Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

random reads in a lighter vein

Buy Birds, Beasts and Bandits: 14 Days with Veerappan Birds, Beasts and Bandits: 14 days with Veerappan
Authors; Krupakar and Senani    Tranlator: S. R. Ramakrishna    Penguin Rs250/-

Truth can not only be stranger than fiction, real-life escapades can be filled with excitement, insights and even some chuckles. It was just another day at work for wildlife photographers Krupakar and Senani, who were clicking away at the creatures of Bandipur National Park. Veerappan, the dreaded poacher and sandalwood bandit mistook them for important government officials and kidnapped them. The photographers were herded by the bandits to a life on the run through the forest. They got a chance to closely observe the rich variety of wildlife in the forest. Close contact with the wild and dangerous bandits was just as enlightening. The terrible Veerappan, reputed to have murdered several hundred people, shows glimpses of his intelligent human side. He and his gang exemplify all the complexities of human nature. The narration is lively and laced with humorous touches. Overall a refreshing and informative read.

Buy The Shadow Throne: BookThe Shadow Throne    By Aroon Raman   Pan   Rs.250/-
An exciting thriller with loads of twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. What began as a murder enquiry soon morphs into a deadly game of hide-and-seek within the shadowy world of Pakistan’s ISI and India’s RAW; and Chandra, his friend history professor Meenakshi Pirzada and Hassan find themselves in a race against time to avert a sub-continental nuclear holocaust. As the action moves to its hair-raising climax among the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, Chandra must face up to the fact that Inspector Hassan is not all that he seems…A riveting thriller set right in our  own backyard and starring people we might know in passing.

Buy Coup D'Etat: BookCoup D'Etat   Author: Ben Coes   Pan   Rs.350/-
When a brutal attack in Kashmir causes the breakdown of fragile peace between India and Pakistan, a rapidly escalating shooting war spins out of control. As the conflict reaches a deadly point of no return, it becomes clear that India is only days from resorting to the kind of attack that would put world peace at peril. With the world on the brink of disaster, the US collaborates to send its very best people to help avert an international crisis.
Not a memorable thriller. Credibility can stretch a bit too thin at times. A light pageturner for a rainy weekend or to while away the time at airport lounges.

Buy The Onus Of Karma The Onus of Karma  Author: Rudra Krishna   Penguin  Rs. 250/-
Swashbuckling adventure meets mythological fable in eighteenth-century Madras. The collection of kingdoms that will soon be India, is in turmoil. The eAst India Company controls much of the north and has ambitions to take over the entire subcontinent. In the south, Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan furiously resist the advances of the British.

In these desperate times, Ramaswami Aiyar, scion of the family which has for generations been the temple priests of an obscure little village near Kanchipuram, decides that the pious life is not for him and joins the police force. He soon discovers that the temple—and the family— he rejected protect the srichakra, the divine wheel given to man by Lord Shiva himself. The srichakra, symbol of Dharma on earth, is an instrument of tremendous power, with potential for great good or great evil, and both the British and Haider Ali want it. And even as Ramaswami finds himself cast as protector of the chakra, he understands the role of destiny in his life and the inevitability of fate.

There's been a clutch of books in this genre of late, which have garnered immense popularity. This story is tightly-written and an entertaining, worthwhile read. Also, it's set in historical South India, and this probably makes it different from the other mythology based fantasies.

Buy The Masala Murder: Book  The Masala Murder  Author: Madhumita Bhattacharyya   Pan  Rs.250/-

A brand new and lively, well-written read.There's mystery, and emotion, and romance with a "Prince Charming on a rather greasy charger'", and the fast paced action happens in a very Indian milieu. The cover seems at first glance to be another instalment of the Inspector Singh investigates series. There could have been more originality and distinctiveness there.

Reema Ray, private investigator and food writer didn’t set out to become Calcutta’s expert in infidelity cases, but that is where her detective agency has taken her. When the deceit gets too much, she finds a welcome distraction and a means to pay the bills by becoming a food critic for a magazine.
Her worlds collide when a gourmet provisions supplier she had once profiled ends up dead under suspicious circumstances. Her food-obscured nose can still sniff out a murder, and she decides to launch her own investigation. Then her ex-boyfriend shows up at her doorstep when he finds himself being treated as prime suspect in the kidnapping of his own wife! Suddenly, Reema is handling not one but two cases. With no access to official evidence, she relies on the meddling group of do-gooders she has dubbed the Calcutta Crime-Fighter’s Club. If all this wasn’t trouble enough, the alluring Shayak Gupta turns up around every corner, and while she can’t seem to resist him, she doesn’t believe a word he says either.
This first Reema Ray mystery follows a comical ride through Calcutta as Reema comes to terms with her feelings about the men in her life while whipping up delicious meals and being beset by criminals and the police alike!


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