Save us Oh Coinman!

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Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy – 4 stars

Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy is the story of a usual normal boring ‘mad’ man who is trapped in webs of boring petty normal life. Wait a minute, did I say normal? I meant the mad mad world where insanity might be the only option for sanity!
Our oh so mighty hero is a low level employee in a office where he is the joker for all. With a wife obsessed with acting at home and the whole paranoid world throwing one after anohter oddballs on his way, jingling coins in pocket seems to be the only possible way to remain ‘normal’.
This is an odd book. Odd like I’ve never felt before. The book started as if it was missing a few first chapters but slowly it started gaining upon me. The mad cap paranoia, the unusual yet familiar situations became too luscious for me to stop. I should mention here that I’ve never read sarcasm like this before from such a young author. For me, sarcasm is the best thing served on plates by this book. I just loved that.
It is a sad dark time for Indian novels where reading a third book feels like a repeat full of same old funny/romance cliche with sex thrown in to make it crispy. Thankfully we have authors like Pawan Mishra and a few others who are not afraid to dive into unconventional grounds to make a difference.
I got this book from Pawan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
I invite all the readers to this mad house where all you got to do is jingle some coins!

Oh yeah I will Jingle it baby!

Our Friendly Neighborhood Serial Killer!

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter – 5 very bloody stars

Dexter the oddball. Forensic Analyst by day and Killer of Killers by night. Our lovable friendly neighborhood serial killer! No one knows the secret that he vanishes the murders slipped through fingers of law. But what if some one knows who he is or who he was? Will Dexter discover himself or destroy?
Jeff Lindsay is an incredible writer. Using simple words and exceptionally calm wordings, he can create suffocating suspense. Dexter, Debra, Harry – all are products of mesmerizing characterization. I can never stop reading this book over and over. Dexter is one of my top most favorite fictional serial killers (I know, I know. That is a very very odd thing to say). Never ever have I have rooted for a murderer this much. In my opinion never has the POV of a serial killer been explored like this before. But I am afraid that saying anything much about the book might be revealing.

So it is a humble request of mine that any thriller, suspense lover should read(taste) this.

PS. Separate your mind from the TV series to experience the true flavor.

A guidebook of using cliché formats with zero integrity

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2 States – no stars?

From the writer who almost single handedly lowered the standard of Indian writing by setting cliché yet popular young adult format for many other writers and by showing that anyone (literally) can write books (quality doesn’t matter) – comes a new (*sigh*) story of “a boy falling in love with a girl from totally different culture in college and their struggles of winning hearts of the in-laws before their marriage.”

Wow! Talk about ground breaking unique stories! Only the mastermind Chetan Bhagat can produce this. Pour down funny elements ripped of from decades of Indian movies in the most cliché format, mix inter-cultural jokes which might be of our father’s times, slap in some sex scenes to make the story raunchy for young people and give us an ending that we all knew from just looking the cover – yet he produces a best-seller! What a genius!

Live Large or Die Trying

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Romantic Bouncers – 4 stars

Millions of Indian teenagers dream of putting on the jersey of Indian Cricket team but only the brightest of all gets the chance. Rabin is one the dreamers with a shining girlfriend, a few friends of the same feather and a father in Narcotics Control hell bent on him having a traditional and safe ‘naukri-wala’ life. But little do people know when drug and corruption slip in ever-day lives and dig their claws in the flesh of innocence. A story of a ambitious dreamer’s struggle to lurch out of the dark alleys of Kolkata and stepping in the limelight of playing for a cricket crazy nation.

Let me take a moment to talk about current status of Indian novels. A huge portion of Indian writings are now done by bored out IIT/IIM passouts or Bankers whose products can be simply put as “less than 200 hundred pages of funny/romantic things done by young and horny people whose lives suddenly take nice turns within last 30 pages”. It is a sad dark time for Indian novels where reading a third book feels repeat full of same old funny/romance cliche with sex thrown in to make it crispy. And then come authors like Ram Vignesh who not only breaks free of these ‘setups’ but also takes daring risky steps of writing books which digs deeper in to the psychology and dark corners of human mind.

Frankly, I don’t read romantic novels. For me, “Romantic Bouncers” was a cringe-worthy name but somehow the premise at the backcover promising an unique blend of Cricket and Narcotics felt appealing. Although the name sounds like a book of love and even though the book contains the love life of our hero, Romantic Bouncer is not a romantic book at all. It is dark, deep, realistic and sometimes raw. But the strongest is the narration – abrupt, discreet and complex with going back and forth. I am not saying that it’s never seen before but it felt incredible to hear an Indian voice finally taking things up a notch. Our protagonist Rabin feels like the-boy-across-the street from the start and we can all relate easily to his struggles. But even before I knew, I had completed the first half of the book and realized that the book had sunk me like a quicksand. And damn those pages about drug lords and streets of Kolkata! When we watch/read foreign TV shows or crime thrillers we all somehow feel that “those type of things are too much for our alleys”. Ram Vignesh has excelled at that part. His descriptions are neither over the top, nor lousy. And apart from being a little cinematic at some places, they are tight, hard and as real as our knuckles.

I will not get into the story much to avoid the risk of spoiling anything but one thing is for sure that Ram Vignesh is one author to keep an eye out for. I recommend this to any romance, fiction or crime fiction lovers and request to welcome this new wave of Indian writing.
P.S. A warm thanks to Mr Vignesh for providing a copy to review.

Do you remember that thing?

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Who Goes There? (The Thing) – 3.5 stars

Remember that weird bloody gory sci-fi movie that we all have watched once? Yes ‘The Thing’! Curt Russell using firebreather allover! Who Goes There is the book based on which The Thing was made. 

An alien dead-body is found by some research works of a station at Antarctica. But little do they know that it’s not dead. It is a shape-shifter – human or animal doesn’t matter! There begins a bloody gore-some paranoia in the station.

The story is pure hunt or be hunted type with fantastic voids to be filled with readers’ imaginations. Sometimes the amount of blood and gore in a science fiction feels unnecessary but for this it doesn’t. All the killings and violently described situations are very very fitting in the novel. There can be two types of reception of this book depending on whether you have or haven’t seen the movie. If the movie is seen before reading the novel, it does feel a bit bland because the movie actually created much more visually enjoyable paranoia than the book (which is very rare in the history of cinematizations)! But if the book is picked up first then it feels like an immensely enjoyable novel that has stapled horror and science-fiction in spectacular manner. The only thing that stumbles is the narration; feels a little discontinuous or sudden sometimes.

A bloody (pun intended) well written scary sci-fi to be read again from to time!

The Best Variety

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The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2: Second Variety
4 stars

Recently I came up on a fact that many of renowned and beloved movies are actually based on stories/novels by the same person named Philip K Dick. So after visiting some thrift stores I got this wonderful 2nd Vol of Mr Dick’s Collected Short Stories. Needless to say he is as awesome as I had imagined him to be!

The book contains a few fantasy horror stories along with the mouthful of science-fiction. After going through some stories that I will remember for a long time I can clearly state somethings –

~ Mr Dick writes pure pure sci-fi wrapped around fantastic characterizations.
~ He induces bone chilling horror with heart stopping pauses.
~ Sometime there lies more in what he doesn’t say. He just gives such an empty space and let the horror fill the space on its own through realization. (This is my favorite!)
~ Fantasy is not his original element; Sci-fi it is!

The best of this volume for me are Second Variety, The Cosmic Poachers, The Impossible Planet, Breakfast at Twilight!

I am gonna read more Dick’s for sure because it feels like I have just opened a new Pandora’s box!

Who is 67?

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Shutter Island – 5 stars

When a delusional child murderer named Rachel Solando escapes from the home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane placed on Shutter Island, US Marshal Edward (Teddy) Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule are sent to investigate. From a barefoot mentally disturbed woman pulling an impossible escape leaving cryptic codes to the doctors behaving in most nature – Teddy and Chuck become more and more sure about this case being a larger game for something else. With an ulterior motive to find his wife’s insane killer Andrew Laeddis who was transferred here 2 yrs ago, Teddy digs deeper. As a killer hurricane blows down on the island, Teddy begins to see that he may never get to leave Shutter Island because someone or something is trying to drive him insane!

Now that I have sat down to write a review, it feels impossible to do so because I still can’t comprehend that I have finished the book. Words from here, lines from there are still clicking and rattling in my mind. I finished this in 2 days like my life was depending on it! After a long time I felt a rush like this. Dennis Lehane has created a masterpiece to remember.

What drives a mystery novel towards the final pages? Who, why and how – these three questions. Sometimes one of them gets answered before the others. But Shutter Island answers none of these till the finish. Instead it creates such a tight web of more and more and more questions that the reader is driven almost mad with curiosity! Have you ever felt like running faster and faster to find a way out because the walls are closing in from every side? I hadn’t till I read this. The pressure, the delusion, the rush and the confusion – all made me run for last pages and when I reached there, it all blew in my face. I just sat there trying to gather it all in. I couldn’t settle down till I had gone back and forth three times and all the pieces of the puzzle were set into there places firmly and tightly.

A must read for serious mystery lovers. Prepare yourself for one of the most epic twist of all time!