Thursday, 25 September 2014

Book Review: Seduced by Murder by Saurbh Katyal

Book Name:Seduced by Murder
Author: Saurbh Katyal
Publisher: Bluejay Books Pvt. Ltd.
Pages: 268
Price: Rs. 195/-

(Image Courtesy:Google)

Saurbh Katyal’s Seduced by Murder felt like an amateur’s attempt at writing a thriller that is both disappointing and lackluster Never judge a book by its cover? Well this definitely doesn't hold true in this case. With a poor plot (and an even poorer book cover), trust me when I say I would never have bought this book had I gone to the store. The characters are clich├ęd and Inspector Babu is downright silly. Vishal Bajaj is a private detective, who definitely isn't your average pot-bellied, bald investigator but doesn't deviate much from the hard drinking, troubled pollster with a murky past. With nothing remarkable about the protagonist to keep you hooked to his exploits, you look atleast for a story-line that might keep you riveted to the tediously boring two hundred and sixty eight pages. But the book disappoints on both fronts and you look for reasons to not finish the book midway.

The story begins at the Hunt Detective Agency when Vishal Bajaj receives a call from his old flame Aditi. Her husband’s elder brother Anil is found murdered in his hammock at the farmhouse and Vishal Bajaj is called in to investigate the case. Therein begins a mystery that is both dull and uninteresting. As Vishal delves deep into family secrets, deceit and lies he discovers truths that threaten to rip apart the family and scandals, that when exposed, could take the media by storm. To top it all, Vishal desperately fights his desire for Aditi, a selfish, promiscuous character who finds it difficult to make up her mind and thrives beneath limelight and attention. 

However, Paras Kapoor and his sons up the expectation-quotient by a considerable notch and make for interesting characters to read. The Kapoors are twisted, exciting characters who guard family secrets viciously and keep you questioning their motives at every turn. The complications and turmoil within the brothers, mysterious dealings and shady secrets are only revealed towards the end of the book and a certain build up of the character of the murderer would have made for an exciting read.

Katyal succeeds in keeping the readers guessing as to the identity of the killer but disappoints throughout the story. Better plot with a better build up and yet better suspense to thrill could have made the book work. As it is, there are way too many buts and the book as a thriller falls flat on its face. I would definitely recommend no reader to waste their time reading such a book and even if you do so, do not read the book with hopes that the story might get better with the turn of the pages. 

Verdict: If you are willing to risk it!
Rating: 2/5

(I received a copy of the book from the author for reviewing. All views are my own.)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Book Review: 60 Minutes by Upendra Namburi

Book: 60 minutes
Author: Upendra Namburi
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Pages: 361
Price: Rs.350/-

The very first thing that struck my mind on having 60 minutes delivered to my place was ’Will I really enjoy a corporate drama?’ The bold yellow cover screaming 60 minutes in your face against a backdrop of racy city lights and streets does capture your attention and if you thought that corporate dramas are not your thing, you might be in for a surprise! For Upendra Namburi leaves you in no doubt of his narration skills and keeps you hooked with the promise of 60 racy, intense minutes!

  The story begins with Maithili- a beautiful, strong headed woman- immensely successful in the ruthless, cutting-edge corporate planet, lacking the emotional security of a relationship. Suffering from immense depression Maithili dangles amidst the fine lines of life and death. Suddenly we find ourselves in the presence of the enigmatic, brash and fiercely ambitious Agastya, CMO of BCL, planning the biggest product launch of his career. In the blink of an eye, the corporation is plunged into a nightmare with its arch rival Stark out to destroy BCL's major campaign as corporate rivals Agastya and Sailesh gamble against the odds and fuel the fire for a drama that threatens to bring both corporate giants to their knees. And therein begins an extremely exhilarating exhibition of vengeance, addiction and rivalry that thrills you and keeps you guessing at every stage. Caught in this web are characters who are deceitful, ruthless and power-hungry, seeking security in the highs and lows of corporate uncertainties and politics. Maithili’s need for vengeance, Agastya’s need for rush and Sailesh’s need for retribution combine to make 60 minutes a highly fascinating read.

The plot, of course, could have been crisper and sharp and few unnecessary details could have been ignored to cut the book short by a few pages. Yet the characters operate so much along blurred, undefined lines of grey that the thrills they provide override the flaws of the book. With high profile jobs, reputations, careers and relationships at stake the reader might just sit up and get vividly engrossed, forgetting to pin-point and criticize Namburi’s writing imperfections in the process. Or the reader may tire of the immense complicacy packed within the pages and despair trying to understand the high profile policies and negotiations that make up a major portion of the plot. 60 minutes is either a winner or a loser and unlike its characters, does not operate amidst shades of grey.

So is 60 minutes worth your time? I would say you should definitely take the plunge and try your hand at something different for once. For 60 minutes might just end up surprising you. Raw, brilliant and intense, 60 minutes is a product of passion that is clearly reflected in the writing. And beyond the veil of a corporate drama lies the conflicts of characters whom you cannot help but love and despise with equal intensity. As the book claims-‘The battle for supremacy continues, who will falter, who will persist and who will come out on top?’ Who indeed...

Verdict: Definitely worth a shot!
Rating- 3/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

After a lot of excited anticipation and checking my phone regularly for the delivery of The Fault in Our Stars, my enthusiasm knew no bounds when the book actually got delivered to my place. To be honest, I was really looking forward to reading the book for I had read raging reviews and my expectation quotient had peaked considerably. The bright blue cover felt smooth beneath my fingers and there was something almost ethereal about the clouds enclosing the famous words of Brutus ’The Fault in Our stars’.

As I turned the pages, I was almost rendered speechless by the epigraph. Stunning and haunting in its simplicity, the epigraph dazzled my senses almost at once. And then began the story of 16 year old Hazel Grace. Afflicted with cancer at the young age of 13, Hazel Grace was a fighter battling both cancer and teenage. Increasingly annoyed at her mother’s continuous insistence that she attend Support Group meetings (and make new friends and meet new people and live her life as teenagers are supposed to), Hazel Grace gives in to her mother’s demands only after negotiating a deal that includes recording episodes of America’s Next Top Model! And we end up meeting Augustus Waters at the fated Support Group. Therein begins a romance that is refreshing and young and sweeps you away with its innocence.

What however stays with you after reading the book is not the love of the young teenagers but the thoughts that the author so brilliantly brings to life. And you almost grow to love An Imperial Affliction as much as Hazel and Augustus do (An Imperial Affliction and Peter Van Houten are figments of Greene’s imagination that are crucial to the plot of the star-crossed lovers). This is my first John Greene novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of his books. Tinged with humour, joy, innocence and philosophy, the book delivers on its promise. The book is honest and devastating, boldly bringing to light the stories of two people fated to die, clinging to strands of hope and tragically in love. The part where Hazel finds Augustus in his car, covered in his own vomit and pleading to do one little thing himself is shattering. And after putting down the book, you cannot help but wonder about life and how often we take it for granted.

John Greene's The Fault in Our Stars is beautiful, stunning and tragic. And most importantly it’s alive and breathing in your heart even after you have finished the book. Brilliant is all I can say...

Verdict: A must read!!
Rating: 4.3/5
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