Thursday 23 August 2012

Killing Floor
Lee Child
16.8.2012 to 21.8.2012
5 stars

KILLING FLOOR was Lee Child’s debut novel, featuring Jack Reacher, the ex-military police protagonist created by him. I had read Child’s THE ENEMY earlier, and had liked what I had read. Although there was nothing out of ordinary in the book, but it had pace, and was filled with thrill, suspense and action packed sequences.
So, when I finished reading KILLING FLOOR, I had a feeling that this author was destined to be counted among the best of thriller fiction authors of our generation. Never once, while reading the book I had the feeling that I was reading a debut novel.
The book had a vice like grip on me, the plot though common, was filled with suspense, and action. The hero Jack Reacher, the best among the current crop of fictional protagonists, was gritty and funny with a tinge of menacing.
And, lastly the dialogues, what attitude. The book could have survived alone on the dialogues. They were quirky, emotional, robust and intimidating.
One special mention would be for the fight scenes. Normally, I don’t pay much attention to them, but the scenes in this book were so nicely done, that they became an integral part of the plot. Which could not be skipped. Same goes for the torture scenes, they were short and gory, but were potent enough to send a chill down the reader’s spine.
P.S. Tom Cruise playing the role of Jack Reacher, is the upcoming movie, is such a let down.

Thursday 16 August 2012

F is for Fugitive
Sue Grafton
13.8.2012 to 15.8.2012
4/5 stars.

The sixth installment of the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton. I would start by saying that this is one of the best books in the series. The book is a whodunit, with the murder being something which happened 17 years ago. Jean Timberlake was strangled, her then boyfriend Bailey Fowler was convicted, but he escaped. Now 17 years later he has been captured again. Royce, Bailey’s dad, hires Kinsey to find out who is the real killer as he is convinced that it is not Bailey. Kinsey starts her work, and eventually starts finding dead bodies turning up everywhere.
This book was packed with all the essential Grafton straits, but the mood was much more sombre. The dialogues weren't as quirky as the other books. But what really stood out in this book was the characters and the plot. The characters, according to me couldn't have been more nicely drawn. The town which was ready to portray Bailey as the scapegoat was shown effectively, with almost everyone with a secret to hide.
The plot was the crowning glory. Like a mountain pass, full of twists, turns and thrills, it makes the book an unputdownable read. The famous legwork of Kinsey was present, with that her deduction powers were in full force. And, the ending. The icing on the cake. I could never guess the culprit, nor could guess the motive.
Recommended to every whodunit fan, this book is a sure joy read for anyone who cares to read it.

Monday 13 August 2012

James Patterson, Howard Roughan
4/5 stars
11.8.2012 to 12.8.2012

Sail by James Patterson co-authored by Howard Roughan tells the story about the dysfunctional family of Dr. Katherine Dunne, a heart surgeon who had lost her husband, Stuart, in a scuba diving accident off their boat, The Family Dunne. Now she has re-married Peter Carlyle a hotshot defense attorney. She and her three kids Carrie, Mark and Ernie, along with her former brother-in-law Jake, takes a summer sailing trip in their boat THE FAMILY DUNNE. Hours into the trip they start facing problems starting with Carrie trying to commit suicide to someone sabotaging the boat.
Whenever I have read a James Patterson book I have had the feeling that the book is somehow incomplete, the plot is incomplete, the characters are incomplete, this happens mostly with the books which he have co-authored instead of the ones written by him ,alone, but come what may, the thought of putting the book down hardly crosses my mind. And, this is where I think Patterson surpasses many of his contemporary thriller novelists. He manages to hold on to the readers interest with short chapters, short paragraphs, and makes the book reading exciting, with very few dull moments. It's almost like a roller coaster ride, it’s the same thing, but still the excitement seeps through the spine every time I stand in the queue for taking a ride. 
In this book for instance, all the typical Patterson points were present. Minimum character development, plot filled with coincidences and WHAT-IF-THIS-DID-NOT-HAPPEN moments. The identity of the culprit revealed halfway down the book. For the last half of the book there was hardly any suspense except, how the good guy will catch the bad guy aspect.
But, still I finished the book in 1 day flat, and that is the reason why gave it 4 stars. For me a thriller should be just something as the name suggests, SOMETHING WHICH WOULD THRILL ME, and Patterson manages to do that in every book of his. There are books out there in the market with better plot, characterisation, but also with an advanced level of BOREDOM attached to it. So, as long as Mr. Patterson continues to deliver edge of the seat thrillers, he will continue to be one of my favorite authors, for he does just the thing which every thriller novelist should try to do, HE ENTERTAINS!!!

Friday 10 August 2012

Yesterday’s Spy
Len Deighton
9.8.2012 to 10.8.2012
3/5 stars

Kinsey Millhone, the P.I. created by Sue Grafton, is seen reading Len Deighton novels in many of her books. I had heard about Deighton, the movie Ipcress File was based on his novel of the same name. So, when I saw this book in a second hand book stall I bought it promptly. But, sadly, what followed was a mediocre read.
The major problem, I had with this book, was that it had no suspense. From the very beginning, the reader knew who was good and who happened to be the bad guy. So, the only portion not known was how the good guy is going to catch the bad guy. So, basically this turned out to be a spy adventure novel. But, saying that the book had a speed of its own. Once I started reading I never felt out of pace. The events described were short and strong, the dialogues were short too, though at times clichéd.
The characterisations were adequate for a spy novel. Since the main feature of the book is based on catching and stopping the villain from carrying out his villainy, detailed characterisation was unnecessary and mercifully not provided.
I guess this was a wrong choice to begin my tryst with Len Deighton. Well, I will lok out for another of his novels, and try it out, before giving up on him.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.
P.D. James
6.8.2012 to 8.8.2012
3.5/5 stars.

This was my 4th PD James novel. The protagonist of this book happened to be Miss Cordelia Gray, unlike the other three, where the protagonist was Adam Dalgleish, James’s much celebrated policeman.
I am not a big fan of P.D.James as I find her book too literary for my taste. I hate when the author of a crime fiction uses up half a page to describe the weather or the birds on the trees. And, I had the same problem with her other novels. However, in this book, although the same descriptions were present, but were mercifully shorter (I guess this book is the one of the shortest of all her novels).
In the novel, Miss Gray, inherits a Detective Agency after her partner had committed suicide. Later she is hired by Sir Ronald Callender, to find out the reason why his son, Mark, committed suicide. As it happens the suicide turns out to be murder, and Miss Gray solves the crime with almost 40 odd pages left in the book. The plot was nothing out of the ordinary, standard modus operandi and motive, for the killer to commit his crime.
Now, for the characters. Dame James lets her talent lose on this front. The characters are very well drawn up. While reading, the reader can almost visualise the person he is reading about. The dialogues are excellent, especially the speech by the culprit, justifies his stature as an evil person.

Sunday 5 August 2012

E is for Evidence
Sue Grafton
2.8.2012 to 5.8.2012
4.5/5 stars.

The fifth installment of the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton. In this one, unlike the other books, Kinsey was working on her own to defend herself from being framed in a insurance fraud. The book had all the qualities to be marked as an UNPUTDOWNABLE. All the trade mark qualities of a Sue Grafton was present, funny dialogues, abundance of characters, a lot of leg work and fact finding by Kinsey, and a blistering pace.
But, saying all this, I would still label this book as an adventure. The mystery element was very much present, but the truth came out, not because of some fascinating deduction by Kinsey, but through a sort of confession by a character.
The plot of this novel was really twisted and fast. This book would be right up there with the gory and twisted Scandinavian thrillers of today, in respect of the plot. It had almost everything in it, financial fraud, murder, bombs, treachery and even Incest.
A hugely recommended book for any mystery addict. Certainly one of the best books to come out of Ms.Grafton's stable.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
John le Carré
28.7.2012 to 1.8.2012
3.75/5 stars.

This was my first Le Carre novel, and frankly speaking I am a bit confused. I cant say that I hated it or I liked it very much. All I can say is that IT WAS DIFFERENT.
I have grown up on spy thrillers by Fredrick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum and others, and always, in their books, there is a lot of movement, a lot of action, which was missing in this book. While reading it, more than once, I had the feeling of reading a drama instead of a thriller.
Now, why I had that feeling? Normally, a thriller needs a plot build up, chapters dedicated to happening of events which led to the happening of the main event. But, in this book, I thought that, the build up was very short, in fact I found it hard to really understand what was happening. Especially, during the chapter “DECLINE “I had problems understanding the sequence of the events and the time frame.
No complaints however regarding the protagonist Alec Leamas. I had read somewhere that Le Carre was known for his HUMAN protagonist, someone who is unlike Mr. Bond. Reading this book made me realise what was meant by that article. Maybe, the lack of action, is due to the fact that HUMAN spies are humans, and not capable of over the top action.
The best thing, and the most UNIQUE point, for this book, according to me, was the smearing of the line between the black and white. Le Carre in this novel showed, that when it comes to winning, the only colour present is GREY, where the good doesn't hesitates to use and sacrifice pawns and innocents to be on the top and win.