Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint

From the wonderful 'The Devotion of Suspect X' to the intriguing but bland-ending 'Naoko', the fall was quite wide. 
However, I was excited about the second English translation of this Detective Galileo series, as it is called. Keigo Higashino is Japanese and allowing for some loss in translation, this is still my favourite detective series currently. 
Salvation of a Saint has an amazingly tricky plot, and with new additions to the main plot in between, one is left guessing till the very end. 
What I loved about this book is, the murderer is announced at the very beginning, yet the reader is second guessing throughout, not just about the murderer, but the motive and the method. Ultimately the detective work is about the method, but the motive itself is in question till the end. 
When you get to the point where you can guess things, it becomes so exciting, so intriguing, that the pace of the book itself seems too slow. Your brain will work much faster than the climax of the book, and that is the only thing that can be complained about. 
For any detective fiction lover, I suggest this book as a not-to-miss.

Book Review: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

I just loved the irreverent humour and the innovative style of Moth Smoke, similarly the experimental style of Reluctant Fundamentalist interested me, and I loved the story line. So I HAD to read his third novel. This is also an unique tone, addressing the protagonist as "you", the narrator being the writer explaining to the protagonist who is the reader of the 'self help' book, how to get rich.
I was left skipping pages and often felt bored of the narrators tone. The parts where the story emerges are interesting, but it is not much of a story after all. And in the end, one dies inevitably, so whats the point of being filthy rich. Wait... was that the point? Who knows!?

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

I'm a sucker for murder mysteries. I used to be called Miss Marple in school, and not just for attempting to solve mysteries like 'who stole the pencil'. I've read too many to not have guessed the murderer in this one. Its almost Christie-esque in its solution and that fills me with glee. For I love being proved right about a murderer!
When no one knew Robert Galbraith as J K Rowling, someone commented about the description of clothes and fashion in this book to be feminine. I find this rather amusing, this point about if you realise if a man has written a book or a woman. Its a moot point. Only rarely does it not show... yes this book is very much written by a woman. And not just any woman, one who surely, is one of the most brilliant minds of this age.
The story starts with the introduction of a new (Yummy) detective, Cormoran Strike (Cant wait for the next Strike mystery now), the war veteran with a checkered past, just broken off from his supermodel girlfriend. (The only 'male' point of view here is that Strike gets to date only supermodels!!). Then comes Robin, the trusted sidekick, as every detective worth his salt should have. (Robin is also hot.) The victim is also a supermodel who apparently committed suicide and Strike is hired by her brother to prove that it was a murder. Anything else I say may turn out to be a spoiler so I desist.
My only complaint about this book is, it should have been limited to maybe, 300 pages. Agatha Christie is still eminently readable, again and again, simply because they are that pithy, thin spined and easy to finish in one day, flat! The Robert Galbraith in JK Rowling should plan to write 20 more Strike mysteries and make them short enough to finish, with complete satisfaction, on a flight!

Book Review: Bring up the Bodies

The second of the proposed trilogy by Hilary Mantel is much more lucid to read. And took a lot less time to finish! 
Cromwell has made Anne queen and Henry has already started the break with the pope. Here Cromwell is at the peak of his power, in the king cannot do without him, and he is building strong enemies. 
Bring Up the Bodies starts with Anne at the helm of her own powers, as a queen who might still give England an heir. If only she could, history would have been different. But either the king's accident (he fell from a horse and was unconscious for a long time) or his relationship with Jane Seymour, already in the reckoning, caused the miscarriage of a 3 month old pregnancy, supposedly of a male fetus.
 The king is already enamoured of Jane Seymour, a polar opposite of Anne Boleyn, quiet, calm, meek, where Anne was quarrelsome and bold. After this miscarriage the king, with the help of Cromwell plots the downfall of Anne, with a web of stories, lies, deceits, until Anne is finally executed for adultery and high treason. 
The language takes one back to the era and it is as if one can see it happening in front of ones eyes. There is a sense of vindication, as Cromwell avenge the death and degradation of his one time master, cardinal Thomas Wolsey. 
Tight woven, descriptive and clever, this book deserves the booker as much as Wolf Hall did.