The Karachi Deception – Shatrujeet Nath – Book Review


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.


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].

Chilli, Chicks & Heart Attacks – Sanjaya Senanayake – Book Review


Book blurb: Dr Manju Mendis, a Sri Lankan living in Australia, comes through medical school with first class honors and is chosen to intern in the much vaunted St Ivanhoe Hospital. But right from the word go, the author leaves the reader in no doubt that this is no mere diary of hospital life.

Even as Manju deals with the rigors of an exacting job, he finds himself in the midst of a series of misadventures – from a prolonged case of priapism, to the ‘murder’ of a well-heeled ‘sugardaddiphile’, to a sudden encounter with a foul-mouthed braggart. Worse, his personal life is on the verge of being wrecked, what with an overbearing mother determined to set him up with a prosperous Sri Lankan girl, a father who fails to understand his disconnect from his homeland’s culture, and a sister inclined to saddle him with her young son.

In the span of a year, Manju must learn to confront fraudulent specialists, self-important clients, and an imperious set of immigrant relatives. Equally, he must find time to sustain his friends and relationships – with patients, colleagues, celebrities and most importantly with a troubled past.


At the outset let me be honest and state that I picked up the book primarily based on its catchy title – Chilli, Chicks & Heart Attacks. I mean, how many of us can resist reading a book with a name like that. And true to its cheeky name, the book itself is a tongue-in-cheek look at one year in the life of a medical intern at St Ivanhoe’s Hospital in Australia.

Written in the style of a diary, the author Sanjaya Senanayake narrates the events that transpire in the life of Dr Manju Mendis, the protagonist in the one year that he serves as a medical intern in the prestigious St Ivanhoe’s Hospital. As if being a Sri Lankan in Australia was not funny enough, Manju has all the trappings of a classic molly-coddled mama’s (and papa’s) boy as most Sri Lankan immigrants in Australia do. Couple this with the fact that his year as intern throws more than quite a few daunting medical and non-medical challenges his way, and lo and behold, you have a true-blue coming of age story. Does Manju emerge out his troubles the way a beautiful butterfly emerges from its ugly cocoon or does he succumb to the pressures and wilt away into nothingness is what the overarching story arc of the book is about.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book due to many reasons, primary among them being the fact that Manju, as the protagonist and the situations he faces are so completely relatable. Despite the fact that I am not Sri Lankan nor am I an immigrant in another country, the fact that the author manages to bring out so many everyday situations which I am sure all readers can relate to, speaks volumes for how well the author has managed to translate all our everyday lives into the protagonist’s life in the book. And what’s better Manju’s reactions, the way he tackles these situations, his approach to life in general, all of these resonated so well with me.

Another reason why I thoroughly enjoyed this book was the tongue-in-cheek humorous way in which the author takes a look at the medical profession in general. Not once in the book does he deride or poke fun at the profession or at doctors, but using only the ‘bad apples’ ie, the bad doctors and their malpractices, the author clearly brings down the façade that most of these ‘big famous’ doctors and hospital hide behind. Using patients and their ailments and conditions as the backdrop, the author brings to fore some of the rot that ails the hospital system in general without being too overbearing and preachy about it. After all, this is a coming of age story and not a book which looks to highlight these ills in particular.

End of day, this is one book which is a quick breezy weekend read which shouldn’t trouble readers too much while ensuring that they have more than a few laughs when reading it.

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

The Bestseller She Wrote – Ravi Subramanian – Book Review

TheBestsellerSheWroteGoodreads blurb: He was a bestseller… She wanted him to make her one.

Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor’s life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful, and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé.

The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.


Despite the fact that I am a fan of Ravi Subramanian’s work I did not pick up a copy of his latest book, The Bestseller she wrote primarily because of the genre that it was slotted into, the romantic novel genre. But then some reviews and then a gentle nudge from meant that a review copy of this book landed on my desk and I had no option but to read and review it. And to belie all my expectations from it, this book is the author at his best, albeit in a genre that is completely new to him, the romantic thriller genre.

As the blurb states, Aditya Kapoor is a bestselling author who has everything going well for him. His books are bestsellers, he has an enviable career in banking, he is happily married and he has the proverbial Midas touch. However, all of this changes when he comes in contact with outspoken, ambitious Shreya Kaushik whose primary ambition in life is to become a bestselling author herself.

Shreya’s entry into Aditya’s life opens up a Medusa’s Box full of surprises and unanticipated twists and turns. What begins as an attempt at harmless flirting on both their parts soon leads down a path of no return for both of them. Pretty soon Aditya finds himself in quite a soup, both professionally and personally. His protégé Shreya soon ends up becoming more than just that and at the same time he has more than a little love left for his wife of fifteen years Maya as well. Where this path leads Aditya, Shreya and Maya down is what forms the crux of this novel.

As is the norm with all his books the author paces this narrative as well wonderfully well and it is quite unputdownable. Anything less from Ravi Subramanian would have been unacceptable. And true to his form, the pages of this book also pretty much turn themselves.

One part of the book that I found particularly interesting though is the attention that the author has paid to the one friend who has always had to live in his illustrious friend’s shadows. Like the moon which has always had to rely on the sun’s brilliance and luster for its own light and beauty, this book too has a similar character. I have always been somewhat interested in these personalities, the Robin to the Batman, the Kato to the Green Hornet, the Alfred to the Bruce Wayne, the Hanuman to the Rama, the Balarama to the Krishna, and so on. Without giving away any spoilers here, I would encourage prospective readers of this book to pay attention to a similar character in this book as well.

The ending itself is quite a cracker, and it is here that Ravi Subramanian truly outshines himself in this book. How he manages to bring proceedings to a logical closure without giving away any slack speaks volumes for how well he has mastered the craft of penning a thriller novel.

In a nutshell, do read this book if you are already a fan of Ravi Subramanian or of the romantic thriller genre.

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


I am reviewing The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian as part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

R.I.P – Book Review


Now with a name like R.I.P and the cover of the book having the silhouette of a soldier with a gun, there was absolutely no doubt as to what the subject of the book would be. Having said that Mukul Deva [Link to his website] surprised me with what he had to offer in terms of the subject material.

The book starts off with Col. Krishna Athawale (Retd.), an ex Special Ops officer from the Indian Army and his “K-Team” simultaneously assassinating three relative big shots from the political and business fields. The only common thread binding the three victims aside from the assassins themselves was the fact that they were recently in the news for being involved with some form of corruption. We then go on to understand the Colonel’s and his team’s motivations for these assassinations and also realize that these three killings are just the first in a planned list.

What their plans are, what their motivations are, what their final objective is, these are plot points which I obviously am not going to reveal here simply because I don’t want to spoil the fun for all prospective readers out there. Suffice to say that K-Team’s efforts, the subsequent investigation by the CBI, a surprise package in the form of another team similar to K-Team, and a host of other assorted characters make this book a medley of well researched, and well thought out ‘encounters’ for lack of a better word.

Another interesting albeit funny aspect of this book is the fact that the author chose to make his victims’ characters very close to real life characters that you and me are aware of. Given the entire brouhaha over ‘character assassinations’ and ‘defamation suits’ that we live in today, Mukul Deva, the author has been a little bold with his character descriptions. Although I am sure that the standard disclaimer of “All characters and events described in this novel are fictional and any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental” applies to this book as well, I am willing to bet my last dollar that the author purposely and specifically made these characters so close to real life that readers can actually visualize the real people we know when we read this book. But then, that is the author’s genius that while he makes them so close to the real people, he just stops short of making them ‘real enough’.

The pace of the book is just right, not too fast and not too slow. The author has added an interesting romance angle to the plot, albeit the fact remains that it helped the plot in a very minor way, that’s all. While his hero remains a believable one, the villain (or at least one of them) is relatively ‘over the top’ so to say and struck me as just a tad unbelievable, at least given the entire background story provided for him. In any case, in my opinion, this was not so bad that it prevented me from enjoying the book as a whole.

In a nutshell, this is one book which is good enough to buy, complete it in its entirety over the course of a 30 min wait at the airport and a 2 hr flight to your destination. Would I read it again, maybe not, given the entire ‘current affairs’ color that the plot has been tinged with. In any case, if I needed one novel to let my daughter know about how India was in terms of corruption, scams, political situation, etc, in 2012 this could very well be one book I might ask her to read.


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ripamazonRelated information

Name R.I.P
Author/s Mukul Deva
Publisher Westland India
Year published 2012
ISBN 13 9789382618195
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Link
Amazon link Link


The Krishna Key – Book Review

Conspiracy Fiction, as a genre of books were always popular with voracious readers of books and Dan Brown with his (in)famous Da Vinci Code ensured that this genre received a crazy boost in terms of the interest generated and readership volumes. In recent times, some good books in this genre set in an Indian context have made their way to bookstores and “The Krishna Key” by Ashwin Sanghi is one of them. Regular readers of this blog would have surely read my review of “Chanakya’s Chant” and would have realized that I have somewhat become a fan of this particular author and his style of story-telling. To put it mildly, Ashwin Sanghi reminds me a lot of Michael Crichton where solid research backed by a wonderful reimagining of known facts and theories ensured awesome books. And The Krishna Key does not disappoint readers, at least for most part…

The book deals with how Prof. Ravi Mohan Saini, an avid historian gets embroiled in a series of murders and in the process of uncovering the truth ends up in digging more than just the truth about the murders. His travels take him in search of the legendary buried city of Dwaraka, to the demolished temples of Somnathpur, to the archaeological digs of Kalibangan, to the historic site of the Mahabharatha war at Kurukshetra, to Mount Kailas and also to the Taj Mahal. And if just the mention of these places doesn’t make you want to read the book, the author goes on to describe the history of all of these places and associated characters in history in such great detail that anybody who is interested in the history of India, the Mahabharatha, and various other associated people and events simply have no choice but to pick up this book and read it as soon as they possibly can.

Coupled with the Professor’s obsession with Krishna’s history and his genuine belief that there was more to this particular mythological god than we already know, ensure that almost the entire Mahabharatha is retold as part of this book. The author cleverly inserts his own abridged version of the Mahabharatha as a couple of paragraphs at the beginning of every new chapter in the contemporary tale of how Prof. Saini is on the run from the police.

A very quick paced book, this is just like Ashwin Sanghi’s other books, an unputdownable one which all regular readers will strive and complete in one sitting itself, if possible 🙂

A good read, and I won’t be too surprised if it is made into a movie or a TV series sometime in my lifetime.

One small disclaimer though, the author does take quite a few liberties with historical facts and personalities. Readers are advised not take the book too seriously and start questioning their basic beliefs and things like that as that might just lead to too much of anxiety about all the knowledge that we have of these topics. This book is from the conspiracy fiction genre and should be treated as such.


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Name The Krishna Key
Author/s Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher Westland India
Year published 2012
ISBN 13 9789381626689
Goodreads link Link
Flipkart link Link
Amazon link Link