in a restaurant. So he is already in deep shit. As her wife threw him out of the home he is bunking with his best friend, Jason Keys. Jason is a horse breeder and has a large farm. To add to his miseries Jason is killed and Neil is a prime suspect. Why? Because Jason has made him the executor of his will and left his farm and all to Neil. Neil is in dire straits. The rest of the book is about finding the real killer.

I was hooked to the book from page one and kept me hooked till end. This is a welcome break from dull forensic heavy murder mysteries. What sets it apart that it has other elements of interests also. Neil has his own troubles with his wife. And the he is falling for Keely Cohen which adds humor and a bit of romance to proceedings. The book also has details on horse breeding and high stakes in this field.

Some clich├ęs of the whodunit are present in this. First the hero is framed in the murder. Second the over jealous, good for nothing detective. There are many red herrings.

All in all a very good mystery. Some passages which I liked are posted here:

1. For a moment I was silent. Then Susan’s final words darkened my mind the color of a deep bruise. “Go on,” she had screeched, “listen to your friend instead of your wife. Be poor. No one reads poetry anymore. You’ll always be a second-rate cook, serving others, and slowly disappearing from life.” Anger of the spurned.
“It’s amazing I got a hold of a change of underwear and a clean shirt,” I muttered more to myself than to Jason.
“Speak up, Neil.”
“Oh, Susan wouldn’t let me take anything. I wanted my collection of Beatles albums. You know, with the pirated copy of the 1965 Houston concert. But I would’ve had to use physical force to get the records

2. The morning sky was bleached blonde and the day felt just as cheap. My fights with Susan had been like an alcoholic battling the bottle: love of a destructive force. As bad as the marriage was, though, it still ripped through my soul, leaving me shaky. Six years of life couldn’t be changed over six weeks of hashing it out, or in six hours after the break. This was the beginning of convalescence.

3. I wondered if all women were abusive or if my luck included constant contact with two of the species’ finer examples. Then I thought of Sondra, my soft-spoken writing buddy, and Keeley Cohen, the talented and kind associate professor. No, Claudia and Susan were just my luck. Dumb luck.


4. In the ensuing silence, I wished I hadn’t rehashed the murder. The heaviness that set in made me feel like my bones were full of lead instead of marrow. Or like I had no soul and was left to salvage this overweight, smoky-lunged mortal coil. I lay down on the couch, fully clothed, and remembered I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Maybe there was something in the refrigerator. No, no, I wanted my own food. In a minute I’d brave the rain again and get a burger or pizza. Chase it with a beer. Or six. Smoke a cigarette. I wondered how the Oilers fared.


Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to those who like to read a classic whodunit. I give the book 4/ 5 stars.


Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.in/If-Wishes-Were-H...




View all my reviews

Interview with Aparna Sinha writer of Ashvamedha

Aparna takes readers on a thrilling ride with Ashwamedha. The action starts from first page with no slack moment. Action and thrill is unending and relentless. 

It is a welcome break to see a thriller from an Indian writer that too from a woman. The market is overflowing with mushy romance. It is said that Indian reader wants nothing but romance. So it is very courageous from Aparna to write a thriller mystery in English.
Author Introduction: Aparna Sinha wrote her first poem when she was seven, which she recited on All India Radio. Since then, her literary work and industry specific articles have been published in various media, including reputed business magazines across Asia. Equipped with a Master's in management, when she was forced to quit her lucrative job because of a chronic disease, she focused on her sole passion – writing.
Interview:
1.               Please tell us something about yourself.
Born and raised in city of Allahabad, by academician father (his book has won the national award) and writer mother; I was always a dreamer and always a story teller.
The book happened when I was hit by chronic autoimmune disorder, which forced me to quit my job; while the world/society felt sorry for me for losing my perfect skin to a disease, which may or may not cure, I used the time to write the novel.  I recuperated as the book finished. Even though my body still carries marks of that illness, but it doesn’t remind me of pain and sleepless nights; it has made me strong and I thank god for that!
Now, I am a mother of an 1 year old boy and I love every bit of motherhood.
2.               I see there is an overdose of romance (third rate mostly) in Indian English writing. I assume its safe bet for writers and publishers. So why do you wrote a thriller?
I believe a writer should write whatever gives him/her personal satisfaction only then he/she could do justice to his/her thoughts. Thriller is a difficult genre as it comprises of drama, romance, adventure and a thrilling climax. It requires a lot of research, writing thriller needs validations before the final work. It is also time consuming; something which I could afford, considering I started writing the same after I quit the job and my illness restricted my movement.
Besides my idea of romance writing is slightly different from what is popular among young adult audience (which comprises the largest readership). I could not satiate the writer in me and entertain the readers reading the genre at the same time; hence I have decided to go for Thriller

3.               How could you get it right the first time? (Phenomenal achievement)
I knew whenever I will write I will put my heart and soul into it. Years of voracious reading helps. I guess readers were looking for a shift of genre (as there is an overdose of romance and pop fiction) also with rise of social media and 24*7 news channels younger generation is taking interest in politics. Book gives a glimpse of manipulation and lust of power that comes with politics.
4.               There is a reference to Schizophrenia (which is believe is different from the condition which you described). Do you have in depth knowledge of mental diseases or is it just a plot device?
The word schizophrenia was consciously referred in the book as it is a relatively popular term when it comes to mental disorders, the same popularized by Indian TV and cinema. I have second hand knowledge of mental disorders and deficiencies from reading and research.
5.               I can see influences of bestselling many pot boilers of Hindi as well as English? What are your influences for this book?
You will always find influences of one or more of my favourite authors Crichton, Ludlum, Dickens, Mclean, Gibran!
6.               Your book is a political thriller. There are many characters: a conniving industrialist, wily politician, honest civil servant, a political mentor, a very popular PM, an independent journalist etc. Do all or some of them are influenced by real life figures? If yes then who?
Every character is a mix of few real life people, my friends, political personalities, my relatives; however since I have the opportunity let me clarify that the protagonist and striking resemblance of his actions with present Prime Minister was a pleasant coincidence because the book was written before Mr. PM took the seat. Same applies for Canadian PM.
7.               Title of your book is very mythical. What does it signify?
Ashvamedha or Ashvamedha Yagna (horse sacrifice) was an ancient vedic ritual, performed by a king for the general prosperity of the kingdom and to establish sovereignty over neighboring provinces. In the ritual the king’s horse, along with his army, was made to wander in neighboring kingdoms, for one year. If the horse returns back after one year without being captured or killed by enemy kingdom, it  would be sacrificed and the king will be named undisputed ruler (The yagna in detail is mentioned in yajur veda)
In this novel, Ashwin Jamwal was made a powerful man only so he can be sacrificed in the end and Hades, the master manipulator, will claim the ultimate authority, hence the title
8.               What are your future plans? A sequel of Ashvamedha or independent book?
Currently I am working on one independent book, A sequel of Ashavmedha may also happen as the story has taken shape.
9.               Will you stick to thrillers or open to all genres?
I will stick to Thriller genre!


Interview by: Rajan Mogha

Monday, 19 June 2017

Chronux by Sagar Kamath


ChronuxChronux by Sagar Kamath
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Mankind always wanted secret to ultimate power. Some secret device which can make powerful like god. A device so powerful which can make anyone omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.

Story starts with legendary Mahabharat warrior Ashwathama. His “MANI” is sorce of unlimited power. After the war he reaches an obscure Himalayan village Aruhu. He teaches the people the secrets of stars and the MANI. After many generations two friends Bharata and Arhiti come face to face power of Chronux in their childhood and are terrified beyond imagination. After the incident Bharata goes missing only to come back year later in a deadly Avatar. Story moves forwards and backwards from Aruhu to Nazi Europe to year 3067 AD in future.

The story moves at different times during many eras. It has interesting concepts like SETI. Scientist are trying to establish contact with other intelligent species by sending signals. The fundamental problem with inter stellar communication is the sheer amount of time that it takes for any information to get through , even travelling at the speed of light. So teacher alternative was to make signal intelligent of their level. The other problem was aliens can be either benevolent or malevolent. So we have to be prepared in case they want to attack us.

Chronux is an imaginary stone which can make man like God and can transcend time boundaries. It can merge individual with the whole cosmos.

The story is much stretched, repetitive and non-fiction like most of the time. The connections between many eras is not established. The plot is non-existent. The Nazi Germany part reads like a history text book on Second World War. I felt whole paragraphs were copy pasted from history books. Similar is the case with SETI portions. There are very few characters and there is no drama or plot. It felt like a jumble of many different stories, histories, scientific books etc. I could not make a head and tail of it. It is so streaked and boring that it became very difficult to finish it and I skipped at many places without any difficulty.

Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to those who like to read a mishmash of history, mythology and science fiction books. I give the book 2/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/dp/9386487012/re...




View all my reviews

Friday, 16 June 2017

Modern Slavery and the Gods of Consumption Kindle Edition by Ofer Even

Modern Slavery and the Gods of ConsumptionModern Slavery and the Gods of Consumption by Ofer Even
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The current American society thrives on consumerism. It is all about I, me and myself. A totally hedonistic society which believes to live in today and doesn’t care a damn about tomorrow.
Michael is living an idyllic life a beautiful wife Iris, one son and a daughter. They are living an American dream having all the materialistic comforts at home. He believes to live in present and lives on borrowed money. He has become workaholic so that he can pay the EMIs and has 3-6-9 rules for them. Still he is not happy despite all the material comforts to him and his family. Iris sometimes remind him that they are living beyond their means and their children are being pampered. His black servant Johnny has five children and lives a frugal life. His wife and children are also happy in limited means. He is working for a firm who manage everything for their clients by any means. If someone is not their client he is doomed. One of his client Andy is incarcerated due to some embezzlement charges. Michela is falling for his wife Chloe and they both know it will be disastrous for both of them especially when his wife is pregnant with their third child. What happens next forms the story.

The story can be of anyone of us. We are running insane for material comforts and being sucked into the quicksand of this rat race. But if you are in a rat race and wins it, you are still a rat. The story has so many insights that you read some passage, then pause and relish it.
1. We are becoming more and more dependent on technology to remember things which we can remember easily otherwise. This is leading to digital amnesia.
2. Michael used God shamelessly to get his means. He knew that Americans love god. Even judges tend to give lighter sentences to criminals who demonstrate remorse. God, Family and repentance all in one paragraph improves situation of people like Andy immensely.
3. No one wants to live in a world without justice still “IGNORANCE IS BLISS”.
4. There is a lot of racism in America and a tacit assumption that hundreds of thousands of blacks in America simply chose to remain poor, have a lot of children and never attempt to better their conditions.
5. Prisons are teeming with blacks as they are easy targets and privatized prison system need more people incarcerated.
All in all a very good book. I enjoyed it immensely and it made me think.
Recommendation and rating:

I would recommend it to those who like to read thought provoking books which makes you think and bring face to face with reality. I give the book a 4/ 5 stars.

Where to buy:

http://www.amazon.in/Modern-Slavery-G...

View all my reviews

Monday, 29 May 2017

Finders Keepers by Russ Colchamiro


Finders KeepersFinders Keepers by Russ Colchamiro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finders Keepers is the book one of this trilogy. What if the Gods also have systems like humans? This book is a sci-fi and has this interesting premise.

In some far off galaxy Eternitarians live who have the job of populating planets. They build eath like stystems on new planets. The story starts with an eternitarian couple Donald and Danielle. They are work crew and given a single jar of cosmic building matrial or CBM, which is universe DNA. A single drop can wipe out several star systems. They lose it and it falls on earth. It is reterievd by two tourists. They come to earth to reterieve it and then what happens makes the whole story.

To give you an idea of the premise this passage is reproduced:

Eternitarians impudently denied even the slightest similarity between themselves and the Earth cretins, physical appearance being the only exception. The people trudging along the Earth were said to evolve painfully slow and possess only the most petty and selfish instincts. Worst of all, they seemed insistent not only to repeat their mistakes no matter how many generations were afforded the opportunity to make adjustments, but also to increase the depth and breadth of the blunders.


Conventional wisdom held that littering the metaphysical Universe with humans, or pseudo-Eternitarians, or pseudo-Es, or PEs—considered the origin of the word peon—would be a colossal waste of time. Along the cosmic scale, PEs were considered by Eternitarians to be a slug-like, unorganized bunch, and not expected to last.

As this is part one the story is building. Many characters are introduced and their back stories are given. The book is very hilarious and fast moving.

But sometimes it is difficult to keep track of many characters in varied geographical and sometime many galaxies locations.


Recommendation and rating

It will appeal to those who like sci-fi and comedy. I give it 3/ 5 stars.


Where to buy:


https://www.amazon.in/Finders-Keepers...



View all my reviews

A Symphony of Chance Encounters by Sayujya Sankar


A Symphony of Chance EncountersA Symphony of Chance Encounters by Sayujya Sankar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An anthology of twenty poems and stories is covering many human emotions. Love, craziness, hate, desperation etc. the range is varied.

Story 16 “A Dragon Fire and Cuckoo Song” is about weaving stories. Nisha writes larger than life stories. She creates Minotours (a monster in Greek mythology) and Naagins (female personified snakes of Hindu mythology). She meets Thangjam who reads Kafka. They weave stories that are fantastic.

Story 8 “An Incomplete Building” of Viskaha who frequents a construction site. The temporary nature of construction and some incomplete stories are similar.

Story 2 “A Sane Insanity” is about dissociative personality disorder. Is it genes or due to conditions that people have split personality? Vani and her alter ego Shnathi is a metaphor of rebellion of a oppressed woman. As Nietzshe said “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” This one has strong feminist tone and very interesting.

Poem 11 “A Symphony of Chance Encounters” is Saragm (Scale of harmony) defined in a poem. Pa- “In love too there is silence. A silence that grows in throat”.


The poems and stories have deep meanings and metaphors. The language is first rate and engaging. But the tone and mood is dark and depressing. This is a very good collection and to be cherished.

Recommendation and rating


Recommended to all who like good meaningful but somewhat depressive writing. I give 3.5/ 5 stars to the book.


Where to buy:


http://www.amazon.in/Symphony-Chance-...



View all my reviews