Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson

photo courtesy:
A great plot that grips you from the start.

I am a great fan of travel settings. There have been times when waiting at an airport I would wonder about the passengers sitting around me, wondering what stories are they carrying within themselves.

No surprise then that the premise of two passengers meeting at the airport as a point of take off for the story really appealed to me. It is a great story that sucks you in and leaves you suitably impressed.

A man and a woman meet at the airport. The man has a story to tell; about his unfaithful wife and his anger that is driving him to kill her. The woman agrees to help him. Does it happen? Do they get away with it?

What works:
  • It defines the contemporary crime thriller; totally plot driven with action from the word go.
  • The plots twists and turns are like a rollercoaster ride. Nothing is as it seems. It is also as if the author is playing around with the reader. Leading them on to one way but taking the story onto another. 
  • The characters are interesting. Their persona are distinctive and in line with the way they react to the situation.
  • Loved the way the different narrators offer their version of events allowing the reader a 360 perspective. The device works very well and effectively used here. 
What stayed with me:

The scene where the older Lily finds her younger self standing at the same point as she was years ago sharing the same secret. Later the younger one merges into the older one and they become one. Very visual and evocative.

It is hardly any surprise that the book will be made into a movie soon. Reading the book, I could easily see it as a movie. It has all the necessary spice, action and formula.

What doesn't:
  • It is a quickfix, where plot dominates. 
  • Though character is given importance, it doesn't give you the layered, holistic satisfaction that complex novels have.
  • This is a beach read, a weekend getaway that is so compelling that you can get through it in a couple of sittings.  
Read it if you are looking for a quickfix, something that is compelling without being too demanding.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Quill and the Keyboard

The Quill and the Keyboard

It had to be now.

Picking up the creased, worn page, she unfolded it with great care.
The lines, though familiar, still took her breath away. The sharp angle, the dark letters, endorsed a meticulously honed skill. The intimate, flamboyant writing, opened a door to the author’s psyche. 

It was time to let go. She had to sever the past — break the nib, overturn the ink. 
She must cut off this emotional bond, to face the impassive future. Clenching her fist, she watched the paper crumble against the weight of her hand.  With a muted farewell, she let the bits fall. 
She turned around.

The metal monster was waiting with its jaws open. With a deep breath, she booted it to life. Tapping away furiously, she entered the cyber minefield. 

Given below is the link to the WE magazine for access to the published version:

Friday, 2 September 2016

I found you - Lisa Jewell

A gripping story from a writer getting better with each book.

I have been hooked onto Jewell's books ever since I read  The House We Grew Up In. Her books are not profound or literary. But they are a good read; they force you to get to the end of it, stopping from doing anything else.

It is easy trace her development as a writer and storyteller from her earlier books. She is getting better in terms of handling the plot and the twists. It has now become easy to predict a Jewell book and she never fails in delivering the feel-good factor.

Alice is a mum of three and runs a small business from the attic of her home, by the seaside. One day, while working, she notices a man sitting on a beach for hours together. She walks up to him and realises he has no memory. She brings him home unaware of his past, or the fact if he was safe to be in contact with her family.

Lily a new bride is looking for her husband, who suddenly goes missing. She is new to the country and has no clue where to look for him. She approaches the police only to find her husband was not what he had claimed to be.

What works:
  • Jewell is today's writer. With short sentences and crisp dialogue, she writes for the restless reader, who loves action more than description.
  • Her characters are quirky and they do bizarre things. However, she makes them so believable that you actually care to see what happens to them.
  • The writing and the plotting are so good that the initial chapters just whiz by as you shuttle back and forth in a past and present scenario.
What doesn't:
  • Although the first half is good there is a point when it becomes all predictable. 
  • Jewell builds up a great premise and the suspense has a good too. But then once the hype is revealed, it heads into a predictable zone.
  • There is a bit too much of drama and the soap opera element to it.
A great holiday read. One can be assured that in Jewell's escapist stories, the characters end up in happily ever after. 

Lovely for those loving all-becomes-well romances.