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!
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.
Disturbed – 5 stars
It is very hard to write a proper review of this book because if I try to talk about the premise or concept then it would seem very simple. Also it doesn’t contain any detective, chase, fight scene or dashing protagonist. Yet it turned out to be one of the most catchy and suspenseful thriller I have ever read. And that is exactly why I loved it so much!
Molly is a newly wed who is still trying to figure out how to win smiles from her stepson and stepdaughter from her husband’s last messy marriage. With her stepson’s school still trying to cope up with two recent scandal and tragic incidents and all the neighbours still being best friends with her husband’s ex-wife, Molly has a lot on her plate. But when a serial-killer known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer (who murders families living in Seattle homes) turns his gaze to Molly’s neighbourhood things get a lot lot worse for Molly. With everyone Molly knows turning out to be not who they are, each passing day Molly becomes more and more convinced that her own family is the final target of the killer.
Kids and families are all this book has. But I had no idea of how much of a suspense and mystery can be built with just that. And the twists- oh my god! I bit my nail, I scratch my head again and again but the book just never ran out of twists and turns.
It felt like I was having a conversation with Kevin O’Brien-
Me: Is he the..?
Me: Is she a…?
Me: Aha! He it by doing…
Book: Nah. Try again.
If I try to say anything more, it might ruin the book for you! So just read this book if you are a suspense and mystery lover.
All I can say is, “Believe no one and nothing is what it seems!”
The Torso – 3 stars
Inspector Irene Huss is good at balancing home and office but some cases cannot be contained in the files at office. When parts of human torso start washing up at beaches, it looks like just another serial killing at first glance but Huss tries to solve the case by pulling some old and new ones, she discovers a puzzle with roots deeper than she could imagine. With one corpse being identified as a girl she knew and another corpse being identified as son of another woman known as Huss, she feels how much personal it is this time for the killer and herself.
Now that is an excellent story premise. But sadly the book delivers less than promised. First of all, the length. The book drags so much (more at the first half) that it could have shed about 30 pages easily. Lets give an example, “Maybe it would have been more elegant if the shoe had had a bit of a heel to go with the nice pants, but if you were one hundred and eighty centimetres tall without shoes, you don’t wear heels. A short pass with lipstick would have to do as a means of freshening up her makeup. On the way down the stairs she twisted her arms into a new trench coat-style jacket. It was blue, the color of her eyes.” Not so frustrating yet? Ok, now imagine paragraphs after paragraphs written about how our heroine had to face the problem of changing clothes quickly because someone was at the door or how she had to face the problem of changing her sweaty bra. There are things like these scattered among a crime thriller about serial killer investigation. It feels so frustrating and boring that even if you just say, “Meh” and skip 2-3 pages you won’t feel that you have missed something important.
But even after all these frustration, the book still manages to keep you interested because the mystery is very good and because Inspector Huss is damn good at what she does. I almost felt like vouching for the book to better when it ended.
To be frank, I want to read more of Inspector Huss mystery series but I am also very much afraid.
Eeny Meeny – 3 stars
Two people (who know each other) are abducted and they are given a choice. A revolver with one bullet in it. Only one gets to live by killing the other (Saw – movies anyone?). Now DI Helen Grace and her team have to find the mastermind when these type of killings start happening all over the town. They have to catch the murderer fast before it starts getting personal. The story is pretty straight. One after another incidents and DI Helen starts to get the feeling that the murderer is actually targeting her and all of the killings may somehow be related to her(touché).
This book is one of those books which build up incredible psychological mysteries but sadly fail to deliver satisfying solutions. The writing style is very engaging and smooth. But the unnecessary chapter breaks are really frustrating. There are so many chapters which run maybe for just 1 or 2 pages. Scratch that, there are chapters which are even less than 1 page. Chapter breaks are important for a novel and I have read other books too which have many chapters (eg. John Verdon). But they feel fine only when those are relevant/necessary.
The psychological satire is very well written by M. J. Arlidge. The minds of the victims are explored deeply. But at the end the solution or the identity of the murderer is very sudden which makes it bland. Have you read Now You See Me or The 7th Victim? Because then you already know the answer! Although The 7th victim itself felt very simialr to Now You See Me, after reading both of those, Enney Meeney feels like a complete cliché novel at the end. But if you haven’t heard/read any of those mentioned, you are in for a great ride!
I had very high hope with the novel because it has mind scratching mystery, appealing characters and greatly explored human psychology. Only if the ending had delivered more, this book would have been awesome.
The Bronx Kill – 3 stars
The Bronx Kill offers a traditional mystery with little of surprises in it. An aspiring writes goes off to a tour for some days only to find his wife missing just after he returns. The police pins him down as the murder suspect and whole thing becomes a media circus. Everything happening around him points towards the novel he is obsessively working on and while the writer refuses to take any help from his DI father, the world around him keeps throwing him in more and more cryptic situations just to make him question more about his own family history.
Although the baseline of the story seems very regular, Bronx Kill offers some new twists too. The family drama and history is very enjoyable. Tying the past with present is a very good way of writing a mystery and Peter Milligan has done that uniquely. But even after all these things the conclusion/showdown seems bland and many of the twists feel unnecessary. Bronx Kill could have been much more because it surely had the potential and calibre.
In the art department, James Romerger scores very very well. Te gritty nature of the city and raw emotions are portrayed very well. His scribbling lines suit the mystery perfectly but at some places the faces are too much distorted and at some pages you might have to stop to identify who-is-who first.
Although it is full of ambitions and offers some memorable twists, The Bronx Kill fails sadly to reach the hight it could have reached.
Noche Roja – 4 stars
Actually 3 + 1/2. Extra 1/2 is for the artwork!
Before I even start on the book, I want to talk about the art. Incredible! The play of black, white and many if their shades and prints are a visual treat for the eyes! The little looks, emotions, actions, shadows, motions, panels and details are drawn so smoothly as if its nothing but just stop and look back again to a page before turning to the next one; you’ll feel the art is the hero of this book. Artist Jason Laour tells the story more than Simon Oliver (no offence).
An american private investigator/alarm mechanic is called to look into a series of killing of teenage girls in the land caught up with all the dirt of North and South America at the middle. While he looks into the mystery of the working teenage girls he gets caught up with the past he had been running for 11 years and it that will take him to places which he wished to forget!
The story seems familiar while the characters shine the brightest. Simon Oliver has written some memorable characters but but the story feels s tiny little bit slipping at the middle. But other than that it is fine because of Jason Laour’s pages!
Red night (Noche roja) may not be must-read book but it is a very good read!
Triptych – 5 stars
A gem in the world of Crime and Suspense Thrillers. I had seen this book on many lists as one of the top contenders. And I am glad to say it really is.
The plot is quite straight forward – a convict is released after doing his time and a series of killing starts which is very much similar to the the one he was guilty of. There is the plot, there are some cops and interesting characters; so there you go – you have a thriller. Then what is it that makes this book so good?
For me, it was the narration. There are many books narrated from various point of views and time periods. But this one doesn’t follow any one character through out and the time periods are distributed through out the whole books in various time slots. It makes the reading very very interesting and enjoyable. The book has some really bloody and gore-some portions but still the book feels somehow a bit soothing! The expertise of writing shows itself in every little details.
And the characters! Ms Karin Slaughter has written with her heart out. Each one has his/her certain appeal – weather it is a little boy or an old retired teacher or a grief struck mother.
It is not about the mystery or some ‘baffling problem’ but it is about the journey towards the last page that is so good.
Think Of A Number – 5 stars
You receive a letter which contains another envelope in it. It says “Think of A Number” and when you open the 2nd envelope, there it is – the number you just thought is written in it! And it also wants some money to shut up about more mysteries of your life.
You know what you get? You get hooked to the book instantly!
Dave Gurnery is a retired New York City Homicide Detective who is trying to live a quite life with his wife Madeline. But when an old college friend contacts him about some mysterious letter, Dave has to come out to help him. The letters are sinister and most shocking puzzles that Dave has ever seen. And when the friend is murdered, Dave finds finds himself in a cobweb of baffling mysteries and multiple homicides!
This is hands down my all time favourite Mystery Thriller! I had found this book by mistake and since then I have never missed any of John Verdon’s books! This was John Verdon’s début book which was a surprise to me because the book’s writing feels as if the author has already written many books in the genre.
Back to the book. This book taught me a term – “impossible situation”. It is a situation that is nowhere possible with any logical expression! Once you are in it, you will keep guessing the solution non-stop while reading more. The book almost merges your mind with the pages and you can’t put it down until you know – how? I don’t want to spoil anything but I really wish I could talk more about those situations!
Also, the characters are some jewels scattered all over the pages. They are heartfelt and feels very familiar as soon as they are introduced. Dave’s professional and personal life is so well balanced that I felt sad for him and kept vouching for him at the same time! His wife Madeline and his friend (as if) Jack are some of the best characters I have ever read.
If you love a good mystery or a puzzling thriller don’t ever miss this book! This is truly a gem in the field of mystery thrillers!