Book Review Books

Book review: A Closetful of Skeletons

A fading film star, men from her past and a beautiful setting. Perfect setting for a good suspense thriller; and A Closetful of Skeletons delivers that, almost.

Ramola is a retired movie star who has left Mumbai and is now settled in Ramsar, a small town in the mountains. She day she decides to write a memoir where she bares it all about her life and takes in Tia for help. And for dramatic effect she invites all her previous lovers for her 40th birthday. But on the very next day of her birthday, she is brutally killed in her bedroom and thus, starts the hunt for her murderer. The main investigator here is a retired Colonel, who on account of his experience and keen observation helps the police figure out the murder.

Tanushree Podder’s characters are good and she has given a complete background of all the major characters. There is a lot of Agatha Christie touch to the writing. Clearly, our author is a fan of Christie and it shows. I liked the writing but I felt that at times the narration slowed down. The murder takes place at about midpoint and by then you just want someone to die so that the story moves on. The story did need a faster approach and crisper editing.

My rating: 3.5/5

Book Review Books

Book Review: 8 Hours

Aratrika Reddy, the charismatic CEO of ARYA Holdings Ltd., has just 8 Hours to save her company from certain bankruptcy.

The multi-billion dollar hotels to steel conglomerate, founded by her mercurial father, liquor baron Madhusudhan Reddy, has many suitors, all of them plotting a hostile takeover. Aratrika’s estranged husband, Siddhartha is one of them. His inside knowledge is the real ace up his sleeve. The Rathores, the Reddys’ arch-rivals are looking to buy ARYA too and thereby settle old scores.

Aratrika has to weave her way through a litany of lawyers, politicians, bankers, bureaucrats, investors, power brokers and her dreaded family. Behind the scenes, Jagannath Rao, her wily uncle, is playing a dangerous double game of manipulation. Her father Madhusudan is furiously pulling the strings from behind the scenes. To add to the confusion, overseeing the whole sale process is her old flame, Peter.

Over the course of a single night, 8 Hours to be precise, Aratrika must fight the demons at the gates of her company and those within. It’s a fight to the bitter end.

A fight that Aratrika does not want to lose…
My review:

8 Hours! 8 very long and happening hours that we mostly spend sleeping. But for Aratrika, these 8 hours will redefine her life and everyone and everything she holds dear in her life. The story opens with Aratrika fighting a lone battle to save her company ARYA from her foes and family. She can trust no one and yet she is determined to save ARYA and herself from the impending doom. There are other forces in play, like her childhood friend and ex-lover, Peter; her husband Siddhartha; her father and her uncle; Rajyavardhan, her father’s enemy; and other companies looking at the take over as a very profitable deal. The events take place between 1a.m. and 9a.m. and all the battles are fought ruthlessly.

The author, Upendra Namburi’s 8 Hours is quite an intriguing tale of lies and betrayals. He has created a world where all lines between emotions and business are blurred and the situation gets murkier with each passing minute. With the turn of each page, you will be left wondering who is on which side. The story is good and moves at a good pace. Though, I have to admit that for me, the first 15-30 pages were a little tough. But once I crossed that mark, I had to finish this book in one go.

Aratrika is a tough lady, a protagonist that I like. A woman holding her own in the corporate world and fighting a lone battle to save her company, she makes for a perfect super woman. The characters are good, some men like Siddhartha, Aratrika’s husband and Madhusudan Reddy, her father, are loathsome. A lot can happen in 8 hours and this book shows that.
My rating: 3.8/5

P.S. Thank you Writersmelon and Westland Books for the review copy of this book.

Book Review Books

Book Review: Hell! No Saints in Paradise

Do you believe in God? If you do, do you believe in the concept of Paradise and Hell? A.K. Asif in his book, Hell! No Saints in Paradise, is about one such man, Ismael who refutes this concept of paradise and hell and is doing research and writing a paper for dissertation on the same topic. One fine evening, in the year 2050, he meets a beautiful girl in New York who urges him to open his mind to various possibilities and convinces him to go to YegaYaga Centre for Ayahuasca where he would be able to glimpse some truth. Ismael is intrigued and goes to the Centre where he has a vision of an old man on bicycle. The man calls himself Chacha Khidr and tells Ismael  to go to Pakistan, where his fate was waiting for him. On his return home in Manhattan, he finds a letter, flight tickets to Lahore, money and a box with polio vaccine waiting for him. Thus, he starts his journey back home on an unknown adventure. Once he lands in Pakistan, he finds the people delusional and their behavior is erratic at best. People are ready to cut others’ throats at the slightest religious fault in the hope to gain paradise. On his first night in Lahore, he meets Chacha Khidr and Pir Pul Siraat and he is guided towards his role to help them save earth and Paradise.

A.K. Asif has created a future world where zealots are in abundance and their actions can have detrimental effects all over the world. The visualization of a war affected country is perfect and so is the characterization. Our Hero is a non-believer whose views are shattered as he crosses hell on his way to Paradise. Ismael has his own limitations and weaknesses and the author has done a commendable job in not making him a perfect man. The story is good, moves quickly and you will be sucked in right from the start. But, towards the end, the story becomes a little convoluted. I felt that the climax could have been written in a better way. Apart from that, it’s a good weekend read.


My rating: 3/5