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Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I was looking for an interesting read, starting off and discarding books in between left, right and left. And then I wondered if my interest was in one of the authors that I have already read and yayy, the answer was Gillian Flynn. Though the time I had read Gone Girl, I had flashbacks of the coming scenes of the book seeming like I had already read/ seen it. I had neither. And thus, I decided my mind is more attuned to psycho-thrillers and to Gillian Flynn specifically.

Dark Places, yet another psycho-thriller masterpiece by Gillian, is a notch above Gone Girl, by all standards, especially with respect to the ending. My thoughts exactly. A family murdered gruesomely overnight, and culprit one of the family itself, jailed for years and years and the other surviving sibling crazy in her own way. The reading was scary, tempo change at just the right places and a book, I completed in two days flat. Perfect no? Now you know my recipe of completing so many books, which is, read a book in the genre that you like and just keep on reading the same till you are bored or cannot hold of another good book in the same genre.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book:

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.

Don’t be discouraged – every relationship you have is a failure, until you find the right one.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

About the author:
Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her work has been published in forty-one languages.

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Website: gillian-flynn.com
Twitter: @TheGillianFlynn

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Thriller
Book Name: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Pages: 370
Publication Year: 2009

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson

Have you read a book where at so many points you think that now this is going to be a climax? But then you check bottom left corner of your Kindle and notice that oh, there are so many pages still remaining (of course, this would not happen with physical book) and sometimes you are left with an expression like – what what what, 50% of the book is still left!! Ok not necessarily everyone will accede to my point, but this was my feeling while reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

The book is a good whodunnit with respect to the basic story-line, but the detailing in it bored me to such an extent that I was skipping lines (my college-mate told me that he skipped pages). Add to it the fact that I hate slow books in general and especially in a whodunnit, I want things to keep on happening, here I mean, “relevant” things. Till almost 50% of the book, the two main protagonists do not even interact with each other and it felt like reading two separate stories without any conjoin and this was my biggest problem. So many parts of the book could have been removed and it seemed that this would have hardly made any difference. Without giving any spoilers away, I felt there were a few points which were left unattended like Armansky thinking Salander to be a perfect victim, but perhaps this has to do with the continuance and reveal which will happen in the next books of this series.

So what do you think – should I continue to read the next book in this series – The Girl Who Played With Fire or simply jump to watch the movie based on this series?

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue.

A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

About the author:
Stieg Larsson (born as Karl Stig-Erland Larsson) was a Swedish journalist and writer who passed away in 2004.

As a journalist and editor of the magazine Expo , Larsson was active in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organisations. When he died at the age of 50, Larsson left three unpublished thrillers and unfinished manuscripts for more. The first three books (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) have since been printed as the Millenium series. These books are all bestsellers in Sweden and in several other countries, including the United States and Canada.

Website (not in English)stieglarsson.se

Rating: 5/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(Millennium #1)
Author: Stieg Larsson
Pages: 465
Publication Year: 2005

Book Review: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

My blog now has a fair share of psycho-thrillers this past year: Gone GirlThe Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train (click on the hyperlinks to check my review of these books).

Written in similar style as Gone Girl (diary entries of past) and The Girl on the Train (back and forth of timeline), Sometimes I Lie will interest those who love psycho-thrillers with back-to-back twists. At time when you will think ab bas ho gaya (now the story ahead should be plain vanilla), a new twist will occur. No no, do not worry, I am not giving any spoilers away, just telling you to expect the unexpected like the famous Gone Girl. But somehow you know what happened while I was reading the book and drawing so many parallels between this and its predecessors (and that too not consciously every single time), I felt it as a drag. Perhaps, I was reading too much in-between lines to guess which was truth and which was a lie and again perhaps, if I would have taken a break of 6 months between two psycho-thrillers, I would have better appreciated the same.

However, this being a debut book, the book is written in the way thrillers are supposed to be written. I am sure you would not have guessed the end since most murder mysteries make the husband the culprit. Well, he may or may not be in this book 😉 So, check the book blurb below and if you find it interesting (I did find it good enough), do go ahead and start reading it. Next on my radar is yet another psycho-thriller The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, but I will take at least a month long break now 🙂

Few of my favorite lines from the book (and these were just at the start of the book, later I got so engrossed and at others so bored that I forgot highlighting them in kindle so that it is available for ready reference in my goodreads profile):

A lot of people would think I have a dream job, but nightmares are dreams too.

I can play all the parts life has cast me in, I know all my lines; I’ve been rehearsing for a very long time.

People are not mirrors—they don’t see you how you see yourself.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

 

About the author:
Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 16 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer. She has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her dog – a giant black Labrador who is scared of feathers. Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world. It is soon to be a TV series.

Website: alicefeeney.com
Twitter: @alicewriterland
Facebook: @AliceFeeneyAuthor

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Thriller
Book Name: Sometimes I Lie
Author: Alice Feeney
Pages: 387
Publication Year: 2017

Book Review: Nutshell by Ian McEwan

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Nutshell by Ian McEwan

August has been the month of thrillers for me and I guess the month where I have read the maximum number of books as well. Do not go by the count of book reviews posted on this blog since at times, I miss writing reviews the month I have read or write reviews of too many books at once (like the time in Dec 2017 when I wrote review of I guess 20+ Agatha Christie books read over last 3 months). And when I say thrillers, it is not only by the same author; that would have been an easy pick and I have plenty of time to scroll through book blurbs and recommendation posts now.

Even though Ian McEwan is more famously known for Atonement, while browsing through various books of his, Nutshell is the one that sparked more curiosity in me. By the way, this is my first McEwan. Reading the book, the non-fiction style of writing got to me at the start (if you are my blog follower, you would know that I only read fiction) but the way the book is written commenting on everything the foetus (yes, you read it correct) hears through his (or hers, the sex is not revealed) mom or surroundings, was a real piece of writing I have not read in a long long time. Haven’t we as Indians heard of the story of Mahabharata’s Abhimanyu who learnt the art of breaking into the Chakravyuha when he was in Subhadra’s womb? The same tale is extended but in a different fashion. A murder is planned and the only witness is the foetus. The entire book is narrated by the foetus itself who gets affected by the emotions of his mother and at times, his father as well.

In conclusion, I will say you need to read this book if you are looking for something serious and are not easily affected by what you read/ see.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

About the author:
Ian Russell McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in their list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture”. Many of his books have been translated into movies.

McEwan’s works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time; and Germany’s Shakespeare Prize in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). He was awarded a CBE in 2000. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Saturday and his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the 2008 British Book Awards where McEwan was also named Reader’s Digest Author of the Year.

Website: ianmcewan.com
Facebook: @IanMcEwanAuthor

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Mystery
Book Name: Nutshell
Author: Ian McEwan
Pages: 208
Publication Year: 2016

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

For years, I was scared to pick up Gone Girl, the famous psycho-thriller though I had read The Woman in the Window (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read a few months back) and The Girl on the Train (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read more than a year back). However, this time, I planned to skip my fears and give it the much awaited time it needs (for I have plenty of time these days ignoring the amount of effort it takes to raise a baby).

Have you read a book and felt deja vu? Not in the sense that you have read the book previously but that you have seen it or more like, you can predict the exact scene of what is to happen next. If you are wondering that perhaps I may have watched the movie, then no, I have not. I just watched the trailer of Gone Girl (2014) just before starting to write this review and it did not look at all similar to the scenes I saw in my mind as flashback while reading the book. In fact I googled to find out if there was any other adaptation of the book, but unfortunately, I could not find anything. If you do know any such movie or TV episode, please do let me know in the comments below, for I am stunned to think that I can also write psycho-thriller and if my mind works like the Amazing Amy! Just kidding…

So enough about me and my book finickiness, coming to the book, I simply loved it – the rise and fall of tempo, the two perspectives, the back and forth of timeline and the amazing skills of diary writing of Amy (hey, I am not giving anything away but I think I too can write such now). And the book makes me want to say that love is such a questionable entanglement! The book is definitely better than the other two psycho-thrillers I have read and if you are in love of such genre, you MUST pick this book.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book:

Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.

Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely, give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

About the author:
Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her work has been published in forty-one languages.

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Website: gillian-flynn.com
Twitter: @TheGillianFlynn

Facebook: @authorgillianflynn

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Thriller
Book Name: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Pages: 415
Publication Year: 2012

Book Review: Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

Genre: Crime Thriller
Book Name: Kalayug
Author: Anurag Tripathi
Pages: 268
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Who is the hunter? And who exactly is the hunted? This book Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi seeks to track when exactly the hunter becomes the hunted.

The novel captures the essence of the genre very well by rhyming into the current psyche of Indian readers (most made famous by Ravi Subramanian). Here, by genre, I am referring to the fiction on the banking industry. The story is based on the art industry, where interestingly the investment banker (IB) is able to find the loophole of unregulated industry, just like the refinancing of mortgage industry, which in the end collapsed because of too much greed.

The cover pic of the book will entice you to pick it up – glitter glossy starry world, more unbecoming in the darkness of night where the real traits of the person comes to the fore. With the book detailing on history, nuances and close knit circle of the art industry, you just cannot say no to this one!

And it’s one thriller which ended on an unexpected note, unlike the typical Indian fiction novels. So buckle up your belts and get ready to embark on an interesting art + IB journey.

Book blurb:
When Jay Malhotra sets out on an adventure to manipulate the unregulated art market of the Navaratnas, he unknowingly sets into motion a chain of events that have the potential to destroy the very foundation of the art industry in India.

Set against the backdrop of the transformation of the art society in India into an industry, Kalayug follows the struggles and exploits of Jay Malhotra as he navigates through the mercurial world of art, dominated by its nexus of powerful dealers, experts and gallery owners. With a 360 -degree overview of this now-booming industry, Kalayug is a fast-paced thriller that will leave you asking for more.

About the author:
Anurag Tripathi is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business with a course in Advanced Creative Writing from The University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education. An erstwhile investment banker, his deal-making pursuits and entrepreneurial ventures have given him key insights into the working of corporate business houses. He lives in Paris along with his wife. Both are avid divers, who like travelling and exploring the world lesser known.

Twitter: @Authoranuragtri
Website: www.anuragtripathi.in

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Sidney Sheldon’s Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Book Name: Angel of the Dark
Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Pages: 389
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins

A Sidney Sheldon book after long, or not? Written by Tilly Bagshawe on the basis of notes left by him, the book is an intriguing tale of suspense and murders committed by a serial killer. Even though some gave this book rave reviews, there are various gaps which a Sidney Sheldon-book usually does not have. No doubt the storyline is typical Sheldon style. However, I personally found the book lacking in several aspects – story, cast, and layout, but how much that’s for you to decide. And if you figure out or find an interview by Ms. Bagshawe where finally she discloses the conclusion, please do let me know!

*spoilers ahead, especially the end; my conclusion*
According to me, Matt met the same fate like the old rich guys who abandoned their wife and kid.
Reason:
1. The male who died was of age 32, approximately same age as him.
2. The man who died was named as Carlos Hernandes, same as that of the old guard who had helped Lisa escape. And Matt had needed new identity to escape detection from his family.
3. When Matt recuperated from rehabilitation center, it was the remaking of him. Probably, before he would have been incapable of leaving his wife but now he could have done anything when it came to Sofia.

Or, simply the author missed out mentioning the correct age of Carlos Hernandes. This has led to the misunderstanding since Henry was an old guard who was already head over heels. It’s said in the book that like Matt, he would have never forgotten her and Sofia killed him removing the last link from real world.

In both the above conclusions, Sofia was guilty after all – the “Angel of Death”, the characteristics already scattered in the book. For example, Frankie had asked Sofia to slaughter the fourth guy when he himself could have done it very comfortably. It gave a glimpse that probably Sofia derived pleasure in doing this since it was an instigator in Frankie, her husband who always avoided closeness with her. She, in a different instance, uses the word “I” (“I wasn’t aroused”) in courtroom clearly showing there was no MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) in her case.

There are several other loopholes as well, but let’s end my review here only!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
An elusive and shadowy killer is on the prowl, code named the Angel of Death.

When an elderly multi-millionaire is found brutally murdered in Hollywood, and his young wife raped and beaten, the police assume the motive is robbery. Unable to find the perpetrators, the case is soon closed.

A decade later, in different cities around the globe, three almost identical killings take place.In all cases the victim is elderly male, wealthy, and newly married. Again his wife is found severely injured at the scene.

At first it is thought they might be copycat killings but it soon becomes clear that this is one deadly female killer. Code named the Angel of Death by the police, is she avenging some long-forgotten misdeed, or does she have other motives? Who will be her next victim, and how can the Angel of Death be prevented from striking again?

About the author:
Tilly Bagshawe is the international bestselling author of nine novels. As a journalist, Tilly contributed regularly to the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Evening Standard before turning her hand to novels. Tilly’s first book, Adored, was a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic and she hasn’t looked back since. She divides their time between their homes in Kensington and Los Angeles and their beach house on Nantucket Island.

Rating: 7/10

Book Journey: Kill the Messenger

Kill the Messenger

Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Book Name: Kill the Messenger
Author: Tami Hoag
Pages: 528
Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: Bantam Books

Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag is a fast-paced story gripping you into its many characters – the messenger boy, the detective, the victim (murdered), the victim (attacked) and the killer (question mark). The messenger boy trying hard to get to the bottom of things of why he is wanted as a suspect for a murder, why the goons are chasing him and who can be the main culprit. The plot thickens, and the various characters and stories cross each other’s path. And there’s not going to be a single moment where you will want to keep the book aside to take a break.

A suspense thriller and a riveting one at that, marvelously written with all the kicks of a roller coaster ride, and you can’t guess what can be the trigger for the kill in the first place. The tension of the drama juxtaposed with innocence of a few characters will keep you agape at the end of the tale.

Score: 8/10

Book Journey: Sight Unseen

SightUnseen

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Book Name: Sight Unseen
Author: Robert Goddard
Pages: 448
Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Corgi

Do you like crime and a moderate amount of suspense? Then you may like this book Sight Unseen. Now think of a re-visit to a too intensive history classes. Would you want that? Not many would prefer. And that’s the miss in this book by Robert Goddard.

Kidnapping a child, murder of another, suicides discovered to be murders years later, more suicides and so on. This book has all the intensity to keep you gripping with the intelligence of a historian thrown in the picture. However, the story turns unrealistic when a person who has been ages away from history suddenly results into cracking the biggest sensation and mystery of identity for a famous pen writer. But hey, the book is a work of fiction and it still is good. Buy this book, turn the pages, and take a guess who can be behind all this sadness for this doomed family. Then tell me, if you were right on target.

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