A Nobody falls for a stripper and when she goes missing, he kidnaps the sister of the local mob boss; because what could go wrong?
Our story begins with a stripper- joint named Paradise. And among the slow, poetic display of strippers, I imagined a sad story of some lassie who lost her path. Bust just then the book shaded its skin and turned into a suspense thriller. There was tension, thrill, cons, blackmails, root-able characters and a tight story about the length a Nobody can possible go to for someone dear. Like an onion, the story began to unravel its layers with gorgeous pages. A ticking clock set for the life of the mob boss’s daughter ensured the grip of the book and the chase to find out the missing stripper set the mood. I will not go into further details for the sake of spoilers.
As the review title suggests, this is a masterpiece by all means – character development, suspense, thrill and last but not the least, the artwork.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
James Bond: Kill Chain
Bond traces down a rogue MI6 operative and journeys down a path that reveals someone framing MI6 organisation of such crimes that may reawaken the presumed dead Cold war.
Ian Fleming’s renowned son James Bond has had many faces, stories and personalities. Like many others, I too used to prefer Sean Connery as the definitive Bond. He did action (but never too much), he had class (martini and all those things) and most importantly he had so much sass. It was much much later when I read Bond novels and comics (drawn by legendary John McLusky’s) and realised what Bond truly is like. He is a ruthless agent with a dash of class and minimal sass.
Kill Chain is Andy Diggle’s love letter to Fleming and it shows. Occasionally I smirked at references but at the end I was left in awe of the brutality. James is merciless, bloody and a kill machine when required. The tension was high and the finishing was bombastic. Rarely have I come across graphic novels so good that I feel like re-reading it just after the first read. Only hiccup is that some pages are a bit too filled with dialogues.
But the real star for me is Luca Casalanguida. I was not just reading the comics with my eyes; the action, the mellow, the silence – I was almost experiencing every bit of the artwork. No jump-cuts, no shortcuts; the pages look like actual storyboards of action movie.
A must-read for 007 lovers and action junkies.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel
James Brimstone is Jack of many trades: former child magician in circus, Korean veteran and now a licensed private investigator. His new life starts with his mentor’s funeral and his first client Nico, the scarred beautiful actress with a tale of black magic, demons and revenge on the set of a pornographic film. With knowledge of the hidden dark magics and no money in pocket, Brimstone takes the case that takes him to places which he vowed never to visit again.
When I started reading Brimstone felt like bombastic combo of Dan Turner (Hollywood Detective), Jake (Chinatown) and Dean (Supernatural).
Then why just 3 stars?
I was all over this book the second James Brimstone was introduced. Sleek, charismatic and a wonderful liar – the stupendous ragged hero. Nico was introduced perfectly as the damsel in distress of a pulp. Everything was super even the needless sex and action scenes were spot on as per a pulp. The LA setup is wonderful and tasty, the mystery is intriguing and the book is full of magical action. With ‘sexy’ written all over and weird magic gluing all together, I had set my mind to the extreme gear of ppppulp novels. But then I realized how flat the characters are. Generally, characters of pulps are written a bit ‘over-the-top’ which compliments the book and fits like a jigsaw. Hex-rated has characters which are transparent and have good and bad written on their forehead as soon as they are introduced.
All these being said, I still loved it. Somehow it grew upon me and the ride to the last page was very satisfying. I sincerely hope to see more of a better Brimstone.
Damn it I almost forgot: Thanks to Netgalley and the author for providing a free copy for this review.
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.
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.
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!
The Mark – 3.5 stars
Buying a book just because it is cheap due to some offer was a huge gamble for me but the good news is I won!
It was a huge surprise when the book turned out to be a smooth crime thriller as promised in its catchy premise – “Right as I’m about to die, I realize all the myths are fake. There’s no white light at the end of a tunnel. My life isn’t flashing before my eyes”!
Henry Parker is a newbie journalist waiting for a snoop to catch. One night he tries to help a man form being physically abused and -poof- he becomes a snoop with the Police and killers on his heels with zero idea of what is happening.
Mentioning anything more than that might spoil parts of the story. SO all I am gonna squeak is that this is no historical or mythical or sci-fi or fantasy thriller. It is a plain hardcore good guys-bad guys thriller set in urban city with us, the people. Without any all-knowing or action-crazy hero Jason Pinter has written a gripping book.
You may not be toppled down or marked forever(pun intended) with The Mark but it is a sweet thriller which will keep you guessing!
Plain Murder – 4 stars
In a paper company there are three workers who wants more power and faster. So with a fool proof plan they execute a plain murder which opens a Pandora’s box of power play, lies, blackmailing and more murders. With one of the three being more hungry than others, one way or another they all have face their doom.
I have exactly no idea why this book has such low ratings everywhere. I had first read this novel translated in Bengali (my regional language) and read the original a few months ago. Needless to say that the original fascinated me more.
There is a say in Bengali language that “Greed leads to sin and sin leads to murder”. That is exactly what drives this novel. Yes we can all imagine the inevitable doom with a little guessing game of “Who is gonna be the last man standing?” while reading the book. But what works very very well is the narration. From the point of view of the worst character, C. S. Forester takes the reader on a ride of ‘mind of a murder planner’. It should be mentioned that the novel is set in 1930’s era and thus unlike today’s techno-thrillers, this one is purely and deliciously psychological.
Sometimes the ride matters more than the destination and “Plain Murder” is a bright proof of that.
Vigilante – 4 stars
It may be an unpopular opinion but now a days a large percentage of detective mysteries cum thrillers tends to emphasise on making the problem somehow personal to the protagonist of the story. Either their past comes back to haunt them or the killer somehow is related to him/her or for some reasons the killer targets our protagonist. The plus point about these type of novels is that they are catchy and can create gripping situations to keep us on the edge; the result- best sellers. But the negativity lies in the familiar taste and repetitiveness. If one reads a certain amount of detective thrillers then this set-up becomes repetitive too fast. That is exactly why Vigilante feels like a fresh breeze!
A serial killer is killing other criminals but looks like he is doing it from behind the bars!
And that’s it! There is nothing more to talk about the premise. Just a pure cop thriller with a good mystery. No overly complicated personal problems, no past and present tying up together and there is nothing personal about the killer. There is a serial killer and DS Jessica has to catch him before the body count keeps increasing. Does it sound purely delicious or not?!?
The writing is smooth and soothing but still creates a hidden chill without using any explosive chase or cinematic action! There are many lady detectives in crime thriller field today but DS Jessica instantly stood out of the crowd as soon as I got to know her. She is energetic, goofy, young and so grounded and relate-able that she feels like one of the friends of ours. That is how I like it! What to say more? The focus of the mystery switches back and forth from one suspect to another which creates a nice guessing game for readers too. For me, that is very important in a mystery thriller. If it can keep me guessing till the last, I relate to it much more. Because it feels great to be a part of the search instead of just watching it from distance.
Although this is the first book by Mr Kerry Wilkinson for me, I am hundred percent sure that it won’t be the last. I suggest any mystery lover to read this and enjoy the forgotten taste of old school mystery novels.
Akumetsu Vol.1 – 4stars
In a corrupted and economically ruined Japan where rich people are getting oiled with money sucked from the poor, just a regular girl Shiina tries to earn money through prostitution once she hears about her dad’s bankruptcy. On her first assignment of attending an orgy at a party full of rich bastards, a young man wearing a demon mask breaks in, gives a speech on rich people’s cruelty an savagely murders all of them except Shiina. When the man is gunned down by police, he attempts suicide by blasting off his own head with a bomb implanted inside the mask! Although this extraordinary incident is taken to be a single one, this act ignites a chain of savage murders performed by the same masked individual! A masked man comes back from death again an again to bring down the wrath of justice!
I loved it! On a whole Akumetsu is a bomb-blasting read! It touches all of realistic societies’ problem and also forms a unique type of philosophical ground where brutal killing seems pretty natural(wait, did I say that out loud?!)!
The artwork is smooth and crispy, awesomely detailed and nasty! I’m gonna read more volumes that is for sure!