Monday, 17 November 2014

Murder In The Central Committee (Pepe Carvalho, #5)Murder In The Central Committee by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Maybe I am too dense, or maybe I don’t understand English. But, this book just didn’t work out for me. Cause out of the 224 odd pages in this book I had already spent around 150 without getting a single clue to the investigation, I didn’t have any clue as to the life of the murder victim. And I also didn’t have any clue regarding the style of narration used.

And on top of everything, long paragraphs on Communism, and longer discussions of food. Make no mistake, I am a foodie, and I love to hate Communism, but I wouldn’t want an overdose of either two in a crime novel, where the crime, the clues, the detection and every other thing related to Crime writing does not takes a backseat but is entirely absent. A bad bad experience.

Or else the translator got it all wrong!!!

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The Frozen DeadThe Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once in a while I land myself with a book that helps me in reassuring myself that all is well with crime writing and THE FROZEN DEAD by Bernard Minier was one of those. All along I have maintained that what I look for most in a Mystery or a thriller is the plot. Most of the times my ratings depend upon the pace and the tightness of the plot, and added to those two very important aspect, I also look for twists. Not someone to shy away from a generous offering, I love my twists especially when they are strewn liberally all over the book.

Right from the beginning when a headless dead horse is found hanging, through the brutal murder of another man, right upto the end where he kept his last twist alive, Minier wrote a book that was pretty impossible to not to finish at one go. And boy did he almost turn this piece of crime writing into a horror novel. The use of the secluded landscape, the chilly weather, and the “madhouse” he created an atmosphere where I got goosebumps while reading. And I live in a tropical country. Not for a long time had I been so involved in a book I was reading. The last instance that comes to mind was a duo experience of BLUE HEAVEN by C.J. Box and another brilliant French effort IRENE from Pierre Lemaittre. And now this.

I guess the only aspect where Minier followed the well trodden path is while developing martin Servaz. He was divorced, grumpy, middle aged and overweight. A pretty standard character who solves an extraordinary crime. But, one this that did make Servaz a bit different from other fictional policemen was the fact that he felt frightened when the situation was frightening. He wasn’t made into a Superman with no fright and all gloom.

All in all a definite entry into my top Mysteries of all time. The pace of the plot, the twists, the atmosphere, the mad house and its inhabitants all made this book an experience to cherish.

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #4)Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a blind man gets hit by a truck in Vientiene, Dr. Siri, Laos’ only coroner gets involved. The body of the dentist reveals nothing except for a blank page, which turns out to be a note written in invisible ink. Intrigued Dr. Siri along with Inspector Phosy visits the house of the deceased dentist and finds a clue that sends Dr. Siri and Civilai to Pakse in the south, and Phosy and Nurse Dtui east into Thailand.

One of the prime reasons I read Dr. Siri mysteries is for the humor element. The plot as it is never reaches the dizzying heights of a whodunit, but Cotteril’s humor, along with his elegant writing style, his descriptions and mainly his take,via Dr. Siri, on Communism and its effect provides me with enough fodder to enjoy the book thoroughly. And it was no different this time. Be it the diplomat who got fried in his bathtub, or the musings of “Inspector Migraine” wanting to solve the murder by eliminating suspects “one by one” were notably laughable. And without giving away the plot, or shouting spoiler alert, the conversation between the two old friends, Siri and Civilai, are deep and insightful. Especially where Siri defends the revolution and the ensuing talk that follows.

If not a must read, but still a book which should be picked up just to feel Dr. Siri and frankly it’s a shame to miss even one Dr. Siri mystery.

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