Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: The Einstein Pursuit by Chris Kuzneski (Payne & Jones, #8)

Creation is a certain virtue which everyone possess and taps the way they deem fit. The term fiction is also a creation of characters, a tale and an aura which sets apart everything from the normal day to day affairs. Author Chris Kuzneski in his book "The Einstein Pursuit" goes back to his roots and revive the Payne & Jones duo to deliver another thriller filled with fun,gore and suspense. So has he been able to win the battle? Let's find out. 

Payne and Jones return in this electrifying thriller from internationally bestselling author Chris Kuzneski. A lab destroyed. An explosion in Stockholm claims the lives of an elite collection of scientists. Evidence suggests the blast was designed to eliminate all traces of their research. It's up to Interpol director Nick Dial to uncover the truth about the lab and the attack. A scientist on the run. When Dr. Mattias Sahlberg learns of the incident, he knows his life is at risk. He turns to the only men he can trust: ex-special forces operatives Jonathon Payne and David Jones. Together, they must save Sahlberg from the unknown forces that want him dead. A miraculous discovery. As Dial's case intertwines with Sahlberg's past, Payne and Jones uncover hidden truths and secret agendas involving the world's greatest minds. But there are some who are desperate to keep such radical advances in the dark and will stop at nothing to have their way.

First look at the title and the cover and one might end up concluding that it's a historical fiction with a pace. But that's where it all gets wrong. It has a reference to history but that doesn't overpowers the modern day dynamics in the story. The blurb talks about the return of the two wily characters of the series and their latest exploits related to a bomb blast and set forth. The blurb manages to wade away any chance of getting an insight as to what is there for the readers to decipher. 

The story is set off in Stockholm and other parts of the world. There has been a blast in a lab in Stochholm and it gets Interpol and other investigation agencies in the picture. But back in America there is a scientist who is under an imminent threat which can only be prevented by the retired ex-forces duo of Payne & Jones. But then the scattered events around the world get connected and it's now upto the duo to decipher the motives of the enemy. So will Payne & Jones be able to complete this science saga? Will the adversary prove to be too clever? Or will it be a collateral effect of sorts and put everything and everyone in grave danger? That's what the story is all about. 

When classic crime thrillers with adventures are penned down they only have one motive i.e to keep the readers hooked. That is what this book manages to do clean and simple. The master stroke is the unrelenting action and drama and suspense behind the science saga. Combining two contrasting fields i.e science and action it becomes one deadly combo to handle. The book has a furious pace and the events marked in a perfect fit to make it all sense for the readers. The story never leaves the desired path and creates a subtle balance of dark and hope to keep the curiosity alive. 

The only downside of the book is the enemy side which doesn't quite create a stir in the minds. It looks pale to the heroics of Payne & Jones. It should have been a much more ruthless approach rather than. a scattered one in the entire story. 

All in all the book is a classic adventure involving thrill, drama and suspense and leaves the readers in a daze. The book pulls off all stops to create a breathtaking and riveting out of the box thriller with a perfect set up. The story manages to turn over its head and make it all the more exhausting and exciting for everyone. There's no banter rather direct action involved which engrosses the mind completely. The telltale is a dreamy desire of every reader to indulge in and gallop away to the end. 


4 OUT OF 5 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

There are certain piece of fiction which never gives you enough space to negotiate the everlasting effect. There are times when even you as a reader feel helpless to the power of the pen. Author Keigo Higashino in his book yields the might of the pen to enslave the brightest and curious of minds with his heart stopping thriller. So will he be able to recreate an aura of suspense and brutality? Let's find out. 

Salvation Of A Saint is another Detective Galileo mystery from the popular Japanese writer, Keigo Higashino. This book follows the success of the previous translated novel, The Devotion Of Suspect X.When the body of a murdered man is discovered, suspicion soon centers around his wife, Ayane. Yoshitaka Mashiba has been murdered by arsenic poisoning in his own house. He had been planning to leave his wife.The problem is, Ayane was nowhere near the scene when the murder happened. She was miles away, visiting her mother. Detective Kusanagi knows she is the logical suspect, but he finds himself falling in love with her, which affects his judgement. His assistant is convinced that Ayane committed the deed. Finding that she could not depend on her senior’s cool judgement in this particular case, she follows his own precedence and calls in expert assistance. She asks Kusanagi’s friend, Yukawa, for help to unravel the puzzle.Yoshitaka Mashiba was planning to leave Ayane because she could not give him children. This impersonal attitude of his angered Ayane, who loved him. So, she has motive enough to have murdered him. The only problem is to link her with the crime, as she was not physically present at the scene of the crime.Salvation Of A Saint is a how-did-it happen kind of mystery instead of the traditional whodunit. It unravels like a sophisticated logical puzzle as Yukawa sorts through the tangle and tries to solve the seeming impossibility of the crime.

First look at the title and the cover and one cannot guess what the novel will transpire into. The taglines and the heaps of praise for the author gives away the gyst of the book. But then there's more to it that meets the eye. The blurb turns out to be a lengthy affair and it manages to capture the essence of the book. Though it could have been a short and a snobbish one somehow the author thus pulls off something out of the box to gauge the reader's curiosity. 

The story is set off in Tokyo where Yoshitaka is found dead in his house. It all points to a murder and the suspect list is drawn to a bare minimum. When Detective Kushanagi steps in to solve the case along with the physicist Galileo and his hyper active subordinates it takes them on a long trail from where there is either a way in or it's a dead end. So where does the entire fiasco end in? Will it ever be proved that Yoshitaka was murdered or the case will wound up in the dusty corners of the police records? That's what the story is all about. 

What sets the story apart from the others its unique ways to pull off charismatic stunts and exaggerate on smallest of points yet make it look large like a canvas. The story takes turns to fool the readers and make head ways into their minds and souls. The limitations of the environment makes it all the more challenging and mind boggling. Subtle hints being dropped from time to time doesn't makes life easier for the readers. It's the best trick pulled out of the bag and being boxed into a world where it all looks plain and simple but the facts are far from easy. It takes the hard way out to find what it managed to do in a single stroke with such a precision. 

The book has no downside whatsoever. 

All in all it revolves with a certain motive and gives you the calm before a brewing storm. No stone has been left unturned to capture a reader off guard. It delivers edge of the seat experience and makes life difficult for a reader. The approach and methodical kill makes it one of the most devastating effects in a mystery thriller. The book is no less than a miracle and miracles like these happen only once in a lifetime. 


5 OUT OF 5

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Forbidden Tomb by Chris Kuzneski (Hunters, #2)

There are secrets and then there are bigger darker secrets. History sometimes can be unrelenting, unforgettable and perhaps even more darker than it looks from outset. Author Chris Kuzneski in his Hunter series takes the story forward from the previous part titled "Forbidden Tomb" on a middle east saga where everything is a blur and still it all lies there to be touched and unraveled. So has the author struck gold? Let's find out.

Millennia ago, Alexander the Great ruled most of the known world. He was revered as a god, and when he was buried, he was interred with the wealth fit for the legend that he had become. The mystery of the his tomb's true location continues to hound treasure hunters to this very day, and it has finally come to the attention of Jack Cobb and his team of hunters. Tasked by Jean-Marc Papineau, the hunters must find the tomb, and the wealth that it holds. However, Alexandria, the original location of the tomb, is now an ancient city. Exploration is banned in the tunnels and cisterns below it, and they are not going to find clues so easily. When they manage to get into the underworld, the hunters discover that they are not the only ones looking for the tomb.

First look at the title and the cover and one can delve deep into the hidden secrets of history. Some in plain sight while some concealed away from the prying eyes of the world. The cover has been done tastefully and adds to the charisma of the book. The blurb talks about a missing piece of history which has not been uncovered even by the best of the lot yet it tempts the inner senses to the full. Though the blurb gives the faintest of ideas of what is going to happen yet it leaves the rest to the book.

The story is set off in Egypt and Sahara desert as the Hunters are on a new trail of locating the missing Alexander's Tomb. But things aren't that easy as it looks from the outside. Once they set out to capture the unconquered they encounter forces which have set in motion a trail blazing fury so as to keep the secret hidden from the world. But it's the Hunter's will against the unknown demonic entity. So will they survive the desert sands or will the enemy will have the last hurrah? Will the tomb ever be discovered? That's what the story is all about. 

When history is in the making then there are endless possibilities. It opens a few doors and shuts many. You might end up in a soup or you might stumble upon unassailable knowledge and wealth. The book traverses a path of both keeping in the mind the nuances of the historical relevance of Alexander the great. The story generally trudges on the long and vicious paths of unknown and fearful but eases it out to met the bitter-sweet treatment. It becomes a thrill cum adventure which maintains a vigorous tempo. The story is a runaway blockbuster with it's mysterious elements as well as the teamwork high octane action and drama far away from the comfort zone. 

The downside of the book is it fails to provide greater leverage to the darker forces and fails to ignite a more passionate and resolute anti hero for the story. The character sketch of the anti forces look pale when it goes out to seek revenge and safety for the dead and buried. The story probably could have done away with some melodrama on the Hunter's side and give the enemy more action to bite and chew on. 

All in all the explosive narration and historical saga comes out unscathed. The story forcing you to be in top gear almost at all times. There is no margin for error and the book churns out the best hidden truth through blending fiction and action and thrill. The story is heart rendering and ruthless yet captivating and scintillating. It's hard to resist the Hunters and the Hunted. 


4 OUT OF 5

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Happily Murdered by Rasleen Syal

There was a time when mystery was a dose of medicine for the literature fanatics. Gradually the mania fizzled out but over the time it has again rose to prominence with the inception of a certain new style. But the inspiration comes from the ones who set the benchmark for the present lot. Author Rasleen Syal in her book "Happily Murdered" takes readers for a spin and leave them in a tizzy over a well planned murder. So has she been able to pull out the best tricks out of her bag? Let's find out. 

Gulab Sarin has been murdered. The new daughter-in-law of the wealthy and influential Mehta family, she is found dead the day after her wedding. The police know for certain that it’s an insider. Anyone could be the murderer, from the adulterous husband to the plotting in-laws. Or it could be the jealous friend or the love struck ex-fiance. All of them wish to save their own skins and incriminate others, so they begin a crusade to hunt for the truth as amateur detectives. Can they bring out the truth or will Gulab’s murderer vanish, leaving the truth dead just like her?

First look at the title and the cover and there is a hint of gore to it. But the cover looks pale and the title quite out of the blues. The title doesn't hits the right chord but the blurb comes back as a saving grace. The blurb talks about a murder and its repercussions. It's a blurb which one expects to be part of a murder mystery giving out nothing. 

The story is set off in the hills of Ratnagiri with a royal decor and galore where a murder has happened on the wedding night. It sets into motion frenzied activity among the Mehta household and calls for unwanted attention and bad publicity. Somebody did it and from there on it's a vicious circle to pin point the murdered? So who had the motive behind the gruesome killing and who benefited the most from it? That's what the story is going to be. 

There is a certain charm to the story and it acts as a leverage to the entire scenario. It's the compactness of the setup. The tightly knit conserved atmosphere by and large is a tried and tested formula and works like a charm here too. The story has a sluggish approach to it but nonetheless it helps bring out the best of a murder mystery and in turn keeps the curiosity alive. The much contrived murder mystery and drama theatrics of the plot give it colorful and dark flavor. The story moves in tepid circles but manages to hold the sanctity of it's motive true. The book towards the end springs some surprises which gives it a much better effect and a great finishing touch. 

The book fails to excite in its initial run and churns out a very dull and pale approach towards building momentum. The characters look out of sorts and thrown in together as a bunch. A few of the characters looking over the top and completely unnecessary. Also there is a certain conviction missing at times and by large it gives the male characters an upper hands in the story leaving out the women in cold. The past narration too is not up to the mark and doesn't creates the stir which was expected out of it and becomes a burden after a certain point. 

All in all the book does shines with it's melodramatic approach to the murder saga. It never manages to keep a single person at head of the story but the hotch potch gives it a edginess which works in its favor. There have been breathing spaces where the story does crumbles but it manages to pull out the neatest tricks out of the bag to finish off what started as a mystery mania for the readers. It's a light heart dark book to be read and savored. 


3 OUT OF 5  


Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Private by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Private, #1)

Thrillers and thrillers. Where's the thrill in that? But when you get 3 in 1 mania going down in a book it becomes difficult to avoid. Author James Patterson & Maxine Paetro bring together 'Private" under a new series to woo the readers out of their wits. So are they successful in their attempt? Let's find out. 

Jack Morgan decides to resurrect his father’s old private investigation company, named Private. His father served several years in prison and left Jack the resources to make Private a large company with a global presence. In this first book, Jack focuses on three cases. The first relates to a large NFL gambling scandal that Jack’s uncle commissions his company to look into, because he believes organized crime might be involved. In another case, eighteen schoolgirls are dead. The police have no leads in the matter, and the killers seem to have escaped for good. The third case, however, is more personal. It’s related to the murder of Jack’s best friend’s wife. Adding to Jack’s problems are his brother’s gambling weakness, and his personal feelings at having left his men behind to die in a helicopter crash years ago when he served as a marine copter pilot in Afghanistan.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader can easily shout "Mystery and Thriller". The book cover says it all though it lacks depth and doesn't packs a punch either. The title borrows heavily from the series name and is self titled. The blurb talks about an agency and three different cases they are working upon. The blurb is good considering the fact it doesn't gives us any hints as what to expect from the book. 

The story is of Private, an investigation agency which has been inherited by Jack Moran from his father. Along with the brightest and curious minds Jack works his way around to solve cases ranging from murders to kidnapping to private detective work etc. But three cases simultaneously brings halt the entire operation when the agency is embroiled in a schoolgirl murder case, NFL betting scandal and cold blooded murder of a close friend of Jack. Soon the team find itself at crossroads as they don't have leads and head starts. So will Private's skills and charisma work around its way or will the cases dent their image? That's what the story is all about. 

Three story lines gelled in one is always an exciting prospect and one gets to read variety. The author scores some brownie points when the mix and match works up to a certain level. The book scores on suspense, mystery and feeds on fear and helplessness and brutality of the cases. The team and individual characters shine and outshine their own self. The calm and sudden hail storm are in equal measures in the entire book and gives a befitting touch to the thriller. As an agency the outlook and the best of the business tag and their pokey nature is fun to read and plucking out everything out of nothing becomes a specialty of the story.  

The personal vendetta proves to be the downfall of the book. The NFL story proves to be a party spoiler. The sex and intimacy could have been toned down to a limit. At times the antagonist looks pale in the story and weakens the brutal effect. The end is dull and scampers through which is not ideal for the book. The end could have been more spot on and a touch more ruthless. The mellowed outlook certainly is weakening.

All in all there is an entire mix of hot and cold atmosphere in the book. The drama continues to drive the entire team and the reader and keeps it effective to a level. The book falters at times but manages to scamper through and sweetens the deal with other deliverance. The book isn't as tough as its outlook is portrayed but still proves a point or two with the combination of grit and brute. The book is a jolly good entertainer but not a spectacular runner. 


3 OUT OF 5   

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat

Who said only god creates love stories? Well there's another breed of species which is quite adept at doing it too. Be it real or fiction they have pioneered the idea for centuries now. The breed is called authors. Though they are no match to godly holds but they are no less either. Author Chetan Bhagat in his continuing love for romance brings forth his latest book "Half Girlfriend" for the readers and pursue it through the commoner's eyes. So will the readers feel the connect? Let's find out. 

Madhav is a Bihari boy with big dreams who falls in love with the beautiful Riya, a rich lass from Delhi. There are some fundamental differences between the two. Madhav’s English isn’t all that great, but Riya speaks the best English. Madhav wants Riya to be his girlfriend but Riya disagrees. She wants them to be just friends but he definitely wants more. Riya finally comes up with a suggestion, a compromise – she agrees to become his half-girlfriend! Chetan Bhagat presents a simple and beautiful love story that will move you with all the nuances of a modern-day relationship. It also inspires you to realize your individual dreams.

First look at the title and the cover and one will feel amused. The title is quite funny yet there's hidden reason behind it. It is left to the readers to uncover the mystery of half girlfriend. The cover could have been more tastefully and it doesn't lives up to the expectations. The blurb talks about two people and their lives and how they cross each other paths. The blurb could have been given a more mysterious approach. It's simplistic approach gives a hint too many about what to find in the book. 

The story is set off in St. Stephens College, New Delhi where two contrasting personalities come across each other. Madhav Jha is from a village in Bihar and Riya is an urban girl from Delhi. There are barriers and it sets apart both of them. But it gradually grows to be uncharacteristic and then it unfolds in a grand manner. They both end up on the bitter-sweet side of life and then from there on it's left to both of them to pick up the bits and pieces and move on. Will they be able to do it together? What is going to be bloom between the two? What will come across as a barrier in their lives or will they overcome the odds to make it an indulgence to remember in a lifetime? That's what the story is all about. 

The book is simplistic and that's a feather in the cap. There are two aspects: love and ambition and both come across in good measure in the story. There's small town and up town argument which gets settled in quite a humorous manner. There are other sociological and psychological barriers which have been presented through the commoner's eyes and keeps the story's sanctity alive. Love as a backdrop which gives the book a dimension which is common yet difficult to swallow about. The story has an everyday life approach which gives it a meaningful stage. The dilemma and hopeless Madhav is a star in the shining of the story. The contrasting personalities adds quirkiness too. The mindset of two different people play the mind games with readers. The dilly dolly love-hate relationship is also an added feature. 

The downside of the story it doesn't offers you a spectacular approach to love and feels predictable. The parts towards the end look overstretched and gets out of hands. The book dulls in the middle when ambition takes over and takes the book completely off course. The decisive finish lacks fine and deep touches and pales in the shadow of hopes. The desperation in Madhav's character has gone overboard and could have been toned down to an extent. Riya has not been utilized to the full potential towards the end. 

All in all the book is a rich mix of love and ambition. It's not a half hearted effort as the title suggests. The subjects given impetus in the story are quite familiar but the set up different. There are glorious moments of love and passion and hiccups and sorrows then there's dull times too. The book offers a combination which is for once to be read and pondered about. The simple sentences are to be delved deep into and the touch of all emotions is heart felt. It's a common love story for the commoners but with an uncommon approach. For once you need to be in the shoes of the characters to experience it. It's not spectacular but it's miraculous. It'll make you believe in some ideas which are rubbished off quite easily in daily lives. The book is every lover's "delightful dream" in the real life.


3 OUT OF 5