The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz – Book Review


Goodreads blurb: In this adrenaline-charged thriller, genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces.

Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a trusted source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female super hacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering.

Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Lisbeth for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. In The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the duo who thrilled 80 million readers in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest meet again in an extraordinary and uniquely of-the-moment thriller.


When I first saw the promos of The Girl in the Spider’s Web I literally fell out of my chair as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was one of the books responsible for me restarting my crazy voracious reading habit all over again, and it had been quite a while after I had finished reading the Millennium Trilogy, almost all of four years now. And therefore when I heard that the series itself was going to be continued, albeit by a different author David Lagercrantz given that Stieg Larsson, the original author had passed away, I more than looked forward to what Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the protagonists would be upto in this book.

And to be fair to the author, the book didn’t disappoint at all, although it didn’t quite blow me away like the books in the original trilogy. While those books dealt more with the inner personal demons that both the protagonists were fighting in parallel with the evil designs of the antagonists, this book more or less focuses more on the narrative itself rather than delve too much into either Mikael or Lisbeth themselves. Well, given that a genius like Stieg Larsson created these characters and made them memorable, I completely understand why David Lagercrantz couldn’t quite live up to readers’ expectations in this regard. Both Mikael and Lisbeth are fairly complicated characters with extremely muddled up psyches, troubled pasts, extremely complex minds and therefore it followed that the author would not be able to add too much more value there.

However, where the book worked really well for me was the fact that the author took these two characters with all their strengths, failings, unique little quirks, made them his own and crafted what is truly a well-paced, cohesive and contemporary narrative. The overarching story is something that all of us are familiar with, the NSA and its ‘Big Brother’ snooping activities around the world, and the author injects a whole lot of energy into the book and proceedings simply by playing to Mikael and Lisbeth’s strengths. Another big plus for me was the presence of an extremely strong antagonist in this book, somebody from Lisbeth’s past, somebody scary, who made proceedings extremely interesting, and also ensured that there would be more books in this series as well.

In a nutshell, this book is a must read for all fans of the original Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, although they must be warned that this book is not as deep or layered as those books were. That being said, even readers who have not read the original trilogy can read this book and I can vouch that they will go ahead and read the trilogy after they finish this book.

Click here to purchase this book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.

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Alex – Pierre LeMaitre – Book Review

untitledGoodreads blurb: In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial. After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to nearly none. Alex Prévost – beautiful, resourceful, tough – may be no ordinary victim, but her time is running out.

Commandant Camille Verhoeven and his detectives have nothing to go on: no suspect, no lead, rapidly diminishing hope. All they know is that a girl was snatched off the streets of Paris and bundled into a white van.

The enigma that is the fate of Alex will keep Verhoeven guessing until the bitter, bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.


As is the case with his first novel Irene, this one Alex by Pierre Lemaitre also starts off with a kidnapping. The author takes his time in building up the circumstances that lead to the kidnapping, how Commandant Verhoeven is reluctantly pulled into the investigation, how he teams up with his earlier colleagues, the ever dependable Armand and his erstwhile long term partner Louis. What makes this portion more interesting is that Camille Verhoeven is still struggling to come to terms with what happens right at the end of the earlier book. Am not giving it away here as it would constitute a spoiler. In case you want to know more about Irene, read my review at this link [Link to review].

In any case, what starts off as a kidnapping with an unidentified victim soon spirals into something else altogether. Somewhere around midway through the book, the narrative takes quite a bizarre and interesting turn and the proceedings soon pick up breakneck speed giving Camille and his team more than a few sleepless nights. The kidnapping investigation soon becomes a chase where the cops are trying to figure out who the next victim of a serial killer is and try to anticipate the crimes to prevent them. Whether they succeed or not forms the crux of the second part of the book.

The final third of the book provides closure, not only to the case on hand but also to Camille who achieves closures on multiple aspects from his personal and professional life. He finally learns to let go of his emotional luggage and is ready to move on. These portions of the book where the author fleshes out his main protagonist make for some really interesting reading and enable readers to bond with Camille closer than would otherwise have been possible. Although the crime investigation and the police procedural parts of the book are top notch, to me, it is this emotional connect that I made with Camille Verhoeven that will make this book special to me.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review of the same.

Irene – Pierre LeMaitre – Book Review

IreneGoodreads blurb: For Commandant Verhoeven life is beautiful: he is happily married, expecting his first child with the lovely Irène.

But his blissful existence is punctured by a murder of unprecedented savagery. Worse still, the press seems to have it in for him – his every move is headline news. When he discovers that the killer has killed before – that each murder is an homage to a classic crime novel – the fourth estate are quick to coin a nickname… The Novelist…

With both men in the public eye, the case develops into a personal duel, each hell-bent on outsmarting the other. There can only be one winner – whoever has the least to lose…


While Irene by Pierre LeMaitre is not the first novel in the Crime Fiction genre that I have read that is authored by European authors, the fact remains that I still remain in awe of books in this genre written by the Europeans. While the basic premise of the books remain the same, crime thrillers, the subtle way in which the suspense and the thrills keep building leading to an explosive climax in the end simply blows my mind away each and every time. This and coupled with the fact that the authors pay more than a little bit of attention to the entire detailing of the police procedural aspects make these books a treat to read.

And this book is no different, starting from how Commandant Camille Verhoeven gets involved in investigating a gruesome double murder to building on the story itself while providing readers with enough pleasant interludes into his personal life, his childhood, how and why he becomes a cop, his wife’s impending pregnancy, the narrative takes us on the trail of a macabre serial killer who seems to be reenacting murders in excruciating details from crime thriller novels of the past. The identity and the motives of the killer, and more importantly how does the press manage to get a wind of all that Camille and his team are investigating form a majority of the crux of the narrative.

But trust me when I say this, the last 90 odd pages of the book will simply blow your mind away with the abrupt twist that the story takes. These pages form a riveting, blisteringly paced, nerve wracking, nail biting climax and overall leaves the reader quite breathless. BTW, the climax also provides an extremely clear rationale for why the book is named what it is.

Suffice to say that I am immediately going to jump right away into reading Alex by the same author, the second in the Camille Verhoeven trilogy with great enthusiasm.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link]


A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Finders Keepers – Stephen King – Book Review

FindersKeepersGoodreads blurb: 1978: Meet Morris Bellamy, a reader obsessed by novelist John Rothstein, the reclusive genius who created the celebrated fictional character Jimmy Gold.

Morris is livid – not just because Rothstein has stopped writing but because he has made the nonconformist Jimmy sell out for a career in advertising. Morris breaks into Rothstein’s house and empties his safe of cash. But the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel – and Morris is prepared to kill for them. Later, he goes to jail for another crime but not before he has hidden the spoils.

2009: Meet young Pete Saubers, whose father was brutally injured by a stolen Mercedes while he was queuing at a job fair. When Pete discovers a buried trunk containing the money and notebooks, he realises he has the means to rescue his family from poverty. If he can keep it secret…

2014: Morris is up for parole. And he’s hell-bent on recovering his treasure. That’s when retired detective Bill Hodges – who has set up a company called ‘Finders Keepers’ – is asked to investigate. Together with colleagues Holly Gibney and Jerome Robinson, Hodges must rescue Pete from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris…

Not since Misery has King written with such visceral power about a reader with such a dangerous obsession. Finders Keepers is spectacular suspense, and it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life – for good, for bad, forever.


For quite some time now I have wanted to get my hands on a good Stephen King book (are there any bad ones written by him at all?) and therefore when I started Finders Keepers I was more than excited having started off with my first Stephen King book, and man, was I left spell bound or what?

While the book itself is a standalone one with only the principal characters from his earlier book Mr Mercedes being carried over into this one as well, there are enough hints and character traits that carry over from the earlier book that it makes it inevitable that readers will surely want to pick up the earlier book and read that one as well. In fact, King ties up the main events in the first book with one principal event in this book as well, and that clearly shows how much the man knows his art and how much he has perfected his craft of storytelling.

As the blurb states, the narrative of this book primarily deals with two readers, one of whom is quite a fanatic of a reclusive novelist and the other an accidental but equally knowledgeable reader of the same novelist, separated by decades of their love for the author and his work, as well as by physical and mental distances. While they populate separate ‘worlds’ for all practical purposes, they are brought together by their love for the author and a strange coincidence of fate as well. And as is wont with Stephen King novels, sparks fly when these two protagonists meet.

Add to this mix, ex cop Bill Hodges, his assistant Holly and his friend Jerome, the principal characters from the first book in this trilogy and lo and behold, you have a crackerjack of a suspense thriller on your hands. Pretty soon, everybody is facing their worst demons, racing the clock and struggling to keep their wits around them just to stay alive. Suffice to say that the book is quite unputdownable, and for sure, has forced my hand not only to read the next one in the trilogy coming out next year, but also to grab a copy of the first one in the trilogy as well.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.

Sleeping on Jupiter – Anuradha Roy – Book Review

untitledGoodreads blurb : A train stops at a railway station. A young woman jumps off. She has wild hair, sloppy clothes, a distracted air. She looks Indian, yet she is somehow not. The sudden violence of what happens next leaves the other passengers gasping. The train terminates at Jarmuli, a temple town by the sea. Here, among pilgrims, priests and ashrams, three old women disembark only to encounter the girl once again. What is someone like her doing in this remote corner, which attracts only worshippers? Over the next five days, the old women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide finds ecstasy in forbidden love; and the girl is joined by a photographer battling his own demons. The full force of the evil and violence beneath the serene surface of the town becomes evident when their lives overlap and collide. Unexpected connections are revealed between devotion and violence, friendship and fear as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark past that transforms all who encounter it. This is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world.


Picture this; three old women on a holiday, one of who suffers from a mild form of Alzheimer’s’, one  young woman who is Indian but has lived in Norway for most of her teenage life, her ‘assistant’ who is helping her out in filming a documentary, a temple guide, all of these characters’ lives criss-cross each other during the time they are in Jarmuli. And the incidents that occur are nothing short of life-changing for each of them.

The young girl seems to be running away from something or is she in search of something. Her assistant is struggling with a broken marriage. The old women, in the twilight of their lives, are just trying to relive some good old fun days reminiscing on their lives gone by and old incidents. The temple guide is struggling with issues of his forbidden love.

Flitting between points of views of the various characters, the author paints quite a vivid picture of the temple town, its inhabitants, the various issues that each of these characters grapple with, their pasts, their presents and their journey towards an uncertain future, and more importantly their search for what I term ‘closure’. The young woman’s demons in particular are quite gruesome and hold a mirror to one of India’s realities which most of us conveniently either choose to ignore or are simply aren’t aware of.

Suffice to say that the author does weave her words quite poetically and paints quite the vivid picture using the setting very well. Her prose almost always reads like poetry and leaves readers with quite a whimsical view of not just the characters’ situations but our own lives in general. What worked really well for me (and might not for most other readers) was the fact that the ending was left quite open ended. All the knots are not necessarily tied up, and quite a bit is left to readers’ imaginations.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review.