Tag Archives: crime fiction

Book Review – Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris


Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The danger with reading something that comes with such high praise is that you set yourself up for disappointment.

Crime fiction / psychological thrillers are my antidote, my cure for a reading slump, something that consumes my mind in the most deliciously twisted way, that I come out of satisfied and happy – marveling at the author’s ingenuity, intelligence or creativity; their timing; their ability to bring out the worst in human nature in the most believable way.

Probably, for many readers, this book delivered that. But for me, even though I was hooked to see what happened next, a large chunk of the story got very tiresome and there were many moments of impatience where I just wanted them to get on with it. The story tries hard but lacks depth. The villain is portrayed far too evil to be believable.

So even though I found myself reading it in every free minute I had, I also wanted to get done with it a.s.a.p. to be able to move on to something more meaningful – so its been a bit confusing to understand whether I liked it or not.

I can however say for sure that I did not “enjoy” it. I did not come away with a feeling of being on a roller coaster ride that was over too soon, or with an overwhelming feeling to make my friends read it 🙂

I think I’ve been #muchtoocritical on this one. But it is how it is.

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Book Review: Unraveling Oliver / Lying in Wait – Liz Nugent


Unravelling OliverUnravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t remember where I read about Liz Nugent’s novels, but I don’t think it was on any of the popular / conventional thriller lists. So I am very glad I came across them.

I read both her books, “Lying in Wait” and “Unraveling Oliver” back to back and this is almost like a joint review of them. Both books base their stories on a foundation of human depravity and auto-centric conniving characters. I like that every chapter is narrated by a character, moving the story forward, revealing differing perspectives and conclusions on the same event. This is especially interesting when one of the characters fails to understand / discover the depths of another character’s deceit or duplicity.

The story begins with a powerful hook and you cannot help yourself but read on, because the reveal is so gradual – the event itself becomes less important, its the reasons that lead to the event that become much more interesting. There is something satisfying about the author’s unrestrained depiction of her low-life characters.

This is not a ‘whodunnit’, but more of a ‘whydunnit’ – and that is what makes it psychologically thrilling.

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Book Review: The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons


5/5 STARS!!!!!!!

27239265Well…. that was pretty intense, exciting and enjoyable!
Gibson Vaughn is like the American equivalent of Cormoran Strike – in a refreshing, believable and non-super hero kind of way; and this first book builds a great back story for him. This is not a James Bond / Mitch Rapp equivalent and I’m so grateful to Matthew FitzSimmons for keeping it real. I am definitely looking forward to the release of the next one in October this year.

The story hooks you from the very first page and keeps the tempo up throughout. There is something about surveillance videos of missing persons that just keeps you glued and I’m sharing no more than that. Though I was able to guess the plot before the big reveal, that didn’t spoil it for me, it was still super interesting till the end.

Usually, in this genre, the lead character is either unbelievably ‘uber cool’ or so ‘flawed’ that it doesn’t seem real anymore and I find it hard to relate to. But I liked all the characterizations in this book. They are well balanced, and don’t fall into the usual cliched territory. The other thing that sets this one apart is that while the book is so fast paced, its not a shallow story and makes one care for its characters. It will stick in the mind for a while.

I think this story is perfect for American TV or at least a movie, though I think 2 hours wouldn’t do justice to all the plot lines.

Read it!!

Featured image: Goodreads.com

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The Tokyo Zodiac Murders – Book Review


The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (Pushkin Vertigo)The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 STARS
This was my first ‘locked-room’ mystery. Or rather, the first time I was aware I was reading one.
I think discovering this genre got me really excited and I began with too much anticipation and expectation, which almost always seems to dis-favour the book and therefore it fell a little short of my usual 4 star experience.

I’ve come to love Japanese fiction and so far I’ve only explored the mystery and crime genres there. Clearly this book has gained cult status, appearing on several ‘locked-room’ and Japanese crime/mystery lists. For a first book, I think it was very good and quite clever. Through almost 80% of the book my interest was high and I was reading at every given opportunity. It was only towards the end that I felt a bit deflated.

But I wont be discounting Soji Shimada just yet. I can only imagine his writing and plots getting better. His Wikipedia page invokes enough interest and intrigue – – – “He is a strong supporter of amateur Honkaku (i.e. authentic, orthodox) mystery writers. Following the trend of Social School of crime fiction led by Seicho Matsumoto, he was the pioneer of “Shin-Honkaku” (New Orthodox) logic mystery genre. He led the mystery boom from the late 1980s to present day. As the father of “Shin-Honkaku,” Shimada is sometimes referred to as “The Godfather of Shin-Honkaku” or “God of Mystery.”

There is no giving up on this God of Mystery.

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The 2016 Compulsive Collector’s Reading Challenge


I’ve already set myself a challenge to read 30 books this year (last year I managed 27). But the real challenge I’m setting for myself is to complete this target by reading from the books I already own.

Like most book lovers, I love to collect books – to be surrounded by books on my shelves, in my bag and in my iPad. I labor for hours online, reading several reviews and book lists to find the in best crime, thriller and contemporary fiction, and discover the most interesting true life, historical and autobiographical non-fiction. And while I keep hoarding this absolutely great stack of books (which I also fondly gaze at everyday), whenever I need to pick one to read, I almost always choose a completely new one, that was never even a part of this pile. I am greedy like that, yes. I only seem to want more and I never want to share! 😛

Having 10 unread books sitting in my book rack already, and 44 others in my iPad, did not stop me from bringing 15 more into my heart and home from the Delhi World Book Fair this weekend. Though I will say that I got these at throw away prices and at least I am not guilty about spending the month’s salary on them!

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So with that firm resolve, here’s my 2016 Reading the books I own Challenge.

Indian History

  • White Mughals
  • The Blood Telegram
  • Delhi: A Novel

Non Fiction

  • Geisha
  • Daughter of China
  • The Book of General Ignorance
  • Gangs
  • The Girl with 7 Names
  • Quest

Fiction

  • The Seventh Secret
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers
  • That Thing Around Your Neck
  • Jailbird
  • 14 Stories that Inspired Satyajit Ray
  • Americanah
  • The Accidental Tourist
  • Snow Flower and the Secret fan
  • Kafka on the Shore

Crime / Thriller

  • American Assassin
  • Naoko
  • Salvation of a Saint
  • The Case of the Missing Servant
  • K is for Killer
  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat
  • Red Queen
  • Six of Crows

Classic / 18th Century

  • The Mayor of Casterbridge
  • Wolf Hall
  • Bring Up the Bodies

Graphic Novel

  • Fun Home

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And that’s it!

I will be working really really hard to stick to this list. I’m sure I’ve missed a few interesting ones, but if I ever want to switch one around, I promise to switch it with one from my existing stack only. Wish me luck!

Do you have a compulsive book collection condition too? I’d love to hear how you deal with it. Until then, Happy Reading!

 

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Journey Under the Midnight Sun – Book Review


5/5 *****

When I wrote my concluding post of 2015, I thought I’d read all the  good stuff I could that year. But little did I know, that I’d end up reading something later that would have most likely made the top of that list. My decision to start reading this book a few days before I left for a holiday was based on the assumption that it would accompany me on my travels and end up being something I finished in the new year. Yet, 4 days later, there I was, marveling at what I had just read.

JourneyIntoTheMidnightSun_firstlook_02

Image Source: Crime Fiction Lover

 

To anyone who has an interest in psychological crime fiction, I cannot recommend this book enough. To those who are looking for an all consuming, remarkable piece of writing, well, what are you waiting for!

Every time I finish a Keigo Higashino book, I am in awe of his imagination, intelligence, depth of detail, his character profiles, the strange stories and plot lines he comes up with, the way he creates Japan in my mind, and his ability to keep me so helplessly glued to them, that even as a 500+ page book ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’ is effortless and brilliant. I loved the manner in which this one spans across 20 years, slowing down the passage of time in the story but never losing pace in the telling of it.

When I read ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, I couldn’t have had a better initiation into Japanese crime fiction or Japanese fiction for that matter, and made a mental note of Higashino as one to watch out for. With ‘Malice’, his brilliance was confirmed and now with ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’, he completely satisfies the high bar he has set for himself in each of these books.

While we are quickly running out of translated titles of his novels, I do hope his popularity is picked up with a renewed rigor by translators this year and we find several more titles from this master storyteller hitting the English reader’s market. Both ‘Malice’ and ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’ have been among the most memorable books for me in 2015 and in 2016, I look forward to the only two titles in English  I haven’t yet read -‘Salvation of a Saint’ and ‘Naoko’.

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