The Books I loved in 2021: Part II


 In this second part of the year-ender post, I will be crowing about the five other books that got me swooned over in the year gone by.

6. Neuro Area (Sivan Edamana, DC Books):

Writing a Paisa Vasool Crime Thriller that doesn't belittle your sensibilities is no mean task. Sivan Edamana's 'Neuro Area' is a delectable mix of medical mumbo jumbo, modern-day tech wizardry, and page-turning fun.

Set in a futuristic corporate hospital, Neuro Area begins with Dr. Rahul Sivasankar, the C.EO of the hospital, getting into a coma after getting critically injured in a road accident. The doctor is shifted to a highly protected state-of-the-art Neuro ICU of the hospital (Neuro Area), which Robots entirely man. In a bizarre turn of events, a junior doctor of the hospital, Dr. Meenakshy, gets assigned as the duty doctor in the entry restricted Neuro Area, but little did she realize what was in store for her!

Though it has its share of minor flaws, this one is a super fun read!

7. Guest List (Lucy Foley, Harper Collins)

This creepy, claustrophobic whodunit is an intelligent blend of old-school Agatha Christie and modern psychological Suspense. Set on a remote island somewhere off the coast of  Ireland, Lucy Foley's follow-up to her highly successful 'Hunting Party' tells the story of the wedding of a superstar couple (a rising TV star and an ambitious digital magazine publisher). Friends and relatives have been invited, and the stage is set for the grand gala wedding. But soon, bodies start piling up, and nothing is what it seems.

With an ambit of characters and narrated through multiple perspectives,  Guest List is a slow-burning, character-driven thriller worth your time and money!

8. Adiyor Mishiha Enna Novel (Vinoy Thomas, D.C.Books):

I picked up this book, thinking it to be a novel but was pleasantly surprised to find it to be an anthology of short stories. I must confess that I am not a great fan of Malayalam short stories as often; I find them too abstract to my liking. But Vinoy Thomas proved me wrong with his delectable collection, which is witty, dark, and poignant. This collection is an absolute winner, replete with sarcasm, satire, and black humor!

9. Maidens (Alex Michaelides, W&N ):

Maidens is the author's follow-up work to his international bestseller, 'The Silent Patient.' I must say that the love I felt towards this book is as much as I hate it. Maidens is the story of a group therapist named Marianna, mourning the loss of her beloved husband, Sebastian. She gets to know that her niece, Zoe, a student at Cambridge, has just lost her best friend. Without wasting time, she leaves for Cambridge only to find that the police have arrested someone she thinks is innocent. Will Marianna manage to find out the truth? The book essentially tries to unravel this mystery.

 While 'The Silent Patient' had a novel premise, 'The Maidens' is a generic thriller, at best. The writer has tried to put some novelty in the narrative by throwing Greek mythology in between(which also saves this one from being a complete downer!). I liked the way Alex ended the book by bringing in characters from his previous work. I wish the rest of the book were also that much fun!

 10. Indian Poocha (Sunu A.V, D.C. Books), Onnaam Forensic Adhyaayam (Rajad R, Green Books) Njaana Bharam (E.Santhosh Kumar, Mathrubhumi Books):

While the former is a collection of short stories which got me enthralled sometime in early 2021, the latter is the book that has kept me hooked currently. In Indian Poocha, Sunu manages to weave stories around real people, the kind we meet in real life. That's perhaps the reason why Imran, with a dark past, and Aboobakker, who has intelligent observations about life, are still fresh in my mind. This one is a genuinely readable collection with its heart in the right place. Sunu A.V's stories do transcend boundaries, just like the cat who doesn't bother crossing the same!

Onnaam Forensic Adhyaayam by Rajad R, though marketed as a crime thriller, is much more than your average generic template thriller. One of the best literary crime novels to have come out of Malayalam in recent years, Onnnaam Forensic narrates the story of a missing politician and the investigation with pursues. The author's progressive ideas about life and death give a philosophical tone to the narrative. I must say that I didn't see the climax twist coming! This one is a  genuinely enjoyable read!

I am just halfway through E Santhosh Kumar's Njaanabhaaram, but I must confess that I have already fallen in love with this poignant tale. I must write a detailed review once I am done with this one!)

A delicious read indeed!

-nikhimenon

 (The first part of this post can be read here)

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