Monday, September 23, 2019

#BookReview: The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

The Wrong Side of Goodbye The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some stories mean a lot to you just the way they span generations and way it changes the course of someone's life. "The Wrong side of Goodbye" starts with Bosch being hired by an old guy, almost on his deathbed to find his heir that he abandoned about 60 years ago. And so starts a search that leads Bosch to revisit his time in the Vietnam war and in parallel search for this heir and any other family that the Old guy might have. Also, Bosch is working as a reserve for the Police department and a case of a serial rapist is taking shape and getting a lot of traction. With these two cases running in parallel, this book has no dearth of action and revelations.

This is by far my favorite of all the books I have read in the Bosch series. It had the same intensity that Bosch has but there was something about him being on his own that showed how he has made connections over the years and how he has this other side outside his old job. The investigation was laid out very systematically and engaged the reader at every turn. Once you start this one, I bet you won't take much time finishing it.

It also had the other Connelly character - Mickey Haller [ Bosch's stepbrother who is also a really good lawyer] whom I liked so I would now read the books in the Lincoln lawyer series based on him.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

QBR: Morning, Noon & Night by Sidney Sheldon

                                                       372 + pages
                                                       Originally Published in 1997
                                                       RT Rating: 3.5/5

This work first came out almost two decades ago, but still it hasn't become dated and manages to be a racy read. Sidney Sheldon was truly the 'Mr Blockbuster' and will remain to be so and I can confidently say that no Tilly Bagshawe or James Patterson can replicate Sheldon.

The Verdict:On the whole,Morning,Noon& Night is  racy,entertaining pulp.
Synopsis: The Great Harry Stanford, one of America's richest businessman has drowned mysteriously while cruising on his yacht.He was never fond of his three children during his lifetime and soon a young lady appears claiming to be his illegitimate child and a share of his fortune. Is she an imposter?
The Good:enough twists and turns which makes it a racy read.
The Bad:the characters are quite shallow and you never get to invest in them that much.
RecommendationsBuy it!


Sunday, September 15, 2019

#BookReview: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine.

Review: The book is not just a thriller but it actually packs a lot of observation about American society and highlights a lot of issues that have no resolution currently but need understanding from everyone. The story actually starts once the cops are gunned down because that is the true polarising event for everyone. The author has not gone into defending any action but through a brilliant set of characters, he has shown how such events impact everyone.

The writing is really good and the book is fast-paced without losing the focus on people and their emotions. I had not expected to read a detailed discussion of the jurors but it surely works for the best as it engages the reader too to dissect all evidence and statements by all parties called in court.

Tessa is a strong lady with her heart and head at right places and too much reference to her past without much clues was intriguing. But I also felt that she was also too judgemental and suspicious of even her best friend and colleague.

The courtroom scenes were amazingly crafted, so much that I laughed loud two or three times reading that section. The combination of Nat Bodine and his daughter iis brilliantly executed in the scenes. I would want to read more stories that involve this pair and not just Tessa alone.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Winner of Three Awards:
2019 American Fiction Award
National Indie Excellency Award - Best Legal Thriller of 2019
Silver Medal Winner 2019 - Readers' Favorites Awards
Chosen by among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Book Cover

The 'Lying Game' is a 2017 thriller by Ruth Ware. Much like her previous works, this one also has an atmospheric setting and a good mix of interesting characters with grey shades and relies heavily on their antics to take the story forward.

Thea, Kate,Fathima and Isa are four childhood friends.They used to play a secret game in their childhood-the lying game!Seventeen years later, all of them receive a text message from Kate which says that she needs to meet them all urgently.At the drop of a hat, the three of them rush to meet Kate(!),only to witness some bizarre experiences at Kate's 'Tide Mill'.Pretty soon they realize that their past is catching up and it has something to do with the disappearance of Kate's beloved father, Ambrose and their expulsion from the Salten boarding school, all those years ago.

The Protagonist is Isa and the story is being told from her perspective.The supporting cast include Isa's toddler Freya, her friends Kate,(step)brother Luc,friends Fathima and Thea and a few others.The basic problem with this book is that while Ware has invested so much time and pages in getting her characters right, she has forgotten to add some layers and twists to the story.The 'Lying Game' angle is also forgotten after the initial gimmicks(the school re-union scenes)!  Things get highly predictable and boring after the first hundred pages or so and the overall length of the book at 370+ pages doesn't help in making the proceedings racy or interesting either!

Ruth Ware gets her setting right, the claustrophobic premise is quite unsettling and to be very frank, the episode involving the dead goat is also quite scary.But from then,the story goes downhill , the next 350 pages or so is sheer boredom.The narrative gets some life again only towards the last ten pages or so,by then the reader has totally lost interest in what Mrs Ware has got to say. The basic problem with the book is that it has only one genuine suspense to tell and the entire plot is an excuse to reach that point!

On the whole, I am giving it a 2.5 out of 5.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Regional: Padinjare Kalam Chorakkalam by Indugopan

  G.R Indugopan is one of the new age writers in Malayalam whose works are absolutely engaging reads.Padinjare Kalam Chorakkalam is his latest work which explores the dark underbelly of Kollam.In this world inhabited by rowdies and goons, Indugopan weaves in three delightful stories which dabbles with the themes of lost love,redemption and revenge.The three novellas have a couple of recurring characters and as a result the book jacket (published by DC) claims that this one is a novel! Neverthless, this book is an absolute delight to read and my pick of the lot is the third novella, 'Shankhumukhi'. It traces the story of underworld Kingpin,'Binu' and his/her escapades(spoiler alert!).I is funny,poignant and cinematic.On the whole, I am going with 3.5 out of 5 for this book.Indugopan's prose is simple,relatable and highly readable.Looking forward to his next work!


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Review: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of the author and his mother Mary who is diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. While visiting the hospital for various rounds of treatment, he asks her what she is reading at the time and thus starts this book club where they discuss books read before , exchange more books and after a while even read same books to discuss as and when they talk. So this book is also a collection of all the books, their discussions, and their life stories. It is a wonderful book and though I did not keep track of the books they talked about, I learned so much about life lessons, human bonds and how stories help make things happen.

My favorite lesson from the book was that one must never stop asking about other's stories and also share the word about a good cause you believe in. You never know when you might find help or be able to provide help to someone. Then there is a point where the author asks his mother how to help and how to know you are doing enough to which his mother says, when you want to know more about the world and how to help - You Read.  At every other turn, Mary shows how books are the ultimate safe haven for everyone and also the only way we can know how to be better.

This book inspired me to work harder, read better and help more and more people in every little way and most importantly, to be kind and to always show my love and respect when I have time. I liked the book so much that I gifted it to friends and have bought my own copy so I can mark my favorite passages in the book.

Some quotes from the book -

“This, I finally realized, was how Mom was able to focus when I was not. It was how she was able to be present with me, present with the people at a benefit or the hospital. She felt whatever emotions she felt, but feeling was never a useful substitute for doing, and she never let the former get in the way of the latter. If anything, she used her emotions to motivate her and help her concentrate. The emphasis for her was always on doing what needed to be done."

“How can you be lonely, Mom said, when there are always people who want to share their stories with you, to tell you about their lives and families and dreams and plans?”

Mom talked to everyone and had no hesitation approaching people who were crying, in pain, or in distress. (“If they don’t want to talk, they’ll tell you so, but how can you ignore them?”)”

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Pradhamadrishtya-Malayalam Crime Thriller: Update

I'm really glad to share the latest update of the upcoming Thriller , 'Pradhamdrishtya' here.The latest teasers of the...