Archive | October, 2010

ReCOVERy Friday 4

30 Oct

Wyrd SistersWyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of my top favourite authors and his Discworld series is a magical world of escape that I retreat into every now and then. While all the covers designed by Josh Kirby are spectacular, I picked this one for this week’s ReCOVERy Friday – the book happens to be a personal favourite as well. And it fits right in with the theme of the season – Happy Halloween!

The book covers designed and created by Josh Kirby gave the characters and the places a whole different dimension. While Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby might have had artistic differences, these covers definitely complemented Pratchett’s mad genius. The stories and the art work defy description, so I’m not even going to try. Read, see laugh and enjoy!

This is my post for this week’s ReCOVERy Friday.

ReCOVERy Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Miss Page-Turner’s City of Books. Here is what she has to say:
As the title suggests, I want you to recover from a busy week of working, studying, relaxing, as you like it. This meme should be fun for everyone and just a nice light start into our weekend : )
This is how it works:
1)      Think of a book cover you like (e.g. because of its cover art, model, author, title etc.) Doesn’t matter if it’s an old or new one, you just have to enjoy it!
2)      Create a ReCOVERy Friday post for your blog and post it with the whole wonderful weekend ahead ( I don’t mind if you post it one or two days later, because you lack of time)
3)      Maybe add some sentences and explain why you like the cover…
4)      Then add your ReCOVERy Friday post to Mr. Linky below so everyone can enjoy it.
5)      Check out other  ReCOVERy Friday posts if you like to compare them, chat about them, get inspiration and just have fun!
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Book Review: Private Eyes by Jonathan Kellerman

28 Oct

Private Eyes by Jonathan KellermanGenre: Crime fiction

Publisher: Bantam Books

Source: Purchased

Spanning a 20-year period, this crime thriller is an interesting read. Consulting psychologist Alex Delaware teams up with Detective Milo Sturgis in this gripping psychological thriller. Not for the faint-hearted!

Synopsis:

Melissa Dickinson was Delaware’s patient when she was seven years old. Gina, Melissa’s agoraphobic mother seems to have passed on some of her phobia to her daughter. Eleven years later, Melissa gets in touch with him again asking him for help as old ghosts have reappeared in her life.

Review:

During my month of Mystery and Crime fiction, the body count has been piling up, so this non-murder mystery was a good break. That’s not to say that there are no murders, just that they are not the main focus of this particular storyline. Go along on a roller-coaster ride in the sunny San Labrador suburbs of LA.

Gina has been physically and emotionally scarred by a traumatic experience in her life. She is unable to step out of the house or have a normal life. Her seven-year-old daughter, Melissa, is invariably badly affected by the atmosphere of fear and phobia in her life. She takes the decision to get better and calls a help line. Alex Delaware takes on her case and helps her deal with her fears. Many years later, Melissa calls Delaware and asks him to step in again because she has found out that the person responsible for her mother’s condition has been released from prison and is back in LA.

Melissa’s fears could have been dismissed as paranoia, until her mother suddenly goes missing. Sturgis who has been given a 6 month suspension, teams up with Delaware to get the bottom of many well-kept secrets that threaten many people.

Sarcastic detectives, hard-talking cops, princess in her tower and psychiatrists gone bad are just some of the players in this gripping crime thriller.

Verdict:

Definitely worth a read, especially for psychological thriller fans. Kellerman introduces just enough psych-talk to make this story believable and interesting. Other psychologists and psychiatrists and their highly unorthodox treatment methods add to the thrill and horror.

The pace was great and almost uniform throughout, which is another reason I like this one more than the other Alex Delaware (Gone) I read earlier this month.

Related articles:

Deception and Gone by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Review: Innocent Blood by P.D. James

Book Review: Cover Her Face by P.D. James (Adam Dalgliesh)

26 Oct

Cover Her Face by P.D. JamesGenre: Crime fiction

Publisher: Warner Books

Source: Purchased

After reading this book, I understand why P.D. James is called the “Queen of Crime.” Her effortless story telling and steady pace of adding of layers and information makes this first Adam Dalgliesh novel a pithy read.

Synopsis:

Sally Jupp is a sly, attractive young woman who seems to be a mass of contradictions. An unmarried mother, she is also the subject of a lot of speculation in the village. Secretive and manipulative, she is ready to do anything to climb the social ladder. When she is found murdered in her room one morning, the entire household is under suspicion, many of them having motive to have done it. Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh has the seemingly difficult task of getting to the bottom of this mystery.

Review:

This story has just the right amount of character development, description and clues to make it an easy interesting read for all crime fiction lovers.

It has rather a different feel with the speculating and theorizing being done not just by the police, but by the other characters themselves – and in a way that you are left guessing if they they are the perpetrators, or they know who did it, or if they are just joining in the speculation.

Maybe it was just my impatience, but the last 100 pages went round in circles a bit. But that is the characteristic of detective novels such as this one where the players are gathered into the living room and the detective sums up the case and reveals the murderer. Formulaic, but fun.

I love how James develops each character, we get to know them better and better and thus can make a highly educated guess as to who the murderer is.

Adam Dalgliesh is not fully developed in this story, understandably since this is his debut. I guess James saw the potential for him and he developed a lot more through the series.

The best thing for me is that the story is very well-written. There is an easy style and usage of mot juste throughout makes this an immensely enjoyable read.

Verdict:

Must read for detective/crime fiction fans. Great place to start if you’re thinking of giving P.D. James a try.

Read more about Mystery & Crime fiction month.

Book Review: Point of No Return by Sunaina Serna Ahluwalia

22 Oct

Genre: Crime fictionPoint of No Return

Publisher: Indialog

Source: Personal copy

While continuing my Mystery and Crime fiction spree this month, I came across the blurb of this book by Indian author Sunaina Serna Ahluwalia. The plot seemed interesting enough, so I decided to give it a try.

Synopsis (from publisher):

The body of an unidentified man washes up on Juhu beach one fine morning found by an unsuspecting morning walker. Thus begins the public outcry fed by the media frenzy.

Natasha Chopra, a successful journalist, finds herself mired in speculation. All she remembers is that she too had been there, at that crucial moment and cannot recall a thing to save her life. ACP Himanshu Pandey, a young dynamic officer of the Mumbai police comes across a case that appears to be a tough nut to crack. Arpita Paul, the heartthrob of the nation, the bollywood diva who rules the box office, faces life squarely with the bitter truth hiding behind the dark glasses.

Add to this, lawyers, models and the glitterati of Mumbai and you have an explosive combination. With minute-to-minute thrills, Point Of No Return takes the reader through the seamier side of life in Mumbai, India as well as through Istanbul, Turkey. Read on to know about the murder that shook Mumbai at large….

Review:

This book could have been a decent read, but for various reasons it fails to hit the mark.

The plot, premise and story line are okay. The twists and pace were also not too bad. But the story lacks maturity in parts. This is especially glaring in the romantic parts, where there is a schoolgirl love-at-first-sight kind of romance.

The characters were not bad, but they were all one-dimensional. All the “good” people in the story are extremely good. Even the “bad” guys are good people who have been pushed into a bad corner. The story could have definitely done with the colour of having some grey areas in characterisation.

The author also makes the mistake of too much unnecessary information in certain chapters. For instance, while introducing us to the forensic pathologist, there is a 2-3 page discourse on what forensics is and how it is used to catch criminals. Not at all needed by anyone who reads crime fiction or watches crime TV shows.

All my knowledge of criminal investigation comes from watching shows like CSI on TV, so I might be way off the mark here, but it looked to me like there was some overlap of roles – the forensic pathologist is also fingerprint expert who also joins the police on location in a suspect’s home.

Another plot point that was rather unconvincing was a Mumbai magazine sending a reporter to cover the murder of a Turkish businessman, even if he was politically powerful. One more aspect I’m completely willing to overlook if not for the cumulative problems with this book.

What really spoilt any possible enjoyment of reading this book was that it was so badly edited. Perhaps not edited at all. Not just typos, but grammatical errors are just everywhere! The language lacks a sophistication that a good editor could have worked on to bring this book to a much higher standard. Wrong usage of quotes, grammatically incorrect sentences, grammatically incomplete sentences, redundant use of synonyms and sudden use of italics are just some of the issues with the editing.

Verdict:

I cannot recommend this book, which is a pity since it definitely had promise. I only hope Serna Ahluwalia will make a much better effort with the editing of her next book.