The Karachi Deception – Shatrujeet Nath – Book Review


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Goodreads blurb: Project Abhimanyu — an audacious plot hatched by the RAW and Indian Army intelligence to assassinate Mumbai’s dreaded underworld don Irshad Dilawar, who’s hiding in Pakistan and assisting the ISI in its proxy war against India.

Major Imtiaz Ahmed is picked to lead the special ops mission deep inside Pakistan — but the ISI and Dilawar are several steps ahead of the Indians. Beaten at every turn, Major Imtiaz is faced with the horrifying realization that Project Abhimanyu has been compromised… and his men are being lured into a deadly trap.

Set against the backdrop of global terrorism, Shatrujeet Nath’s debut novel is a quintessential spy thriller where nothing is what it seems — and treachery is a constant companion.

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While The Karachi Deception is the debut book of author Shatrujeet Nath, it is not the first book of his that I read. In fact I so thoroughly enjoyed The Guardians of Halahala (link to my review) that it prompted me to pick this book of his and man, was this book fun to read or what.

Having been brought up on a staple diet of Frederick Forsyth and some other really good spy thriller writers, I have been exposed to more than my fair share of books in this genre. Add to this the fact that I absolutely enjoy watching movies as well in the spy action thriller genre meant that I have had more than my fair share of exposure to stories and plots in this genre. And believe me when I say this The Karachi Deception can easily be put alongside some of the all-time great books of this genre and can easily stand its ground when compared with them as well.

As the blurb reads, the narrative itself deals with Project Abhimanyu, an operation involving three Indian commandos deep inside Pakistan who find themselves being outsmarted, outwitted and in general failing at every step of their mission. The reasons for their failures, their subsequent Plan B (and even Plan C), the frenetic working-behind-the-scenes at the Project HQ back in India and the final confrontation, all of these make up for a true blue page turner, blockbuster of a book.

Given that the setting is so close to home, the protagonist based on a famous gangster that most of us are aware of, and the overarching plot involving global terrorism in our own neighborhood, it was a no-brainer that I would go on to enjoy the book. And the fact that the author has managed to weave a thoroughly researched, well-paced, and wonderfully written book using all of the above elements meant that this is one book that was a breezy read. Here’s hoping that the author manages to pull out some time from his Vikramaditya trilogy of books and churns out a few more in this genre, as this book clearly proves that he truly has the flair to write some really good books in this genre as well.

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

Patang – Bhaskar Chattopadhyay – Book Review


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Goodreads blurb: ‘I hate the rain…I hate it, hate it, hate it. But the rain can’t stop me. No one can…I’ll go out and play tonight. I will kill only four. No more, no less. Just four.’

In the midst of one of the worst monsoons in Mumbai, a man is found brutally murdered, his body posed like a kite on the tallest cell tower in the city. As one corpse after another turns up in the unlikeliest of places, each gruesomely killed and carefully arranged in a grotesque manner, the Mumbai Police realize they have more on their hands than they can deal with.

Enter Chandrakant Rathod, a maverick investigator the police turn to in times of need, who plays by his own rules and lives for the thrill of the chase. Pitting his sharp instincts against the machinations of the sadistic, ruthless killer, the detective succeeds in nabbing the psychopath and putting him behind bars. Then, three months later, the killings begin again. A deadly game is afoot – a game that will challenge Rathod to the utmost, for it is a game that he cannot hope to win…

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Very few books have the ability to hook you right from page one, line one, word one and keep you hooked till that last page, last line and last word. And believe me when I say this Patang by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is one surprising candidate for such a book. Given that I was sent a review copy of this book by the publishers without even asking for it, the only reason I picked it up and read it almost immediately was the cover design, the back blurb and the relatively smallish size of the book. And man, did it turn out to be quite an enjoyable experience or what!

While most well written crime thrillers and more so murder mysteries are always a joy to read, the happiness is doubled when the setting is local and the characters Indian as the ability to relate to the narrative is that much more when compared to books by Western authors. And when the book is as well thought out, scripted and narrated in a crisp, cut-throat, and breathless manner like the author has with this one, then the joy is more than quadrupled.

Trying to write murder mysteries involving serial killers is always tricky as the author has to walk a thin rope balancing the development of the character of the antagonist with relatively credible motives while making the narrative interesting enough for readers to thoroughly enjoy the book. And to his credit the author has balanced both these disparate ends very well coming up with a crackerjack of a first half. And as if the first half was not good enough, the second half takes us readers on a dizzying roller-coaster of a ride with the lovely cat and mouse chase between the protagonist and the antagonist.

And the ending, well, that portion, to me, took the cake and the entire pastry shop with it. I didn’t see it coming the way it did at all. Full credit to the author for having made it so shocking while being entirely believable and credible as well. For sure any homicide thriller lover worth his name should surely read and enjoy this book.

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

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

The Emperor’s Riddles – Satyarth Nayak – Book Review


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Goodreads blurb: More terrifying than the savage murder of historian Ram Mathur on the ghats of Ganga, are the questions that follow. Desperate for answers, Sia turns to esoteric writer & friend Om Patnaik. But what begins as a hunt for the killer, becomes an extraordinary trail of riddles strewn across the country that must end at the gates of an enigma.

An ancient enigma so powerful that even gods would kill for it!!!

In another time and space, rules an Emperor who plays with phenomenal forces that make him supreme…who faces these very forces when they threaten the survival of the human race. An Emperor who must ultimately pay homage to the enigma…

As Patnaik and Sia race from one riddle to another, towards a royal secret that has remained alive for centuries….will the final truth, save them or destroy them forever?

The path beckons. Can you solve The Emperor’s Riddles?

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While the blurb of the book piqued my interest in reading it quite a bit I must confess that I wasn’t quite prepared for how interesting the book actually is and how obsessed I would get in finishing it. Travails of being a book lover, I guess. That being said, I have to admit this has to be among the better books I have read in recent times in terms of how the plot is constructed, the pace at which it unfolds and ultimately how it all ends up.

As the blurb states what starts off as a murder mystery soon metamorphoses into a treasure hunt (which seems like a ‘wild goose hunt’ at times to both the principal characters Om and Sia). As they keep solving riddles one after the other and move across the length and breadth of the country, the author segues into the Emperor’s life (yes, the eponymous Emperor whose riddles they are solving) and gives readers an insight into why he designed the riddles in the first place. Do Om and Sia succeed in their quest, what they gain at the end of it, what they lose at the end of their journey, these questions form the crux of the climax.

The one grouse, if I can call it that, would be the somewhat dragged out ending, especially the last five odd pages or so. While the ending is perfectly logical and all loose ends are tied up, somehow it seemed a little contrived to me, especially given the clarity with which the rest of the plot unraveled itself. However, it is not so bad that I would dissuade you from reading the book, in fact, I would strongly recommend the same, especially for any fans of Dan Brown and similar authors.

To me, this book would remain in my memory as one of the best books in which the plot manages to seamlessly combine fact, fiction, history, mythology and good old fashioned thrills into a coherent enjoyable story.

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

Surpanakha – Hariharan Iyer – Book Review


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Goodreads blurb: Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administrator-these are the equalities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved at the 11th hour.

Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time around, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him ‘vile’ and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activities-undertaken with the help of a retired cop-is cause of concern for Sesha.

Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and anti-minorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?

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What piqued my interest in this book was the fact that the storyline was based on contemporary politics in South Indian states and Tamil Nadu in particular. The protagonist being the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the overarching story being political was something that interested me quite a bit. And believe me when I say this, the author has a firm hold on the subject matter of this book and does more than a fair amount of justice to the same.

One extremely strong point about the book itself is the character development. In his own unhurried, yet crisp manner, the author fleshes out each of the principal characters, their back stories, their motivations and their current state of mind. While this could have potentially reduced the book to a slow, drab affair, surprisingly these character sketches move the plot forward in this book.

One small dampener about this book is its predictability. I don’t know if it was just me or whether other readers also kind of saw the connection between the first and second halves of the book, and somehow predicted how the book would progress from its touch point at the middle.

A relatively larger dampener for me was the sheer abruptness and suddenness with which the book ended. Given all that was happening at that point in time, the proceedings come to a sudden end. And the choice of the main antagonist’s motivations also didn’t quite work for me at all. It was a little too unbelievable and fantastic for me to digest, more so given that the rest of the book is fairly grounded in reality throughout the proceedings.

All of the above being said, this book is a sure shot read for anybody who is interested in contemporary politics and are fans of well thought out and well executed books.

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This review has been written for the b00kr3vi3w tours Book Tour for this book. However, the views expressed above are completely honest and unbiased.

SurpanakhaTourBanner

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Links for downloading e-books – Amazon India | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Links for ordering paperbacks – Amazon India | Flipkart

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Giveaway link – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDkxZDFkOGJiZDFlZWY2OGFjYzNkODJiMGM3Y2NlOjE3NQ==/?

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Linky – http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=620449

Donoor’s Curse – Sharath Komarraju – Book Review


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Goodreads blurb: Devdutt Pathak likes to be left alone. Alone with his whiskey. Alone with his memories. Memories of a pregnant woman and her child dying on his operating table. Memories of his practicing license being revoked. Memories of being suspended. Ostracized.

Until the death of his godfather, Jahangir Khan, shakes him out of his stupor.

The world says that it’s an accident, but something deep within calls out to Dev. Aided by the clues Jahangir leaves him, he sets out to unravel the truth. What was Baba after? What did he want? How did he live? And how did he die? Most of all, what did he have to do with this tiny mist-covered village called Donoor, where dark shapes lurk behind every shadow?

Donoor. The village of twins. The village of mysterious deaths. The village of curses. The village which, like Dev, wants to be left alone.

In his quest for answers, Dev must face faceless demons. Some of them leap at him from within the thickening fog. Some reside in the recesses of his mind. Some whisper to him frailly, in forgotten voices, from the long dead past. But they all watch him. He must look them in the eye. And not flinch.

A thriller that will surprise and delight you at every turn.

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Very few books have the ability to capture your attention right from the first page, the first paragraph and ensure that you don’t put the book down until you have completed it. For sure, Donoor’s Curse by Sharath Komarraju is one of them. And this from somebody who doesn’t even particularly like the genre it belongs to – paranormal mysteries.

Dev Pathak, as the blurb states, is a broken man. Carrying too much baggage from his past professional life, he is trying to put back his life together again when the death of his godfather jolts him into reality (or something like that). One thing leads to another and pretty soon Dev finds himself in the mysterious village of Donoor. And does the village ‘welcome’ him in style or what.

What happens to Dev in  Donoor, whether the questions regarding his godfather’s accident are answered or not, and whether Dev manages to put his life back on track or not are some of the conundrums the rest of the plot resolves. Suffice to say that the plot itself, the setting Donoor, the characters and their back stories, all of these manage to pull readers into the mysterious mist that always seems to cover the village.

More than anything else, this book is about whether the protagonist manages to fight the demons of his past, how he goes about it while suspending his disbelief of what is happening around him, whether he manages to navigate the mine-field of difficulties and opportunities in his path ahead, and whether things manage to reach a logical conclusion at all. In a nutshell, this book is a lovely read to an already wonderful portfolio of books authored by Sharath Komarraju.

Click here to purchase the book from Amazon (e-book only) [Amazon link].

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