Saturday, 31 October 2015

Gone Mother


Gone Mother is a book with a very interesting twist. And yes, it is a gripping tale because it kept me hooked till the end. I finished it in one sitting and that too, without skipping pages.

I didnt pay attention to the full stops or chapter-scene separators because the narrative had a smooth flow. Karin surely knows how to engage a reader with her vivid imageries. I must admit, as I neared the ending, my heartbeats had increased due to curiosity.

Alice is definitely a plucky woman and a lucky kid. A lucky female child would be more appropriate. Karin has subtly highlighted the issue of child abuse. Yes, it is sad but true, child abuse exists in every society. And what is worse is that the paedophiles and predators are generally people known to the innocent victim. These abusers are psychologically sick and take out their frustrations on hapless children. Besides, lack of awareness and trusting the wrong person by parents does allow such abusers to escape unscathed, unnoticed. I am a parent with daughters, and this book gave me goosebumps. I have always been extra-careful when it is my kids, but now my safety concerns for them has increased double-fold.

The best thing about this book is that Karin has not gone over the top in her descriptions, has used simple language and an uncomplicated plot. And yes, the storyline is gripping without gory details and epitomises quality in brevity.

To sum up, the book is definitely worth reading and re-reading to affirm that abusers of children look just like normal people. It is only when they are caught or likely to get caught that their vicious criminal nature emerges.

P.S- Karin, your book will definitely force people to introspect.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Framed And Burning: Pre-Orders


Lisa Brunette is gearing up for her new release of Framed and Burning: Book Two in the Dreamslippers Series. Release date is November 27, 2015 and pre-orders are being taken now for this new novel.

Framed and Burning, Book Two in the Dreamslippers Series
Published by Sky Harbor LLC
# of pages TBD since it's a pre-order
November 27, 2015 pub date
Genre: Mystery

Book Synopsis:


The Dreamslippers are a family of private investigators who have the ability to "slip" into your dreams. The first book in the series, Cat in the Flock, was published to critical acclaim and is trending at 4.5 stars on Amazon with 35 reviews. In Framed and Burning, someone sets fire to Mick Travers’s art studio, killing his assistant, and Mick won't give an alibi. His dreamslipping sister--the eccentric Amazing Grace--is convinced he's innocent, but her granddaughter and the police aren't so sure. Was it Mick, or is something darker behind the fire?

ADVANCED PRAISE  
"Framed and Burning is the second book in the Dreamslippers series. It’s easy to follow and hard to put down, making readers who may not have read the first book race back to give it a try!"  - InD'tale Magazine

"Lisa Brunette continues to develop vibrant characters in a stunning story that will keep you reading well past your bedtime!" - On My Kindle

PRE-ORDER ON EBOOK NOW FOR $1 OFF!

Only $2.99 if you order before November 27, 2015 - price goes to $3.99 afterward.
 
In the U.S. - Amazon - Apple iBookstore - for all iOS devices - Barnes & Noble - for the Nook - Kobo - numerous devices - Smashwords - for Kindle, Android, and most other formats
 
Outside the U.S. - pricing and discount varies - Amazon Australia - Amazon Canada - Amazon UK - Nook UK - Kobo International
 
About the Author: 

Lisa Brunette is the author of the Dreamslippers mystery series. Book One, Cat in the Flock, is an indieBRAG honoree title that has been praised by Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review, Readers Lane, and others.

Brunette is a career writer/editor whose work has appeared in major daily newspapers and magazines, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Woman, and Poets & Writers. She's interviewed a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a sex expert, homeless women, and the designer of the Batmobile, among others.

She has story design and writing credits in hundreds of bestselling video games, including the Mystery Case Files, Mystery Trackers, and Dark Tales series for Big Fish and AAA games for Nintendo and Microsoft platforms.

She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Miami, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Bellingham Review, The Comstock Review, Icarus International, and elsewhere.

She's also received many honors for her writing, including a major grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, the William Stafford Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project Award.

She blogs at www.catintheflock.com and has been a guest-blogger for Author magazine and Dr. Chris Michaels's blog.

Brunette is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

Connect: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram |

Friday, 23 October 2015

Coffee House Lies



I learnt the art of writing flash fiction from Carly Berg through her book by the same name. And from this collection of hers, I have learnt the power that very short stories have.

Coffee House Lies is a flash fiction collection of very short stories which can be read anywhere, any time. In fact, each story is refreshingly different, hence you feel like continuing; its like 'let me read one more!!'.

Carly has ensured that each story is like a different cup of coffee, differing in taste, aroma and presentation. The stories range from being creamy and hot as a cappuccino, strong as an espresso, chocolatey as a mocha, icy cold as a frappe and at times both hot and cold like Viennese coffee.

Well-written, these stories capture almost all variants of an imaginative mind. They also appeal to all possible emotions - joy, peace, sorrow, disgust, anger, courage, love, humour, astonishment, and the like. Left to myself, I could go on and on raving about these stories.

To sum up, even if you dare me to pick my favourites, I can't, because each story has become a personal favourite of mine. And yes, this comes straight from the heart because, neither am I related to Carly nor do I know her personally. Its only her stories which are increasing my admiration for her.

P.S- Carly you and your stories rock!!!

The Ghost Of Normandy Road


As children, we get to hear various legends which sound very scary. The Ghost of Normandy Road is one such narrated through the eyes of a ten year old boy Danny.

John Hennessy definitely kept me hooked to his book till the very end. The narration is fast paced, purposedly left distorted at few points, a bit gothic and with appropriate language. It gives you the right amount of chills and frights.

The book also brings about aural and visual imageries in the mind of the reader. Its like a movie being played with all the sound and light effects needed in a horror movie. The story has the potential to involve the reader as a participant in the proceedings of the story.

The icing on the cake was the ending. Totally unexpected and unthought of. In fact, it is the ending which will make the reader go back to the story again and again and again to check out for loopholes if any.

There are a few issues, like absence of reasons for the ending, sudden changes in scenes, etc., but once the story ends, all these really do not matter.

To sum up, the Ghost of Normandy Road definitely spooks you out but its ending does leave you with a 'Wow!!!'

P.S- I received a free copy of ebook in exchange for an honest review from Booklover Catlady Publicity. Thank you Maxine.

The Red Wraith



The Red Wraith is a story which intrigued me since the very first chapter. Never had much exposure to historical fiction, but this story had the power to keep me glued till the end.

Nick has a writing style that can keep you guessing whats going to come up next. His narration is undoubtedly a mix of fantasy, fiction and history, but kudos to him to have kept the historical facts as they were. Definitely well-researched I must say. Especially for me, though I am from India with not much awareness about Native Americans, this book led me on a journey towards discovering a whole new world.

What sets this story apart is that, inspite of being based on Native Americans, the descriptions regarding destruction and the way a whole community getting wiped, does ensure development of a feeling of empathy.

Naysin is a character who has the qualities of being loved, hated, sympathised and felt sorry for. His character compelled me to think about the younger generation of the modern world. Whoever says history repeats itself is right. Its so easy to mislead the youngsters because they are naive. They have the abilities to wreck havoc. But it doesnot mean that they do not realize their wrongdoings. In the ling run, they definitely feel guilty and try to atone. So the question is, isn't it the moral responsibility of we adults to ensure that whatever influence is exerted on the teenagers is positive? Such constructive influence will not only empower these youngster but also lead to a better world. Nick, hats off to you to subtly bringing this out in your story.

To sum up, The Red Wraith is a beautiful melange of history, fantasy and fiction. There are portions which appear distorted and confusing, but these are definitely very much a part of the story that unfolds with each page turn.

P.S- Your book had inspired me to read more historical fiction Nick. Its History time for me now ;-)"

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Doc's Codicil



Book Description: 

When Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family learns that to  inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to  his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by talking to Doc’s friends, reading the memoir Doc wrote of a Christmas season decades earlier, searching through Doc’s correspondence, and discovering clues around them. Humor abounds as this mismatched lot tries to find time in their hectic lives to work together to solve the puzzle. In the end, will they
realize that fortune comes in many guises?
   
Doc’s  Codicil is a mystery told with gentle humor. It tells the story of a veterinarian who teaches his heirs a lesson from the grave.


Purchase on Amazon.   

About the Author: 

It seems my life has been a testament to questionable decisions and lost opportunities. However, my wife of 39 years says she knows of nothing in the record to justify such unfettered optimism.

I am a member of the last generation of rural veterinarians who remember working with cows that had names and personalities and dairymen  who worked in the barn with their families. I’m also part of the first wave of the Baby Boomers, crusty codgers who are writing their wills and  grousing about kids who don’t pay attention to what old men say, and can even be damned condescending at times.

I was raised on a dairy farm in West-central Wisconsin and exhibited Holstein cattle and Clydesdale horses from the time I was ten-years-old until I graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State in 1969. I practiced veterinary medicine on Wisconsin dairy farms until 1988, when my wife and I packed up our four children and I entered  graduate school at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

I developed the first ante-mortem diagnostic test for proliferative enteritis, a diarrheal disease of swine caused by Lawsonia intracellularis. The test is now the standard diagnostic test for the disease. With adoption of the test, it was also found that L. intracellularis is the most common cause of post-weaning diarrhea in horses.

 
After 19 years of work on the research and development of bovine and swine vaccines, I am retired. I’m using the scraps of what I can remember to spin stories of a family and veterinary practice, stories that could almost be true. Some of the true stories that didn’t make it into my books can be found on this website.

My first novel, Doc’s Codicil, will be published in October 2015. I have two published short stories: Valentine, published in Straightjacket, the 2012 spring issue, and The Attempted Armed Deposit, in the 2009 California Writers Club Chap Book. http://garyfjones.com/


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Serendipity:Tomas Care

It was serendipity which made us discover the writings by an awesome Author, Tomas Care. In fact, if we say that we owe it all to The Shorthand Prince, we won't be wrong!!! Tomas has oodles of creative imagination which definitely generates envy. Here's a snippet of our chat with him.

Tomas Care GR: Who is Tomas Care in real life?
TC: I was born in Salisbury, England in 1980 to an antique book seller and a nurse. I write part time, with the rest of my time wasted on earning and studying. 

I have always loved writing. I have been mainly influenced by Raymond E. Feist, Gene Wolfe, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis, George R. R. Martin and (of course) J. R. R. Tolkien. I am also a fan of John le Carré's work. I'm currently reading A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin.

You can follow me on Twitter; Follow @jollygreentom. You can also contact me at tc@tomascare.co.uk


GR: Wow!!! This is what people call True Dedication!! Now that your books are available for reading, tell us how does it feel to be a published author/writer? What are your preferred genres? Do you have a specific choice of genre?
TC: It's really cool having my books out there. Before self-publishing was a viable option, I didn't really expect I'd ever get one of my stories in print. I managed to get Bloomsbury interested in one book when I was a teenager, but I think they must have realised how raw I was.  

I've dabbled in science fiction but fantasy is definitely my genre now. You can write about things that would never be possible otherwise. It's kind of like making a rod for your own back though, inventing rules that your world must adhere to. I find that brings out the best in me.


GR: Absolutely. So does the space around you resemble a scene from the Flights of Fantasies you have created?What does your writing place look like?
TC: At a laptop, on a sofa, in front of a television, worryingly close to a playstation controller…


GR: Well...that is what best describes 'techno fantasy'!!! By the way, which of the fictional characters created by you is closest to depicting you and why?
TC: Well at six feet and five inches, it would be easy to compare me to one of the tall characters I've written, such as the architect/shipwright Nezz Glenny. I like to think that I'm of infallible character, but as with all people who assume that of themselves, I'm not! So perhaps in that way I'm like King Sultes Fahrenne, the main character in my first book 'The Shorthand Prince', or Yucles Iyassi, the titular Great Scribe from book 4.


GR: Whoa...now that sounds like a combination of attributes. What, according to you, are your strengths and weaknesses as an author/ writer?
TC: I have a ridiculous imagination. This is both my strength, as it lends itself so beautifully to fantasy, and my weakness, as I don't know when I've let myself get too carried away.

I also struggle with discipline. I'm pleased that I've got so much going on in my life, but I really wish I could find the time and discipline to write more.

GR: Your imagination is definitely your strength. To write about an imaginary world with a bit of yourself does require oodles of creativity. Describe the latest book that you have written. Where can we buy it?
TC: I've just published the final book in a seven part series. It's called 'The Immortal Queen' and resolves along running rebellion that has been waged in honour of Queen Acalletta Fahrenne, whilst she is comatose and captive.

The series of books focuses quite strongly on the disastrous cycle of revenge in a world which is already dangerous and deadly. The queen is magically protected from harm - something that I wanted to accentuate by making my world as brutal as possible - and she wakes up in this book.

The series is written so that she is one of a number of heroes/heroines with seemingly insurmountable power. They are then pitted against an enemy so overwhelming that even these great champions might not be victorious.

You can read about the Queen's battle, and her Fahrennic Rebellion on Amazon UK .


GR: True creativity definitely needs inspiration. Who and/or What inspires you the most? Why?:  
TC: Originally I was inspired by writers such as Terry Pratchett, who seemed to have boundless imagination and a crucible in which that talent could play out.

Encouragement from key people in my childhood have shaped my ambition to be a writer though - my parents, godparents, sister. I remember all my English teachers, they are all responsible for the books I've written now. As an adult, I'm spurred on by the support and interest of my friends and girlfriend.

GR: With so many books to your credit, do you ever have leisure time? What all do you do when you are not writing? And in your case, if ever you take a break from writing non-stop!!!
TC: I pick up the playstation controller! I'm a keen moviegoer too, and still try to play a bit of football even though I'm knocking on a bit now...

GR: No wonder you keep the play station controller close to you!!! By the way, which writing project are you currently working on?
TC: The 7 part series I just finished was written in quite a quick style, as an effort to learn about constructing plot. I'm really pleased with how they turned out but I still prefer a more patient, descriptive style. I'm now writing 'The Stars from the Dead', which is set in the same world as my previous books, and is chiefly about the belief that a new world can be discovered, and that a fallen hero from the concluded rebellion is to be buried there.

The first half of the book is set at sea. The second half is set in the discovered new world.


GR: Well, now that you have so many books to your credit, and many awesome writers have inspired you, lets say, if you could re-write one Fiction/Non-Fiction written by another author, which would it be and why?
TC: The Knight by Gene Wolfe. It's the sequel to The Wizard and in my opinion lets the first book down (just a little). I'd love to try and tidy it up. Of course, it is just possible that I missed the point, Wolfe is the master, after all.

GR: Thank you so much Tomas. It was great knowing you. I am sure your books will soon be the inspiration for many wannabe writers in the Fantasy Fiction genre. We wish you the magic of good charm that never ends, spells for good luck that always work and eternal creative imagination.

Tomas Care is an Author who combines fantasy with realism, a Writer who loves to tell stories, a person for whom creating stories is a way of life. Loads of Luck to this wonderful Author.

P.S:- We were lucky to lay our hands on one of his Book at Kindle Store. Here is our review of The Shorthand Prince..

The Shorthand Prince



The Shorthand Prince is the first book in a series called the The Three Cards. To call it a fantasy fiction will be like underrating it. It is like an allegory from which parallels can be drawn in real life situations as well.

The book revolves around King Sultes. Its his story all the way. The conflicts between his roles as a king, a husband and a father form up the central theme. King Sultes is a character you will love to love and love to hate at the same time. What he does as a father is well-justified, after all, love for one's child will make a parent go to any extent. But yes, as a king, it is totally unacceptable. A king is a protector of his subjects, hence his turning out to be their silent destructor, is an absolute no-no. When you finish reading the story, it will make you want to forgive King Sultes as a father but not as a king.

Tomas Care has an awesome imagination and his creativity has ensured that the world he has created is impeccable. His descriptions are well-worded and trigger visual imageries in the reader's mind. His narration is gripping. His characterizations have their traits well etched. The internal conflicts of major characters are well depicted.

To sum up, once you finish this book, you will want to read the next for sure.

P.S - Tomas your imagination is your strength.

GR Comment:-
It was our good luck that we happened to have an Up, Close and Personal chat with Tomas. Check out our Rendezvous With Tomas Care !!!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Murder In The Bougainvillea



Murder in the Bougainvillea is a story that is short, sweet and at the same time compelling. You can't stop once you start reading.

The story has all the required elements of a supernatural murder mystery. It has a well-written plot, tight narrative, excellent characterization and above all, absence of jargons.

It is a must-read because of the protagonist Natasha Green as well. Natasha is down-to-earth, sensible, practical and very observant. I am sure, her observation skills will come in handy later on as well. As the perfect side kick, Sid does a pretty good job supporting her.

I won't give away the plot etc., because you need to read it to love it.The narrative does trigger a mental movie, and the story is like watching it happen in front of you without actively participating in it.

To sum up, if you need a feel good story that ensures 'all is well that ends well', and at the same time keeps you hooked on till the end, then this book is definitely your kind.

P.S - What is up next for Natasha Green, Gillian???

Pieces Like Pottery


I wish I could give this collection 10 stars instead of 5. Its an awesome read from the start to finish.

I cannot specify which amongst the stories are my personal favourites because they all are. Each of the story in this collection has the power to pull the strings of your heart. The stories will make you grieve, cry, smile through your tears, empathize, introspect, in fact, they will make you feel every emotion that exists under the sun. The title for this collection is perfectly apt. The collection is like pottery and each story, each poetry, each quote, like its creation; they are independent but very much connected. The collection has an earthy flavour to it, whereby, every story is like some thing happening in reality. The stories are the real protagonists in this collection.

Dan is a wonderful storyteller. His narrative style and choice of words make the stories feel so real, its like seeing real life in print. The stories get you so involved that you can't stop until you finish reading. And yes, they will entice you to come back to them again, and again, and again. There are no exaggerations, no unnecessary additions, just plain yet emphatic story.

I say this without shame that by the time I finished reading the last page I was busy wiping away my tears with a towel (My handkerchief was nowhere to be seen!!!). This book is unputdownable.

To sum up, if you really wish to read stories which will make you 'feel', this collection is a must-read.

P.S- I am going to buy a print copy of this book and add to my collection of evergreen books!!! 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

I Know How You Feel: The Sensate


Read a book which was refreshingly different. A new concept about Sensates - People who have the ability to send customized sensations to others. In simple words, Sensates can feel the desires and sensations of others, imbibe their takents with a single touch and derive their strengths through rides, as in loads of physical contact.

The storyline is pretty interesting. Hani, the protagonist is unaware of his immense powers and learns through every new experience. Oblivious to the antagonist's motive, he becomes a victim to her ploys long before he realizes. Of course, there is a damsel who rescues this knight in distress. And this aspect makes the plot all the more worth reading. This book ends with a promise of a sequel.

Nicole's book is an out and out adult fiction. There are loads of scenes which are definitely a no-no for kids, but it can't be helped since they are important to the story. However, maybe, a few more scenes like healings, imbibing negativity through touch etc., could be thought of for addition in sequel, so as to reduce the adult content and increase readership, because this story is worth reading.

Nicole has this great sense of humour, which she adds on to her characters. Hani is affable. Laurie is cute. Dr Todd is despicable, and all the others add spark to the plot with their presence.

To sum up, this book is unputdownable, thanks to its plot. An awesome read, but can cause discomfort for the Amish.

P.S - A little birdie told me there is a sequel. But before that, you need to read this book.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Afterlife

 

Is there an Afterlife after all? This was the question which kept kept coming on to my mind as I read the story.

Ed starts off on a futuristic note when he portrays shortage of food throughout the world. He creates an organization which controls ration supply. Trust me, this situation does appear to be possible, since the rate at which agricultural produce is reducing is alarming.

The concent is very good in terms of the storyline however, I found there was something amiss throughout. There were a few elements whose presence didnt add much to the storyline, like the rendezvous between the three clairvoyants abd Jack. Also, there is no stark contrast between the protagonist and the antagonist. It means that I couldn't make myself love to love the hero and love to hate the anti hero.

Afterlife, or life after death, is always believed to be Heaven or Hell. This belief is common to all religions across the world. However, though the story did incorporate this but I felt, that Ed could have added a bit more of inter- faith religious beliefs to make the story's concept stand out.

The story deserves 5 stars for a very refreshing concept, but for me, the treatment and weak characterization disappointed me a bit.To come back to my question at the beginning of this review, Afterlife is a hoax, a tool to compel people to willingly commit suicide so as to ensure availability of food in larger quantity. I hope, in case the situation of food shortage does exist, the issue is dealt with more sensibly and not by suicide compulsion.

To sum up, the story is interesting but wish it could have add a wee bit more of descriptions.

P.S- I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review from Booklover Catlady Publicity. Thank you Maxine.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Seeking Redemption



Book Blurb:

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

Pre-order from Amazon


About the Author:
Dr.Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world.  
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.
When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.

Contact the Author:


   

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Red Flag


Titania Hudson's Red Flag reminds me of the red coloured flag hung at spots or places considered to be dangerous. Add to this, the theme of her book which is distrust in relationships. Just like a red flag, when there are negative interruptions in a relationship, one amongst the couple needs to introspect and place mental red flags wherever necessary.

The book is neither a sermon nor an advisory. Titania does an awesome job by keeping the language simple, to the point and seem more like a friendly conversation.

Kudos to her for addressing every issue possible under the sun. Abuse, possessiveness, gambling, substance dependency, flings and affairs, you name it and they all find a place in this book.

Red Flag deals with anything and everything that can mar a relationship. Titania brings out the Hows, Whys, and Whats very effectively. Being an experienced dating counsellor, she explains witb real examples regarding the pros and cons of each issue. She also acts as a guide by suggesting measures that are both implementable and practical.

No matter at what stage of relationship you are in, this book is a must-read for any reader.

P.S- Red Flag is a book I will recommend to my friends who wish to enhance the quality of their relationships.

Coke: An Excerpt

At the first ring, Rustam picked up his mobile. It showed Bob’s number on the screen. He put the mobile to his ear and listened.

“I’m speaking from the loo…there’s news for you.”

“Why from the toilet?”

“Because no other place in the house is safe to talk to you,” Bob whispered back.

“When can we meet, then?”

“In the evening, after my duty’s over.”

“Didn’t you say you have day-night duties from now on?”

“They are letting me go for now in the evenings. But not at your place. It’s too risky.”

“Okay. So, where and when?”

“Hello, someone seems to be knocking at the door.”

The phone call ended with the roar of the flushing toilet.

At eight-thirty sharp, Rustam met Bob at Girish Park.

“Why didn’t you get in touch with me the last three days?” Rustam looked sharply at Bob.

“There were problems.” Bob let out a thick cloud of cigarette smoke.

“It’s getting increasingly risky to come out and meet you like this.”

Though they stood in close proximity, their faces looked away in diametrically opposite directions. Unless you looked carefully, it was difficult to make out they were actually talking to each other.
Rustam idly looked at the snarling evening traffic, his hands on the railing of the park.

“So, what’s the news?”

On a bench inside the park, a young couple took advantage of the darkness to get cozy with each other. Bob simply couldn’t take his eyes off them.

“The red suitcase…”  Bob’s voice trailed off as his eyes were riveted on the frenetic activities of the couple on the bench, their bodies wrapped under a shawl. 

“Yes, what about the red suitcase?” Rustam cast one sharp glance at Bob, before looking away.

“I know where it is.” Bob’s face got hidden in a cloud of smoke.

“Good.” Rustam’s voice sounded relieved. 

“In which room?”

“Upstairs, in boss’s bed room.”

“What makes you so sure?” Rustam’s eyes narrowed as he watched Bob’s face intently. For some inexplicable reason, he had never been able to fully trust Bob right from the beginning.

“One of the middle rooms on the first floor…was kept under lock and key all this while.” Bob’s eyes were still very much on the couple on the bench.

“Bob…why aren’t you saying anything?”
Rustam’s voice sounded impatient.

The couple’s bodies were locked in a tight clinch under the shawl.

“Bob?”

“I saw one of the sentries take the suitcase away from the middle room to boss’s bedroom.”

Rustam kept his eyes on the Central Avenue. A traffic jam was forming near the crossing, adjacent to the park. An eccentric man, with a wooden stick in his hand, was trying to regulate the traffic, in the process, making things much worse for everyone.

“Did you get to see where he hid it inside the bed room?”

“No.” Bob watched fascinated what the couple was doing on the bench, underneath the shawl.

“Niyogi shut the door after entering boss’s bed room.”

For a while both stood facing away from each other, in silence.
At long last, a cop appeared on the road and was seen trying to control the traffic. Inside the park, the couple was still locked in a tight embrace. Bob puffed at his cigarette and blew another cloud of smoke from his mouth. Rustam fanned with his hand irritably, trying hard to keep the smoke away from his face.

“Anything else?”

“Yes, there is.” Bob looked directly at Rustam for the first time in the evening.

“I think Harry is going out of town very shortly.”

“Outside Calcutta, or outside India?”

“How should I know that?” Bob answered irritably.

“Somebody came from a travel agency with a sealed envelope. I signed and received it.”

The traffic at the crossing had eased by now. The couple on the bench sat still, exhausted.

Rustam noticed Bob smiling at them. 
“What are you smiling at?”

“Nothing.” Bob took one last puff from the cigarette, flicked the butt end casually towards the footpath and walked away. 

After a while Rustam came and sat at the bench in the park.   The couple got up from the bench and walked away, each in a different direction. Rustam watched them leave, took out the mobile from his pocket and started speaking into it in a low voice.


About the Book:
“Can you help me, please?”

Pradipta wheeled around.
Standing behind was an unusually attractive lady. She wore a dark blue, chiffon saree which set off her fair complexion even more. Other than a thin gold chain with a tear-drop pearl pendant on her neck, she wore no jewelery. Her lips were pale pink, with no lipstick. Only the dark make-up on her eyes made her look even more unfathomable.

 “You’re talking to me?”

Thus begins Coke, with this chance encounter at Kathmandu airport. But the plot thickens when the lady requests him to include her suitcase as part of his checked in baggage and then does a vanishing act, once the aircraft lands in Calcutta. What follows is a riveting page-turner, replete with unexpected twists as you encounter gangs warring over narcotics, policemen, functionaries, and a sinister master-mind who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The furiously paced narrative takes you from the sleepy airport of Kathmandu to the packed streets of Calcutta, a mysterious mansion on the outskirts of town and an unforgettable chase-sequence through New Market.
From the author of the acclaimed Bengali novels ‘Kidnap’, ‘Shaaper Jhaanpi’ and ‘Robibar’ comes a high-octane thriller that’s seriously addictive and keeps you hooked till the end.

Read an Excerpt:

About the Author:
In so far as the pursuit of any true vocation is a life in itself, Barun Chanda – advertising guru, actor and writer, may be said to have had three. Born in Dhaka, he did his Masters in English at Jadavpur University. Following a brief stint as a lecturer in English, he embarked upon a career in the creative department of advertising that spanned more than 30 years, won him numerous awards and culminated in his tenure as Creative Director at Clarion McCann.
Acting occupies the second of his three worlds. In 1971, he scorched the big screen as a high-flying executive, playing the protagonist in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Seemabaddha’, and winning a special President of India Award for his performance. After a hiatus that lasted over two decades, he returned to the screen during the 90’s, and has since then acted in numerous TV series and more than 35 movies. Tackling Bollywood and Tollywood roles with equal aplomb, he has distinguished himself in films such as Lootera, Roy, Chotushkone, Aborto, MIshor Rohoshyo, Nayanchampa-r Dinraatri , Bela Sheshe and Jogajog. Chorabaali, where where once again he plays the protagonist, is his latest venture.
Barun’s third passion is writing. A regular film reviewer and contributor of articles to major dailies, in the last eight years he has published four highly acclaimed and successful novels in Bengali. His work has played a major role in establishing the adult thriller genre in Bengali literature.
Coke is his first novel in English.




   

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Sol Of The Coliseum





Adam Gaylord took me into the world of Gladiators along with Sol, his protagonist in this book.

The theme of this book reminded me of a hollywood movie, but then, there are no comparisons. This book has it all to stand out and doesnt require any kind of referrals for fame.

Sol stands for the lesser privileged and often ignored populace in the present world. Happy and contented in his small little world in the Coliseum, Sol slowly transformed into a Gladiator of repute. This rising, epitomises the begining of a new order obviously not liked by the higher echelons in the Astorian Empire.

The story subtly brings out the fact that, for people to shine, all that is necessary is preparedness and determination. Besides, it also portrays that one can never be too sure of what will happen in future, a la, Que sera sera.

Adam successfully brings out human relationships in this story. Sol's simplicity, humane demeanour, respect for women, inner strength, and his childish wonder when out in the open for the first time, would definitely bring a smile on your face. The rapport Sol shared with Grall and the Cook, was more like a father-son mother-son duo. Korra is yet another character to watch out for and so is the same about Sol's antithesis, the antagonist in this story.

This story is a must-read for all fans of Gladiators since it is like watching a movie in the mind, thanks to the visual imageries it triggers.

The story ends on a promising note, because it promises the possibility of a new beginning. In case there is one, I will definitely be one of the readers to be there at the new beginning!!

P.S- I was never much into such themes but Sol in the Coliseum has inspired me to read more.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sky Ghosts: Marco


I read Marco after I finished reading All for One in the Sky Ghosts series (thanks to the author). And I had no choice but to finish it in one sitting. The book kept me hooked on till the end.

Though titled as Marco, this book focuses on Pain and Marco (Better explained as if it is not Marco's personal views, then its Pain's thought about Marco!!!) Right from their introduction till the end of the book, Alexandra takes you on a journey into the lives of these two characters.

At one point, this book makes you feel that you are right there inside the book, like an onlooker, watching the antics of Pain and Marco. You will laugh with them, at them, you will cheer them when they fight. Alexandra has this ability to get her readers involved.

What appears to be hate at first sight, is later the very foundation of a strong friendship. They are the perfect example for the scientific theory, unlike poles attract. Now to think about, isn't it stragely true that the best of friends are actually those who begin on a wrong note???

I wish I could bring out in detail what I loved about it (which is everything!!!), but if I do so, I will be named a spoil sport. One needs to read this book in order to embark on a journey into the life of these Sky Ghosts.

By the way, many of these Sky Ghosts are teenagers, and the way they fight the Beasts, many an adult would shudder. Doesnt it sound ironical when we label teenagers as wanderers without real purpose???

To sum up, the essence of this book is best understood if you have read All for One (though it is an excellent story even when read in isolation!!!) So allow Marco to enter your lives and help you explore the world of Sky Ghosts.

P.S- If you thought All For One is good, then Marco is even better.

(Reviewed by Rajalakshmi)

Like Fine Wine

 
Julia Black has this unique style of coming straight to the point without being judgemental. Her book Like Fine Wine is not a beauty book, its a book for beautiful people, the women who are forty.

I have heard people say that the older the wine in years, the better is it in taste. Age and experience  adds on to the charm of a woman. At forty, she has everything it takes to ensure being the centre of attention. However, she gets so into things during preceding years, that she hardly knows where to begin when she nears or turns forty. Julia's book is the perfect reference. Like Fine Wine, a woman can 're-turn' into the fine woman she always was.

The best part is, Julia emphasizes that a woman can look her age and still be ravishing. Her tips and tricks are not just limited to outward charm,  they cover inner beauty as well. Hence, her views on attitude, poise etc are worth emulating.

The chapters in this book are well-defined and compact. They are not too elaborate, don't force view points, and never compromise on health standards. In fact, they provide all details that are required and in the right amount.

P.S- After reading this book I am looking forward to turn forty and be treated Like Fine Wine!!!