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review 2014-10-30 13:26
Fast and Pulpy!!!
Life or Death - Michael Robotham

Life and Death by Michael Robotham is no ground breaking work of crime fiction. Moreover it is filled with clichéd points which guarantees success for a standalone thriller. A wronged hero, some crooked cops, a “more” wronged woman who becomes the lady in the hero’s life, an honest cop with a physical attribute that makes her colleague point her out as a prank-target, and a sort-of-larger-than-life ally of the hero.

But, I loved it because it encompassed some of my favourite points too, the one which according to me makes a thriller thrilling to read. They are,

1.Pace- The book was the definition of “Unputdownable”

2.Plot – Though nothing out of ordinary, Robotham’s writing style kept me guessing for the larger part of the book. The characters were drawn into black and white but the plot was tightly woven and the lid was kept tightly shut.

3. Unbelievable characters and situations – I read purely for the purpose of entertainment. So, I love these impossible crimes, unbelievable characters, all woven into a plot which is fast pulpy and fun to read.

What more could I ask for???

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review 2014-07-24 15:28
Good-ole pulp fiction!!
The Wheelman - Duane Swierczynski

There is one perfectly reason why I consider Agatha Christie as one of my favourite authors, because she was not pretentious and knew that what she wrote was crime fiction with the sole purpose of entertainment. Her books were not commentaries on racism, on human psychology or something

“much deeper than just a crime novel”. Then smartass writers started criticising Christie and started writing Crime fiction with a “Broader Perspective”, and managed to make the crime, twist and solution take a back seat to things like human psychology, atmosphere and every other stuff which made no contribution to the plot, pace or entertainment in any way whatsoever.


Duane S scores here, and scores a perfect 10. This book, The Wheelman, just as the name suggest is a pure crime fiction and nothing more. Just like a wheelman, whose sole aim is to get the men out into safety, Duane S made sure that this book’s main aim is to satisfy the reader, and present him with a purest form of crime fiction.


He was successful. He offered no commentary as to how a man could commit crime, what made him do it. No opinion and sympathies as to how human kind is getting scarier day by day. Or how corrupt the law has become. He merely states that humans can be dangerous, some of them rob banks and kill people, and the city of Philly has a darker side and there are corrupt police officers. To these facts he adds a huge….huge dollop of twist, right up to the last page. And adds a liberal sprinkling of pace and serves the reader with a work of crime fiction which deals with a crime, its outcome and the twists in between. And nothing more.


So, in my opinion if Duane S is the future of Crime writing, then the future is pretty safe. If not there is a twist in the future in the same way he twisted us readers in his book.



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review 2014-07-22 14:51
Second book syndrome.
The Darkest Room - Johan Theorin

When I had read Echoes from the Dead, I was not really expecting a taut thriller, with a sad and believable protagonist and a plot which racing between two time periods and an unlikely outcome, a twist in the very last pages. It kept me hooked up to the last page. I made the mistake of underestimating the book, and I was properly thrilled with its stature. And, then I made the mistake of over estimating The Darkest Room, and was not really thrilled by the book and its contents. Make no mistake of the fact, Johan Theorin is a great writer, and I still consider him a personal favourite, but somehow I guess he tried a little too hard to make this book exotic and in the process ended up in writing a book which neither could become a complete thriller nor a complete family drama.

The publishers note in my edition said, “In this powerhouse of suspense–at once a crime novel and a searing family drama…” So, from a purely crime fiction point of view I was sorely disappointed. The plot was not fast, it wasn’t well weaved, the crime never looked like a crime until almost 65% of the book had gone by, the criminal had, at most a total of 5 paragraphs dedicated to him and at the end neither did we get to know what was his fate. There was a subplot which at the end was revealed to be connected to the crime, but the sub plot was way too long and could have been shortened without causing any harm to the main plot. But I never skipped pages, because Theorin after all is a good writer. The book looked like a family drama, sounded like a family drama, read like a family drama, with a bit of supernatural thrown in. As for a work of crime fiction, it was not worth it.

The characters unlike the first book failed to make any mark on me. The semi-protagonist of Tilda Daviddsson gets way to little space to be fully developed, Joakim Westin also comes out as unfinished. His situation brings out sympathy but that’s not the credit of the writer. Reading about him made me bored, but thinking about a man who lost his wife made me sad. A character from the first book makes a cameo appearance and does the Mycroft Holmes thing by pointing out the crime, but sadly that doesn’t salvage the book. Even the old-new connection which worked so well in the last book failed this time. It was boring, and never felt remotely connected to the main plot.

Final verdict, this book, as a work of crime fiction doesn’t stand up. But as far as reading it like a family drama goes, there might be some merit. But then again why would a reader read Johan Theorin to read a family drama???

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review 2014-04-28 14:18
Not the best from Lovesey...
The False Inspector Dew - Peter Lovesey

THE FALSE INSPECTOR DEW by Peter Lovesey is a standalone novel by the author best known for his crime series featuring a Victorian policeman Sgt. Cribb and another featuring Bath CID policeman Peter Diamond. This novel is set in the year 1921, and based on the Cunard liner Mauretania, taking up the case of Dr. Crippen and his crime as a backdrop. Dr. Walter Baranov, a London dentist falls in love with a patient of his. Suffering under his dominating wife, the doctor along with his love struck patient plans to murder his wife, and escape to America aboard the Mauretania, taking up the pseudonym of Walter Dew. When a passenger is killed on board the false Inspector Dew is called upon to solve the mystery.


I can safely say, I did not enjoy the book as much as I would have liked to enjoy it. Yes there were funny moments in the book, and there was a nice little twist in the end, but somehow this book came out for me as a half hearted attempt from a writer capable of writing much funnier and twisted crime novel.


Though not at all a dull one to go through, but the book being shortlisted for the Dagger of Dagger by the CWA is a bit over the top. But, then again a lot of duller books have been awarded the best crime fiction title of the year by the CWA, and compared to those this one was a much better read.

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review 2014-04-24 03:44
Echoes from the Dead - Johan Theorin,Marlaine Delargy

Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin set in Oland, Sweden starts when Jens Davidsson, a 6 year old boy goes missing on a foggy day. Years later his grandfather a retired sea captain receives a shoe, a shoe which Jens was wearing on the day he disappeared. He then, along with his daughter, sets off to find out what really happened on that day, and what became of his grandson.

Now, how many times do we come across a crime thriller which, literally, has a twist in its last page? It’s far and rare. And in today’s world of deceitful blurbs and dubious ways of giving away awards for crime writing, it has become much more difficult to come across a book which actually provides a roller coaster ride, all wrapped up in the garb of a run-of-the-mill plot, filled with oh-so-clichéd and drab characters, nothing exotic but believable. Johan Theorin provided us a book which had all the above points. Potent enough to make a crime reader like me suspect, that I am yet again stuck with a book which while calling itself a crime novel would present me with a bouquet of descriptions and scenes of the locale, the deep psychology of the characters, long paragraphs filled with over the top lines, and very little crime and thrill. I was properly and thoroughly hoodwinked.

The book begins with all the above mentioned shortfalls, and as one continues, it appears that though not as bleak like some fellow award winners, this book might just fall flat. But, something stops the reader from putting down the book. Be it the characters. The woman with a missing child, the elderly grandfather settled in an old age home, with a mission to find out the truth. The narrative, which jumps between the present day, and past, talking about a man who gets perceived as a villain, yet something about that man seems to not fit the bill as a villain. All these discrepancies within the over-tested formula of exotic locale, and the super tragic crime of a missing child, kept me interested. I ploughed on, and the book as it progressed, picked up speed. Though not much was happening, clues weren’t getting discovered, nor were people turning up dead by numbers. Yet, the local characters started revealing some odd bits. And when the ending came, I thought that was the best it could have been, only to be presented with a twist in the last page.

Surely one of the most entertaining and suspenseful crime novels I have read in recent time. Standalone thrillers if not treated right gets boring. But, it seems Theorin knew his job, and in the process created a book, which was worthy of all the Awards heaped upon it.

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