Mr. Mercedes

  • Author: Stephen King
  • Genre: Mystery thriller, crime fiction
  • No. Of pages: 436

Stephen ‘word-weaver’ King!! This man has a flair so good with writing that can turn the most mediocre story plots into a nail-biting read!

No, I’m not saying that Mr. Mercedes has a weak plot but being an avid reader of murder mysteries, I’ve read plots way better than the one King presents us here. But writer of such a caliber converts this book into a thorough page-turner with his usual ease.

Like in all of King’s books, the characterization is top notch. The “Det. Ret.” is so convincing as a cold, competent but borderline suicidal Detective who’s baited by an even colder, inhumane mass murderer “Mr. Mercedes”. Even the Detective’s sidekicks are so well described, you’d be sure you practically know them!

Mr. Mercedes, undoubtedly, is one of the best villains to be ever written. You appreciate him one instant and our grossed out the next.

Every religion lies. Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness, and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.

Though it’s not among King’s best books, the thrill and the suspense and the cat-and-mouse chase of the right and the wrong, make it a worthwhile read.

Because, “everybody likes the ice cream man”.

Ratings:

Critics- 3.9/5

I’d rate it- 4.2/5

 Shock of the Fall

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Author: Nathan Filer

Page Count: 307

Genre: (Fiction) Mental Health, Tragi-Comedy.

Book Synopis: I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.

If you thought it’s impossible to make a funny book about mental illness, I’d shove this book at you! Filer has managed to write this dark comedy about an illness, a disease with the shape and sound of a snake: Schizophrenia.

It is a compelling narrative of a lad shadowed by a mental illness and the lingering grief and guilt over his brother’s death.

Although the main event of the story is signposted at the very start, the suspense lingers. Flier succeeds to give some and hold some back!

The writing is incredibly inconsistent and dynamic which makes it beautiful! The central character actually physically writes this book so it’s like an episodic diary, with tremendous amounts of gaps. His life continues to move forwards as he writes about it. He gets distracted sometimes, dawdles off topic, finds his words back, rewinds, gives real-time updates, flashbacks and rewinds again.  Since Matt is physically writing it, it is not ordered, it has flaws, it has sloppy handwriting and sloppy thoughts and typewriter pages with their smudged ink, and tiny sketches and doodles.

Here’s how it starts:

the girl and her doll

I should say that I am not a nice person. Sometimes I try to be, but often I’m not. So when it was my turn to cover my eyes and count to a hundred- I cheated.

Through this bittersweet novel whose lead, although unreliable, captivates you even though his world is falling apart, Flier give an insight to the illness through this book, and helps the reader if not understand, but feel what the illness is like partially at least!

It is painful,

it is poignant,

it is haunting,

it is funny,

it is tragic

and I could just go on!

 

And it is definitely worth a read!

the shock of the fall and the blood on my knee

 

Ratings:

Critics: 4/5

I’d rate it: 4/5

And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Page Count: 402

Genre: Historical fiction,  Family Drama.

Book Synopsis: 

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe – from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos – the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

This book had a deep, and I meant it when I say, deep deep impact in my life. I would be barking half truth if I didn’t say this book made me a better person!
Khaled obviates from his normal narrative style and adopts one in the form of a string of short stories and letters, written in the perspective of it’s different characters, which makes it more personal, more down-to -earth and more closer to the heart! This combined with Khaled’s writing makes a really touching journey. Khaled’s flair for his homely writing is ever so clear here, as was it in The Kite Runner.

Here’s how it goes:

FALL 1952

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one. But just the one. Don’t either of you ask me for more. It’s late, and we have a long day of travel ahead of us, Pari, you and I. You will need your sleep tonight. And you too, Abdullah. I am counting on you, boy, while your sister and I are away. So is your mother. Now. One story, then. Listen, both of you, listen well. And don’t interrupt.

At the end of reading this book you will re-realise that nothing, nothing supersedes family.

Emotionally breath-taking, it hits you right in the feels, repeatedly! Nostalgia has never been more nostalgic!

Khaled dextrously glides over countries, and even generations to give you this heart-wrenching masterpiece!  It’ll make you feel homesick even though (if!) you’re at home! A powerful story which extends to the variety that makes up a family, that glue a family ; starting from your mum and dad right up to the caretaker!

It took me a while to pick the pieces back up and get over this book! Also, this book is probably the reason I require glasses now!

Ratings:

Critics: 4/5

I’d rate it: 27.4/5

Kidnapped

  • Author: R. L. Stevenson
  • Genre: Thriller
  • No. Of pages: 136

One word, and only one word, can sum this book convincingly- Adventure. Adventures of a mere teenager who unwantingly risked his life only to be saved by a stroke of luck and some humanity.

One of R. L. Stevenson’s lesser known novels, Kidnapped, does justice to the smooth wit that Stevenson is famous for. The narration glides and flies through the heavy turmoils that the protagonist goes through.

Why, David,” said he, “the innocent have aye a chance to get assoiled in court; but for the lad that shot the bullet, I think the best place for him will be the heather.”… When it came to this, I gave Alan up. But he looked so innocent all the time, and was in such clear good faith in what he said, and so ready to sacrifice himself for what he deemed his duty, that my mouth was closed. Mr. Henderland’s words came back to me: that we ourselves might take a lesson by these wild Highlanders. Well, here I had taken mine. Alan’s morals were all tail-first; but he was ready to give his life for them, such as they were.

The only kink in this well oiled chain are the foreign words. As is quite evident from the excerpt above, the writing contains one too many Scottish words which are difficult for the non-Scottish readers to decipher. But mostly the context renders it proper meaning so even that problem is not much of a problem.

Lastly, the writing is filled with an adrenaline filled ride as the protagonist fights against all at land and sea, as we empathise with him and disbelieve him but constantly hope he gets what he badly seeks.

Ratings:

Critics- 3.8/5

I’d rate it- 4/5

Broken Harbor

  • Author: Tana French
  • No. of pages: 496
  • Genre: Mystery thriller

Are you the type of reader who loves murder mystery thrillers, especially the serial killer ones which keeps you hooked on every single word as you try to figure out who did it?? So am I! And this book caters to exactly us!

A family of four is violently murdered in their own house with the mother being the lone survivor, still fighting for life. In the beginning the solution seems quite obvious, mind you. But soon enough, as facts are revealed, we know that things are very far from simple. 

Here’s a scoop from the detective’s point of view-

One of the reasons I love Murder is that victims are, as a general rule, dead… I don’t make a habit of sharing this, in case people take me fore a sicko or- worse-a wimp, but give me a dead child, any day, over a child sobbing his heart out while you make him tell you what the bad man did next. Dead victims don’t show up outside HQ to beg for answers, you never have to nudge them into reliving every hideous moment, and you never have to worry about what it’ll do to their lives if you fuck up. They stay put in the morgue, light-years beyond anything I can do right or wrong, and leave me free to focus on the people who sent them there.

Interesting isn’t he?

This is a tale of love and obsession and nostalgia and bliss and utter helplessness of human life. Horror dripping from each of its pages, you slowly and steadily come to realize how this tragedy will end. And even then the climax is a bit too distressing.

Broken Harbor does what good mystery thrillers are supposed to do; it thrills you and astounds you. It also does what good literatures are supposed to do; it changes you’re outlook on the world and forces you to see what you’ve chosen to ignore.

Ratings:

Critics- 3.9/5

I’d rate it- 4.5/5

The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Page Count: 573

Genre: Mystery,  Thriller

Book synopsis: 

Symbologist Robert Langdon travels from Paris to London to discover the truth behind a mysterious and bizarre murder. Later, he learns about a religious mystery protected by a secret society.

Movie Adaptation: The Da Vinci Code (2006)




A thriller to keep you on your toes! That is what this book is! One of Dan’s Brown finest works about the exceedingly intriguing and historical work of Leonardo Da Vinci! 
This book outstretches it’s arms and grabs a hold of you!A hold so firm and steady; while slowly revealing the depths in it’s pages; keeping you just there, steadfast! 

It will educate you, it will inspire you to curiosity; and it will give you a griping experience all the while retaining it’s title of a cryptic, ancient, and perhaps a scandalous novel! History has never been more interesting ; Science has never been more charismatic! 

Here’s an excerpt from the Prologue:

Louvre Museum, Paris 10:46 P.M. 

Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy- six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Sauniere collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas. As he had anticipated, a thundering iron gate fell nearby, barricading the entrance to the suite. The parquet floor shook. Far off, an alarm began to ring. The curator lay a moment, gasping for breath, taking stock. I am still alive. He crawled out from under the canvas and scanned the cavernous space for someplace to hide. A voice spoke, chillingly close. “Do not move.”

 
This book outstretches it’s arms and grabs a hold of you!A hold so firm and steady; while slowly revealing the depths in it’s pages; keeping you just there, steadfast (although the writing is nothing great)! It will educate you, it will inspire you to curiosity; and it will give you a griping experience all the while retaining it’s title of a cryptic, ancient, and perhaps a scandalous novel! History has never been more interesting ; Science has never been more charismatic! 
Dwelling on the depths and past of Catholicism and Jesus Christ, it teaches you to have an open mind about religious beliefs, because beliefs are made by man and man is not unknown to mistakes. You may find it offensive, you may find it shocking, but it is what it is!

 It effectively couples religion and science! It gives you a basis for your beliefs, both religious and atheistic! If this book doesn’t give you a new perspective, I don’t know what will!

Read it with an open mind, read it with a curious mind, read it not only because its based on a famous painting but read it because it is one hell of an experience! 

Ratings:

Critics: 3.8/5

I’d rate it: 4/5

The Importance of Being Earnest

Author: Oscar Wilde

Page Count: 76

Genre: Farce, Comedy, Drama (also a Rom-Com, if you may!)

Book synopsis: (Basically, a story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives).

Movie Adaptation: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Book outline: Play

This one is a Wilde one! The plot is really simple. A plot so plain with too many twists makes a classic that is The Importance of Being Earnest!
Oscar Wilde’s sharp wit is insuperable, and its judicious use in this social sattire is impeccable! The art of deceiving for love is portrayed enigmatically with comical consequences, as classy as literature could get!
The stock characters are as equally entertaining as the protagonists! Lady Bracknell was sassy long before it was cool. Algernon might as well be the founder of memes we have today. Also, isn’t faking a name  so much easier and less damaging than faking your entire identity to impress that lad/girl?
It ends with an overwhelming number of twists and consequently ends quite abruptly. You could say the climax of the story is quite at the end.
The writing is not your ancient English you would expect! The literature is quite modern, simple to understand and straightforward . Being an easy read, It’s not head-wrecking; Hell you don’t even need to sit with a dictionary or Google chapter/scene summaries! There is not even a single page mundane!

If you find classics uninteresting (and feel overwhelmed by or wanna get back at your collection of snobs that are your bookish friends who constantly quote classics), this one is for you! It’s really short so moreover you will finish it in an hour or two in a sitting.
Many of you must have been forced to read this one in your literature coursework! If you haven’t, this farcical comedy is definitely worth a shot!
Ratings:

Critics: 4.2/5

I’d rate it: 4.5/5

The Diary of A Young Girl: Anne Frank


  • Author: Anne Frank
  • Genre: Autobiography, Historical
  • No.of pages: 312

Now here’s a book nobody can really review. How could anyone possibly review the words of determination and will by a girl of mere 13 years of age, who’d written them in hiding from the mass murder of the Holocaust?

So hence this is less of a ‘review’ and more of ‘my opinions’ about the diary.
Imagine being in hiding behind a faux bookcase, away from all normal life without even the liberty of making the daily household noises. And all this while hoping the Nazis do not catch-and-cook you! Well that was Anne’s life for years on an end.

In conditions like these, Anne showcased such optimism, such clarity of thoughts that has perplexed both the young and the aged alike!

I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right.

There were times when I read the books and could not help but look at her picture on the cover page and wonder HOW in the world could a child so young have so much to think, so much to write, so much to look forward to!

I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. But, and that is the greatest question, will I ever be able to write anything great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, for I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideas and my fantasies.

This is one of the books that gives the reader much more than mere reading pleasure; it gives the teachings of sheer hopefulness and optimism what come may.

Ordinary people simply don’t know what books mean to us, shut up here. Reading, learning, and the radio are our amusements.

She’s so “us”, isn’t she?

Ratings:

Critics- 4.1/5

I’d rate it- 4.5/5

The Partner

Author: John Grisham

Genre: Legal thriller

Page Count: 412

Book Synopsis: They watched Danilo Silva for days before they finally grabbed him. He was living alone, a quiet life on a shady street in Brazil; a simple life in a modest home, certainly not one of luxury. Certainly no evidence of the fortune they thought he had stolen. He was much thinner and his face had been altered. He spoke a different language, and spoke it very well.But Danilo had a past with many chapters. Four years earlier he had been Patrick Lanigan, a young partner in a prominent Biloxi law firm. He had a pretty wife, a new daughter, and a bright future. Then one cold winter night Patrick was trapped in a burning car and died a horrible death. When he was buried his casket held nothing more than his ashes.From a short distance away, Patrick watched his own burial. Then he fled. Six weeks later, a fortune was stolen from his ex-law firm’s offshore account. And Patrick fled some more.But they found him.

Movie Adaptation: (Development ongoing)



This one may not be Grisham’s finest work but it is worth the read! A cleverly plotted story seen from different perspectives, it incorporates violence,  drama, sardonic humor to make one edgy thriller.With every turning page the plot perfectly fits; It’s all relative!

Grisham’s sense of social satire and wittiness is perhaps unsurmountable! Such clever manifestation of legal proceedings, court trials and perspectives of prosecution into a novel should be a crime! The need for freedom emphasized by the elusory protagonist is elaborately explained, moreover, even justified!

This book is vile, but satisfying; shrewd, but exceedingly clever ; adorned with court related humor, but is impartial. Grisham leaves it to you to judge what is right and what is easy!

Here’s an excerpt:

December 7, 2008

They found him in Ponta PorÒ, a pleasant little town in Brazil, on the border of Paraguay, in a land still known as the Frontier.They found him living in a shaded brick house on Rua Tiradentes, a wide avenue with trees down the center and barefoot boys dribbling soccer balls along the hot pavement.They found him alone, as best they could tell, though a maid came and went at odd hours during the eight days they hid and watched.

The writing has no special elements but is fairly plain, thus does justice to the exhaustive story! You’d be disappointed if you expect murder/killing from the start, since neither of that happens, atleast not during the story timeline the writing is based on.

I found the ending a bit upsetting but that’s no biggie!

What more can I say? Well, for more details, all you gotta do is READ IT and decide for yourself! 😉

Ratings:

Critics: 3.9/5

I’d rate it:  3.5/5

The Three Musketeers

  • Author: Alexandre Dumas
  • Genre: (Fiction) Historical, Romance, Social Commentary, Adventure
  • No. of pages: 554 (the Wordsworth Classics edition)
  • Book synopsis: The Three Musketeers is one of the most celebrated historical romances ever written. It tells of the hot headed young Gascon, d’Artagnan, and his three companions Athos, Porthos and Aramis. In their gallant defence of the Queen of France, Anne of Austria, they put their wits and their swords against the machinations and men of that archetypal eminence grise, Cardinal Richelieu, as he schemes to hold on to his political influence over King Louis XIII. Their swashbuckling adventures take them from the high fashion of the French Court to the murkier aspects of espionage on either side of the Channel in a thrilling story of seventeenth century international intrigue. 

The drama! The theater! The excitement! That’s what The Three Musketeers is primarily about. Alexander Dumas’ debutante novel with its calm and its utter zeal, is a real page turner.

A hefty 600-pages novel, The Three Musketeers is big and plush but sinfully comfortable. It’s one of those books which could make you nostalgic when you’re done reading, nostalgic about the times of the French when horses were the only vehicles, when men were still chivalrous and when women were wasp-waisted.

Easily one of the best French classics, the quotes that Dumas’ offers in this book are numerous!

I do not cling to life sufficiently to fear death

Athos liked every one to exercise his own free-will. He never gave his advice before it was demanded and even then it must be demanded twice. 
“In general, people only ask for advice,” he said “that they may not follow it or if they should follow it that they may have somebody to blame for having given it”.

All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.

Oh how I’d love to keep quoting Dumas forever! That’s the effect of him right there!

Finally, The Three Musketeers winds up saying that everything that matters — love, courage, pleasure and, especially, all-for-one-and-one-for-all friendship — exists most vividly not in the supposed centers of power, but elsewhere: in the margins of history, where the musketeers, immortally, live.

Ratings:

Critics-❤️❤️❤️❤️

I’d rate it- ❤️❤️❤️❤️ for these original friends-forever!