Tag Archives: murder

The Third Mrs. Durst, by Ann Aguirre, 2019

Title: The Third Mrs. Durst

Author: Ann Aguirre

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publishing date: August 8th, 2019

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

Format: Kindle ebook

Language: English

Synopsis:

Some people just need killing.

Marlena Altizer Durst lives in her husband’s shadow. He controls her every move—what she wears, the food she eats, and the friends she’s allowed to make. If she disobeys, there are…consequences. And he has all the power.

To outsiders, it seems that she leads a fairy-tale life. But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince. Marlena has traded freedom and safety for luxurious imprisonment, and most days, that seems like a bad bargain. Death may be the only exit she’s allowed. Just like his first wife. And his second. Unless she flips the script.

Some people just need killing.

Praise:

The Third Mrs. Durst is a slow, dark burn that leads to a fantastic explosion of an ending.”—Victoria Helen Stone, bestselling author of Jane Doe

My review:

I received a review copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The character of Marlena was a very dynamic one – I found her ingenious and very clever. She is unscrupulous in going after what she wants. This determination of hers is a defining trait of her character, I think. However, I did not find her character arc very significant. Yes, she meets with a catastrophe – a horrific climax, but despite the positions it puts her in, and the subsequent direction her actions take her, I did not find her growth to be very believable.

The plot however, was very original and unique. I have not come across something like this before, and it is fantastic, despite the slow pace it assumes. Although the real reason why Marlena does what she does is rather justified, it comes somewhat as a bland surprise, but fails to uplift the overall effect. The romance that takes place in the second half of the story is just too sudden, I feel, and it gave the disjointed effect throughout. I could not just sink into the story as there was something that seemed to always hold me back from truly enjoying it.

The character of Mr. Durst on the other hand is the hero that gives the enjoyment to the reader, however twisted. Although he is not essentially ‘the good guy’ in the story, his assertiveness makes the book a much more enjoyable ride as it had been a burden on his wife’s shoulders.

The themes of love, hate, revenge, mental dilemma and struggles were all quite well portrayed in the plot that made it stronger. The whole book seemed to read like a movie with a brilliant plot, but poor or somewhat nice acting by the actors.

I think that this book was overrated and could not enjoy it much. The cover was not that good either and this is not a book I would recommend to others, honestly.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 3.5/5 stars.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Mehboob Murderer, by Nupur Anand, 2019

Title: Mehboob Murderer

Author: Nupur Anand

Publisher: Om Books International

Published on: 16th March 2019

Genre: Crime thriller/ adult fiction

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 282

Synopsis:

On a rainy September night, six people are gunned down mercilessly in an old Parsi cafe in Mumbai. The mass murder at Cafe Mehboob, located barely a few hundred meters from the police station, and right next to one of the busiest railway stations in Mumbai, jolts the city out of its complacence. The media immediately swings into action, while political pressure mounts on the police force to nab the murderer.

With everyone eager to place the blame of the murders on a madman in a bid to have the case dismissed swiftly, the headstrong inspector Intekhaab Abbas is determined to get to the bottom of the murders. On probing the lives of the victims, he stumbles upon a heady cocktail of love, lust, jealousy, betrayal, rage, longing, misery and ecstasy.

Mehboob Murderer, Nupur Anand’s debut novel, unravels a stunning truth neither the police nor the reader is prepared for.

My review:

I received a review copy from the author in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Mehboob Murderer was an exhilarating read. With a deadline looming over us all, the thriller goes on a pace, which seems nail-bitingly slow and yet we keep at the edge of our seats, expecting some revelation to jump up at us suddenly from around the corner.

Through the various characters that the author introduces to us, she also points out many issues and situations that prevail in the society – which are not necessarily good but rather, inhumane and evil.

Natasha seems like the perfect career-woman who has it all – she is successful and single and happy. However, after the mass murder as the police delve into the lives of all these people, we find murky realities behind them all. Natasha’s past throws light on abuse in a relationship – physical, mental and also sexual. The patriarchal expectations and such, set upon her by Aneesh were also disgusting. Moreover, the embezzling of her personal funds further degrade the personality of Aneesh and forms himself as the lowest of the scum.  

Alam is no better than Aneesh. Sexual harassment, rape and molestation also occurs within the home itself and the author has brought in this through the back story of Alam. How someone can abuse the women and children within their own family is stupefying to believe really.

 Mental health is another theme that the writer brings in through Sujata and her needs. Vikram has a creative streak in him that really helps and adds some joy and lightness to this otherwise heavy read.

Again, the story of a father whose daughter has been raped and then murdered is a cruel one and we see an old yet probably determined Praveen Bharadwaj. Then again, the realization of parents that their kids are not really kids anymore and have a secret and private life of their own is a bit heartbreaking.

The flesh trade or rather, prostitution is the oldest job in the world and we see the fate of a pair of brother and sister as it takes over their lives and they let it – because there is no other way in which they can possibly otherwise make enough money.

It is a heartbreaking novel for sure; as we read through and find out more about all the people murdered in the mass murder at Mehboob Café, we see different phases of life that different people face.

I love how the author has brought in so many aspects of society through all these different people and then tied them together in unity in a story of madness and rage and revenge. I did not at all expect the murderer to be who he was. Not even for a moment did I think that it could have been him. Kudos to the author for being able to keep the identity of the murderer under wraps, until the very end when she reveals it amidst one last drink all the police men have.  The characterization of the city Mumbai is also on point. With a simple and lucid writing style, and that dramatic ending, I think the book was awesome.

Verdict:

I rate this book a 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it and I hope to pick up more of the author’s books.  

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer, by Ryan Suvaal, 2019

Title: Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer

Author: Ryan Suvaal

Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Thriller/Psychological/novella

Format: E-Book

Language: English

No. of pages: 23

Recommended for: All psychological thriller buffs can go for this short novella.

Synopsis:

Seventeen gruesome killings across the United States, within a span of six months and there is one clear connection among victims. They were all writers. 
While media is decorating the murders with sensationalist stories, and law enforcement is playing catch-up, the homicidal maniac remains elusive and secretive. 
Things get very interesting, when one day she decides to appear on an internet talk show for an honest fireside chat. 

My review:

For such a short psychological thriller, this book was surely a page-turner. Despite its short length it is amazingly fantastic.

The idea that the author has taken up, is in itself very intriguing – for a person to turn a killer because of reading book which lacks the proper grammar! This idea itself of a ‘Grammar Nazi’ being a serial killer is enough to make you take a second look at the book.

What is also great is that this book seems like an aftermath of the killings, when the killer reveals what she does and why she does it. In this way, she too reveals information of the host of the show – which mind you, no one has been able to do so. In one way you cannot help but admire the acumen of this infamous lady killer. She is precise and definitely knows what she is doing – she knows her abilities and uses them to the full of her capability. The author has really carved out a character who seems very real – almost ass if she is one among us. The book reads smoothly as well. It genuinely feels like you’re listening to this show and not merely reading this in a book.


The pacing was kept on-point and the author has done a great job with this seemingly short read. The research shows through. The subtle imagery was also on point! With an amazing surprise at the end, this book comes like a punch, one that you can completely read through easily, under an hour. And a shout out to the author for the blatant message – readers absolutely do not enjoy reading books which have a ton of grammatical errors!

Verdict:

I really enjoyed reading this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars. Definitely recommend it to all crime buffs!

About the author:

Ryan Suvaal is passionate about writing page-turner psychological thrillers. His favorite hangout is a coffee shop where he guzzles in tonnes of caffeine and weaves characters pumped up with deadly intentions and worlds full of thrill, suspense, and gore.
“Fireside Chat with a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer” is one of the first in a series of Psychological thrillers which he has penned down during past few months, which will now be sequentially released on Amazon.

“A deep-rooted question always keeps broiling inside of me. This question is whether I am writing the story or the story is forcing me to write it? Am I the actor and story is the art, or story is the actor and I am the medium?”

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

The Stalker, by Sandeep Sharma, 2019

Title: The Stalker

Author: Sandeep Sharma

Publisher:  Redgrab Books & Anybook

Genre: Mystery

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 135

Recommended for: 16+

Synopsis:

Randhir Kamat, a name famous for his regular mentions on page 3, was being stalked on social media by a girl named Deepali. He took it casually and enjoyed the attention from media but soon things went on to become ugly when his girlfriend, Rupali, started receiving death threats. 
Keeping everything on stake, Randhir chose to involve the police to catch the Stalker. Inspector Suraj, started digging in and soon found that ‘Here everyone’s a liar’. 
Whom to trust? 
Whom to blame? 
There were no answers, just one question. 
How far will you go for the sake of your dream?

My review:

  1. A psychological thriller that is full of various twists and turns.
  2. A short and engaging read.
  3. Can be finished in one sitting.
  4. Fast paced and quite a page-turner.
  5. The language is simple.
  6. However it needs work – there are a few grammatical mistakes.
  7. Editing can also be done on this book.
  8. It is also a typical movie-like story – and reads as such.
  9. The inclusion of modern entertainment media like web-series etc. makes it relatable.
  10. I haven’t seen the stalker concept in contemporary Indian works yet and this was a great surprise.
  11. The themes of power, popularity, jealousy, success, etc. are all well explored and well-portrayed.
  12. Rupali, Deepali, Randhir, Devendra, Inspector Suraj etc. were all multi-faceted with great depth, thus making them quite the round characters.
  13. Overall, it was a fast-paced read and was enjoyable.

Verdict:

It was an okay read. I rate it a 3/5 stars.

About the author:

Sandeep Sharma is an Amazon bestselling author of The Coin. He has also written Let the Game begin, Hey Dad! Meet my mom and Just a few lies that sold around 10000 copies collectively.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Evil Under the Sun, by Agatha Christie, 1941

Title: Evil Under the Sun

Author: Agatha Christie

Publisher: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins

Genre: Mystery

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 320

Recommended for: All ages

Synopsis:

Set at the Jolly Roger, a posh vacation resort for the rich and famous on the southern coast of England, Evil Under the Sun is one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing mysteries. When a gorgeous young bride is brutally strangled to death on the beach, only Hercule Poirot can sift through the secrets that shroud each of the guests and unravel the macabre mystery at this playground by the sea. 

My review:

Any Agatha Christie book, is a treasure for me – I am biased, yes – and especially when it is a Hercule Poirot mystery. I simply adore this amazing Belgian gentleman with his twirling moustache.

I also read this book as a part of the #readyoshelf reading challenge hosted by my dear friend Gayatri (@per_fictionist).

Now having read And Then There Were None, I found the greatest similarity in the setting of the story in an island, but with much more complications. Christies never fails to provide great depth to all of the characters/suspects and just when you think you have figured it out, out comes another unexpected twists that puts the reader’s careful calculation to disarray. Just like every other time I read an Agatha Christie novel, I tried to figure out who the culprit is – even came to a conclusion. But was I right? Nope, never have and I doubt I ever will be when it comes to the Queen on crime mysteries.

There were quite a few modern elements that I saw in this book – the drug syndicate being the major one. Poirot’s mind is truly a jewel and I sometimes wonder what would happen if I placed him and Sherlock Holmes in a room together, locked. Wouldn’t it be absolute fun to see?

Aa usual, there is a murder here, that of the beautiful Arlena Stuart. However, what is significant is that apart from the actual crime etc., Christie always manages to layer manifold stratums of human behaviour and psychology within the plot, the characters and the entire narrative. And that is what perhaps keeps readers hooked on to her book even today.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars.

About the author:

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of two of the most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre. 

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

My Love is Away From Mortality, Vansh Arora, 2018

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Publishers: Kalamos Literary Services
Synopsis:
What will you do if the love you nurtured with utmost care walks into the territory of evilness?
TheManav, an atypical sleepyhead cares about nothing but his sleep. Life is good for him as long as he is in the premises of his bedroom.
Aditi, a pro-level pessimist boasts her proficiency in envisioning worst possible consequences of every situation.
After bumping in to each other, the course on which their life was previously treading begins to witness a complete transformation. The tender age pushes them to believe what they shared was more than a mere comradeship. They try to repel the feeling at first, but it intensifies to such an extent that both of them end up getting swallowed by it.
However, they must keep an out for the lurking danger as there is a person who is on the quest to bereave them of something which will certainly put their and whole world’s fate in jeopardy.
How will their destiny unfold?
My Review:
The plot was pretty well prepared by the author even though I felt that it was being unnecessarily dragged at some points. The themes of friendship, love and other emotions such as apathy, anger, faith etc., showcased the humane factor and made the story more relatable as well as the characters themselves. The little snippets of the horror story also lent quite the mystery to the whole book, and I think we will only know more about the entire story in the sequel. The twist at the end was something I did not expect at all!
The characters were somehow very likable to me. To be truthful, I wasn’t entirely fond of either Manav or Aditi as I am completely opposite to what they are, but then as the story slowly progressed, I did start to accept them as human beings and like them too. The other characters were also complex in their own ways, especially Kusha. Without revealing much, I shall just say that you’re in for a ride! The blurb was also a plus point as it attracted me for sure. And that’s why I decided to give it a chance.
My verdict:
I rate this story a 3/5 stars and look forward to the sequel.