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November 14, 2012
Title: The Bankster
Author: Ravi Subrahmanian
Interesting Storyline. Not very thrilling, but made me curious ‘what next?’ Or else how would I have managed to read over 320 pages in one-go, in around 5 hours? This was the second time I was reading a novel related to finance. Ravi has used simple terminology, which any lay man can understand. After all, the focus was on something that was happening behind the scenes and hence, the storyline was on attempting to solve the mystery.
Now, let us talk of the story. The novel begins with the trading of diamonds in Angola, moves to of the involvement of a man in Kerala and his stand on the Trikakulam nuclear reactor built in his area and finally, moves to a Mumbai based Great Boston Global Bank. The larger part of the story involves the Great Boston Global Bank and its employees. The trouble starts when some of the bank employees are found dead. Everyone looks at the cases as accidents, until clues begin emerging it could be otherwise.
Enter Karan Panjabi, a press reporter and an ex-GB2 banker, who puts the pieces together using his investigative mind to find the truth behind the killings and the scam.
Intially, I enjoyed reading the story related to the bank and what was happening there. The nuclear power plant seemed to be playing an out-of-the-role till I reached almost the end of the novel. The author could connect the parallel instances well into the story, and it is this part that forms the most surprising part of the story. If you have a detective mind and if you read carefully, you may be able to judge some of the people behind the scam. But, there were characters that surprised me, and kudos to the author to have kept the suspense. I couldn’t spot them until I read the entire story.
Although there is a good part of banking in the story, the author has taken care to carefully craft the story, to keep the reader hooked till the very end. This further makes sure every reader, irrespective of he is from financial or non-financial background enjoys the story. There are several sub plots. You may find them out of the storyline. However, on reading the entire story, you will understand the importance of these sub-plots.
The story will tell us how today many people take advantage of their career and go out of the way to make extra money. They don’t have feelings for family, friends or colleagues or towards their own country.
Being an ex-banker must have helped the author to a great extent to write this book and his other novels, that I believe too have stories relating to the banking sector. I can’t compare this novel with other stories from the same author as this is the first time I’m reading Ravi Subrahmanian’s book.
Finance, basically doesn’t fall in my interest, but a thriller does and it was an interesting experience to read a finance related thriller. A definite read, if you like thrillers.
September 29, 2012
Title: The Krishna Key
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Pages: 485Price: Rs. 250
Summary: Thriller to reveal the hidden Krishna secret – The Krishna Key and a murder mystery
Dr. Anil Varshney, an archaeologist working in Kailbangan hands over one seal each to his research and academic friends for safe keeping. The four seals together should fit in to a base plate that contains the final clue to a hidden secret, referred to as ‘The Krishna Key.’ The base plate, he tells his friend, Dr Ravi Mohan Saini, a professor at St Stephen’s College in New Delhi, is locked away in a locker. Dr. Ravi Mohan Saini is the main signatory and will be contacted if anything happens to Dr.Anil Varshney.
Soon, Saini is held responsible for Dr. Varshney’s murder, as Saini was the last person to see Dr.Varshney alive. The cops have enough proof to convict Saini for Dr.Varshney’s murder. Saini’s doctoral student, Priya Ratnani with her leading criminal lawyer father’s help, creates opportunity to escape. Each time Saini is close to finding someone to vouch for his innocence, the person is killed and he becomes the prime suspect. A young man, Taraak Vakil believes he is the tenth avataar of Vishnu – Kalki. What or who makes him believe so? What is his mission? Will Saini be able to find the real killer and discover the secret of The Krishna Key? Will Priya and her father be able to give required assistance to Saini to find the killer?
The novel is fast paced, written in simple language and the author has put in great effort to link facts with fiction. He has researched well, though there are certain historical facts, I couldn’t personally agree with. The story, though very interesting, at times were overloaded with historical facts and mathematical calculations, as I felt it diverts attention from the centre theme of the story. The times I felt unreal was when Saini took good amount of time to explain the science and history to the people he met, while on the run and trying to prove his innocence. I was wondering if a real person would ever spent time on sharing his knowledge to peer or colleagues instead of trying to clear his name from the mess.
In certain chapters, I could relate to the Krishna storyline, given at the start of each chapter with the fiction. But, as I progressed and moved towards the end of the book, I felt I read enough of Mahabharata. It could be because I amn’t an enthusiastic history loving person although a reasonable amount of history is interesting.
To sum up, The Krishna Key is a good read, thrilling to find the real killer, the unexpected turns particularly in the mid-of the story and the surprising historic revelation – the secret to the Krishna Key. I managed to read 485 pages in three days because I couldn’t wait to know what’s happening next!
September 18, 2012
The past several weeks has kept me busy. In July 2012, my daughter crossed her major milestone - the one-year mark. Till she was around tenth months old, it was easy to work. Now, she believes she can work - interview people and write features!
My writing slowed down for nearly two months, around April-May. I worked only for selected publications. I faced more of disappointments during the May-June period. A privately circulated magazine from a leading corporate group in India, took me for a ride and didn't pay me for the in-depth research based story I wrote on a short deadline. It took several weeks to get the editor to respond. Since I asked for a kill-fee, she has refused to respond again. Similar things happened with a couple of other magazines as well.
Beginning July, I am writing for two new publications and also for three other publications, I have been working earlier as well.
I wrote 4000+ words for my non-fiction book, I'm almost through the chapter titles, half-way through the chapter outline..it's slow, but happening. The book proposal is in progress. Earlier, I dreamt to write, and I did write around 500 words, but not more. Now, it is tough to find time between motherhood and household chores, apart from writing assignments etc; yet I am finding time to write what I feel close to my heart. I also wrote another 4000+ words for three different titles. Let us hope those projects too will see the light of the day, sometime in future.
It's time to get back to work. See you, friends, very soon.
August 28, 2012
I have switched to posting book reviews in my book review blog : http://bookandauthors.wordpress.com. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is however, a book related to my work. Hence, I am posting a brief of the book here. Rest in the link provided after the brief.
Book Review Brief:
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (Pan Macmillan)
Price: Rs. 499
Summary: Tells you can change your job to change your life
The $100 Startup is largely for the people who already own a job and prefers to walk of the regular 9 to 5 job to work on something on your own. The book will help you brainstorm your ideas and learn how people come up with ideas expectedly or unexpectedly (due to circumstances) to venture out with a new mirco business. Chris Guillebeau focuses on two themes, 'Freedom' and 'Value' throughout the book. He shows you how you can turn your passion to profit, but not all hobbies can be converted to business or profit.
To read the entire book review, log on to http://bookandauthors.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/book-review-the-100-startup-by-chris-guillebeau/.
May 12, 2012
Title : The Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Author: Keigo Higashino
Price: INR 350
The Devotion of Suspect X is a thriller novel, originally written by Keigo Higashino in Japanese in 2005.
I was thrilled to find a Japanese book's Indian edition for review at Blogadda. Since I love to read mysteries, I applied for the book review of The Devotion of Suspect X. Sadly, after reading the book, I couldn't understand how 2 million copies sold' mark is true, though I should admit the characters have been well framed, there is surprising element and there is a surprising twist at the end. It could be because the novel begins with unveiling of the murder, how and why it happens and the rest of the book is about the police chasing the criminal, whom we already know.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to reading. An author can never satisfy all readers. It isn't necessary I like those books others like and rate as the best and vice-versa. Nevertheless, the novel will make an interesting read for those who want to find out how the police catch the murderer, the twists and turns, and there is plenty of mathematics, for those to love the thoughts of a mathematician genius (I skipped certain sentences of 'mathematics' part as I find the subject a bit dry).
The Plot:The story begins with Ishigami, a mathematics teacher who has a huge crush on Yasuko, a middle-age divorced mother of a teeanger. Yasuko works at Benten-tei, the shop that makes boxed lunches. Ishigami is a frequent visitor at Benten-tei, to see Yasuko though he never shares his feelings for her. They are also next-door neighbors. One day, Shinji Togashi, Yasuko's ex-husband turns up at the shop and later, they meet at a restaurant, as Yasuko wants to hide the meeting from her teenage daughter, Misato. Yet Shinji Togashi turns up at Yasuko's doorstep later the same night, picks up a fight with Yasuko and he is killed by the mother-daughter duo. Ishigami comes to their rescue and help in covering up the murder. He orders the mother-daughter duo to strictly follow his instructions. At such instances, I wondered if Ishigami is trustable.
The soft-spoken detective Kusanagi and his assistant Kishitani begins investigating Shinji Togashi's murder after his body is found. Yukawa, a brilliant Physics Professor of Imperial University enters the scene. Yukawa and Kusanagi are friends and Yukawa often helps the investigator when an investigation comes to a dead end. The main turn in the story comes with the reunion of Ishigami and Yukawa, old college friends. Ishigami’s well-crafted plan begins to fall apart. I wouldn’t like to reveal more of the story and kill the suspense.
Keigo Higashino has a surprise element at the end, but it wasn’t strong enough to make me excited, like it does in several mystery novels. Several times, I felt the story is being dragged and it could have ended in fewer pages.
What I appreciate the most about the novel is the simple language, good and interrupted flow and gradually, revealing the characters. You also get an insight into Japanese culture and words.
Like I mentioned, story preferences differ from person to person. If I’m to list the cons, I would say, the murderer is revealed at the beginning of the novel. Hence, even though surprising turns can be found as the story progresses, it doesn’t thrill much to know ‘what happens next.’ (But, probably, this is what makes the novel a bestseller!)
Makes an interesting read for those who like to read any kind of mysteries, want to know how police can be misled if a genius is behind the murder or covering up the murder, how far a mathematician genius can go in covering up a crime and how another brilliant professor can help in revealing the crime. Good language and good flow (I liked the novel for these two reasons). Hats off to Keigo Higashino for attempting a different mystery plot.
April 20, 2012
Last week, I had an email interview with Amitabha Bagchi, author (The Householder and Above Average) and Assistant Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department of IIT Delhi. Read about The Householder and more at http://www.techgoss.com/Story/556S12-Bagchi--writer-of-exceptional-talent.aspx.
April 19, 2012
Long due; it's over two weeks since I posted Dipen Ambalia's LOSER: Life of a software engineer's review.
"The hilarious journey of IT industry begins here…
To know the life in IT, Dipen probably felt the need to educate the history of software world! Hence, the book starts with the theory of connection between outsourcing and Chirstopher Columbus, which is deeply hilarious. Dipen Ambalia takes a humorous ride through those who work in the IT field while giving comparisons with the non-IT’s or with arranged marriages in India or something else."
Read more: http://bookandauthors.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/book-review-loser-life-of-a-software-engineer-by-dipen-ambalia/
If you have read the book, I would like to hear your review! If you haven't, buy now : LOSER: Life of a Software Engineer.