Posted in All Book Reviews, Thrillers

Book Review: The Whisper Man (By Alex North)

The Whisper Man by Alex North had been on my TBR pile for a while. It seemed like the perfect thriller – a small town with a dark past, a broken but loving family taking a chance on a new beginning, and a new case that brings both together.

But did it meet expectations, or did The Whisper Man fall short? Read on to know.

Genre: 

Thriller

Length: 

355 pages

Blurb:

After his wife’s sudden death, Tom Kennedy moves to the small town of Featherbank with the hope that it would give him and his son, Jake, a chance to fix their otherwise distant relationship. But Featherbank has a troubled history – it was the home and hunting ground of “The Whisper Man”, a name given to Frank Carter who lured young boys out of their homes by whispering at their window, before torturing and murdering them. Detective Pete Willis had caught Carter twenty years ago, ending his reign of terror after he’d claimed five victims. Now, twenty years later, another young boy has disappeared in similar circumstances, and young Detective Amanda Beck needs Pete’s help. Because “The Whisper Man” will only speak to the man who captured him and may finally talk about the suspicion that he had worked with an accomplice. But while Willis tries to overcome the emotional strain of his own personal past and that Carter’s visits place on him, while Beck tries to find the missing boy before it becomes too late, and while Tom attempts to settle into the new town, young Jake begins acting strangely. And soon… he begins to hear a whisper at his window.

Overall Rating:

10 out of 10

Plot:

9 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

10 out of 10

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The perfect combination of thrill, mystery, and emotion, The Whisper Man will leave you thinking about its characters (and looking over your shoulder) long after you’ve turned the last page.

What I Liked:

The Whisper Man is scary. It creeps you out, gets under your skin, and leaves you feeling unsettled – which makes it a brilliant ‘thriller’. Then there’s the characterization – you don’t just read about people and their circumstances and reactions; you go right to their essence. What makes them flawed, what leaves them struggling, and where do they find their strength – Alex North does a great job of making his characters as real as possible. And that ease of association will leave you shocked, smiling, and tearing up at various points as the characters’ stories unfold.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was very little to dislike in The Whisper Man.

Who Should Read It:

If you love thrillers, especially the kind that leaves you slightly jumpy at every small unexplained noise, then you will love this book. It is so much more than just the mystery though and, somehow, all of it comes together.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like violent crime, I would recommend avoiding The Whisper Man. It isn’t too graphic or violent, but there are some shocking scenes that can be disturbing.

Read It For:

Although the creepy-factor was strong in this one, I would say that The Whisper Man should be read for its emotional impact. The intricacies, struggles, and joys of relationships – especially that between father and son – are beautifully shown and will stay with you for a long time.

I haven’t read any of Alex North’s other works, but I definitely plan to. After The Whisper Man, I can easily place him among the best thriller authors I’ve read, and I’m hoping that his finesse and craft is maintained in his other books. In the meanwhile though, I did read another book that had long been on my TBR pile. So coming up next – a review of The One by John Marrs.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Thrillers

Book Review: Broken Heart (By Tim Weaver)

Continuing with the David Raker series by Tim Weaver, we’re talking about Broken Heart this time. Read on to know if this book fails in comparison to its prequels or if Tim Weaver can keep the momentum going.

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

451 pages

Blurb:

Security footage from one of the headlands overlooking the Devon coast shows a woman enter in the morning. Her car is found in the parking lot days later. The woman is not seen or recorded leaving from the only entrance and feasible path in and out of the area, and yet she’s never found again. Months later, David Raker is hired by her sister, who lives halfway across the world, to find out what happened to her, if she’s even alive, and where she may be. What led the woman, widowed from a reclusive film director, to disappear… and how exactly did she disappear? An already complicated case gets even more so as Raker digs deeper and decades-old secrets begin to emerge. Someone has kept these secrets hidden until now and, as David starts to discover, no cost seems too high to keep them buried. Raker finds himself caught in an intrinsic and dangerous web. And yet, that may not be the cause of Raker’s destruction. Because the demons and memories of his past are slowly catching up.

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

10 out of 10

Primary Element:

7 out of 10 for its mystery, 9 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

9 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book #7 in the David Raker series. It can, to some extent, be read as a standalone. But the development of David’s character is best read in order, starting at at least Book #4 – Never Coming Back.

Highlighted Takeaway:

Tim Weaver is the master of ‘skeletons in the closet’ tales – and his talent in bringing these to life is undeniably evident in Broken Heart.

What I Liked:

The creepy factor – the narrative in many parts of Broken Heart leaves you feeling unsettled, and with the feeling that someone is around you but just out of sight, providing the perfect ‘thrill’. Another aspect that’s really enjoyable is the depth of information (narrated entertainingly) about the movie industry and its evolution (from technical and cultural aspects). Both these elements manage to pull you in and keep you turning the pages.

What I Didn’t Like:

I did feel like the book could have been a few pages shorter, that some chapters were lengthened without cause. But it didn’t really take too much away from the momentum of the story.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who loves thrillers and mysteries will enjoy Broken Heart, and the entire David Raker series.

Who Should Avoid:

There are a few graphic parts that do make your stomach turn. So if you’re easily put off by violence, I’d recommend avoiding this one.

Read It For:

Unsurprisingly, David Raker. Without giving too much away, I will say that his character development is becoming interesting and even unexpected. But it leaves you wanting to know that much more about what happens next!

Love the David Raker series? Or have recommendations for similar works? Drop a comment below. And as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my book review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews, Crime fiction, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: Every Last Fear (By Alex Finlay)

Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay sounded like the perfect book that brought together mystery, thriller, and true-crime documentaries (especially around wrongful convictions). It took me around four days to read the book – which is quite long at 368 pages – because it definitely manages to hold the reader’s interest (and I had a long weekend!). So what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s unputdownable about it? Read on to know.

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

368 pages

Blurb:

Seven years ago, Matt Pine’s elder brother, Danny, had been convicted of the murder of his teenaged girlfriend. Danny swore innocence. His parents and younger sister stood by him and so did the rest of the country as they followed the case – portrayed as one of wrongful conviction – in a viral true-crime documentary. Matt didn’t know what to believe because he saw something the night that made him suspect his brother’s guilt. Now a student at NYU, Matt is trying to pick up the pieces of the life left in the aftermath of the documentary that villainized the town, forced his family out of the city, and drove a wedge between him and his father who had centered his life around proving Danny’s innocence. Until he wakes up after a night of partying to learn that most of his family – his parents, younger sister, and kid brother – were dead, killed in an accidental gas leak when taking a rare holiday in Mexico. Numb and shocked, Matt is forced to face the past as he attempts to bring his family’s bodies back home and give them a proper funeral. But as suspicions surrounding his family’s death arise, the past and present crash… and Matt is left fighting for his own life and facing hidden fears. When the truth behind his family’s deaths, his brother’s conviction, and behind what he saw that night finally surfaces, will Matt, Danny, and the Pine family receive their redemption… or will it destroy them and their memories forever?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery, 6 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

No. (Could be in the future given that one of the main characters has a lot of potential to become a leading protagonist in their own series.)

Highlighted Takeaway:

Emotional, Insightful, and a Page-turner Every Last Fear successfully maintains the mystery and keeps the reader guessing.

What I Liked:

If you’ve read enough mysteries and thrillers, you learn to pick up on the subtle clues. But Every Last Fear doesn’t let that happen. It takes a while before you figure out the primary mystery, and the many other smaller ones unfolding alongside. The main characters really shine in all their glory and all their darkness – their flawed but hopeful outlook making them seem very human and very relatable. There also exists an idealistic outlook – the author normalizes choices, expression, and actions that are otherwise only part of ongoing social issue debates. Seeing these matters as a ‘given’ was just… really nice!

What I Didn’t Like:

The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters and over past and present periods, which takes some getting used to. There are also quite a few references to Linkin Park and other pop culture, which was good, but at times came across as a little forced. These issues are easy enough to get over though, and a few chapters in, you can get easily find yourself engrossed.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who likes mysteries and thrillers will enjoy Every Last Fear. You’ll also really enjoy it if you like true-crime shows, especially The Staircase or The Innocent Man.

Who Should Avoid:

If you don’t like violence at all, I would recommend avoiding this one. It’s not got a lot of it, but the amount it has is hard-hitting.

Read It For:

A fast-paced, well-layered mystery that definitely manages to surprise.

One of the things that Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay touches upon is the effect of a true-crime documentary on the persons that the documentary covers. The documentaries that are famous on Netflix and other platforms don’t always show the after-effects of their airing on the people concerned, and this take on the matter, although fictional, was definitely interesting. I found the highlighted issues about the justice system easy to believe and accept as fact because of the many true-crime documentaries that have brought to light similar matters. These are problems that need to change, and it’s interesting to see more work – fictional and non-fictional – being dedicated to their awareness.

Love true-crime documentaries or thrillers? Share your thoughts on your favorites in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review. Coming up next… a review of either The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman or Broken Heart by Tim Weaver.

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Beautifully Chaotic and Oddly Emotional: A Review of Recursion by Blake Crouch

Our lives and we, ourselves, are made of our memories. Does that mean that altering these memories could alter our realities (or the perception of our realities)?

I’d been looking for a good science fiction novel for a long time. I’m a huge fan of Michael Crichton’s work – his books have always had an incredible mix of science fiction and psychological outlook, making for great stories with great characterization. Obscura by Joe Hart was the last ‘really good’ science fiction novel that I’d read (review here). And Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter has been on my list for a while. Before I could read that though, I heard about Recursion, added it to my TBR pile, and managed to get my hands on a copy.

Needless to say, I had high expectations. Read on to know if they were met.

Genre: 

Science fiction

Length: 

329 pages

Blurb:

NYC Cop, Barry Sutton, can do nothing but watch as a woman kills herself – driven mad by painfully vivid memories of a life she hasn’t lived. Sutton is a functioning alcoholic, unable to come to terms with the hit-and-run that killed his teenage daughter eleven years ago and his subsequent divorce. But he’s a good cop, which is why he cannot let the suicide go. Just another in a mounting number of cases of FMS – False Memory Syndrome – it leaves Sutton searching for a truth and opening the doors to a world he didn’t know existed.

Brilliant neuroscientist, Helena Smith, knows the importance of memories. And she wants to create the technology that will help people preserve their most precious ones, so that they can live them again in vivid detail. Driven by the desire to save her mother’s memories before Alzheimer’s claims them all, she cannot refuse an incredible opportunity that promises her everything she needs to achieve her goal.

The paths they set down on bring them together – and against a terrifying force… born from the greed of wealth and fame. Can Barry and Helena defeat this invisible enemy, or will reality as they – and everyone else – know it, change forever in catastrophic ways?

Overall Rating:

9 out of 10

Plot:

9 out of 10

Characterization:

7 out of 10 (lower than my initial thought of 8 out of 10 because I found some of the character development toward the last one-third of the book a bit hurried and abrupt).

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its fictional science-y element

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series:

No. 

Highlighted Takeaway:

The (surprising) emotional impact that comes in at the (approximate) 60% mark of the story. Without giving away too much, I can only say that Blake Crouch manages to evoke a lot of feelings in the reader for his main characters.

What I Liked:

The tumult that many of the main characters go through and the different conclusions they reach – all of them make you feel like, if such an event were to really take place, these would be the very human and very humane things that most of us will probably do. It added a realistic element to the characters and the story.

What I Didn’t Like:

I found two things a bit off-putting. The first was the writing style. The tense used was a little difficult to get used to. You do get past it, but it takes a while and, until then, I found it keeping me from getting pulled right in from page one (even though the events that kickstart the book are pretty great). The second was the abrupt and sudden character development jump I mentioned above. It was easy to get past it and say, “Okay, this is happening with this person now,” and you even root for the persons involved, but I felt like it could have had a few more pages dedicated to it.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who likes science fiction will probably enjoy Blake Crouch’s Recursion, especially if you like Michael Crichton’s work.

Who Should Avoid:

There are elements of thriller and mystery, and even a dystopian feel to Recursion. But its crux is science fiction and a large part of the book is dedicated to explanations. Plus, its very story is based around popular science fiction themes. So unless you have at least a little bit of interest in science fiction, I would recommend avoiding Recursion.

Read It For:

A few excellent insights about us (as humans) and about living life – with all its ups and downs.

I can happily say that Recursion satisfied my craving for a great sci-fi read. And Blake Crouch is definitely an author to follow if you like the genre.

Share your thoughts on Blake Crouch’s work, Recursion, or anything sci-fi related in the comments below (book recommendations are very welcome!).

Coming up next… no idea! I’ve got a few books I’m looking at including Salvation of a Saint (by Keigo Higashino), Antifragile (by Naseem Nicholas Taleb), Hooked (by Nir Eyal), and Broken Heart (by Tim Weaver). Let’s see which one I end up starting with 😀

As always, thank you for stopping by and reading my two-cents’ worth on another book!

– Rishika

Posted in Being a writer

Insightful, but not Groundbreaking: A Review of Obviously Awesome by April Dunford

As a marketing professional (yep, that’s right; I don’t spend every day only reading and/or writing), I’ve had multiple opportunities to work on product positioning. It is, in fact, one of the things I like most about (and in) marketing. But, there is always something new to learn in any profession. Which is why I picked up April Dunford’s Obviously Awesome. It had some really good stuff and some that was not-so-good. Read on to know what to expect from this book.

Genre: 

Business, Marketing (Non-fiction)

Length: 

202 pages

Blurb:

April Dunford is a positioning expert who has successfully led the activity for numerous B2C and B2B companies. In Obviously Awesome, she talks about the need, details, and challenges of positioning. She also delves into a step-by-step process that she’s put together on how one can go about this activity.

Overall Rating:

6 out of 10

Writing Style:

8 out of 10, for its clarity of thought, and easy-to-follow flow and explanations.

Part of a Series: 

No.

Highlighted Takeaway:

There are a lot of tips, suggestions, and recommendations in Obviously Awesome. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to use its teachings in a “take it all or take nothing” style. While a lot of the information was not new for me, I still found a few interesting points to be new (or differently approached). And the fact that it allows for anyone to do that, I felt, was the highlight of this book.

What I Liked:

April Dunford offers a structured, well-rounded approach not only to the activity of positioning, but also to the importance and need of it. This wasn’t the first time I’ve read about positioning, but I found it highly relatable to tech B2B products, which is something I’ve found missing in other content on the topic.

What I Didn’t Like:

A significant portion of the book (especially the first few chapters) is focused entirely on April Dunford talking about how awesome she is. I get it – no one will read your book on a specific topic unless you establish that your experience has equipped you to be a thought leader on it. But sharing this experience, at some point, turned into April Dunford just boasting about herself. It was quite a turn-off and takes some effort to push beyond it, until you get to the stuff that you can actually learn and apply.

Who Should Read It:

Any (tech) startup CEO working with a small team (whether pitching to investors or launching in the market, Obviously Awesome has some great tips and ideas on how to ensure that your product is best-placed), marketing professionals (digital, strategy, and content-focused; the book has tips that can help the entire function), and anyone who holds an integral position at a startup (positioning is, after all, a team effort).

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone looking for information on marketing for B2C products. It’s not that April Dunford’s tips won’t work, but it will take a lot of adapting. It would be better for someone interested in B2C positioning to turn to the works of another marketing expert, because April Dunford focuses almost exclusively on B2B.

Read It For:

A fresh understanding of positioning and how you can go about it (and why you should) if it’s a new concept to you, and a refresher (with some interesting tips) if you’re already in the marketing function.

This is one of the few business books I’ve started and actually finished. Possibly because it was lighter, less jargon-y, and shorter than those I’ve picked up before. (And because it focuses directly on one of the topics I like.) But if you’re hesitant to pick up Obviously Awesome because you’ve struggled to get through other business books, I will highlight that you probably won’t run into that problem. And if you’re attempting to broaden your interests and are looking at business books, this is an interesting one to start with.

Coming up next – a review of Beren and Lúthien by J.R.R. Tolkien.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review! 🙂

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Falls Just Short of its Prequels: A Review of The Calling of the Grave by Simon Beckett

A reeeaaally long time after reading Whispers of the Dead, I picked up the next book in the David Hunter series. I’ve always found a lot of similarities in the characters of David Hunter by Simon Beckett and David Raker by Tim Weaver. They are in different professions, but their drive, the fact that they’ve lost loved ones, and the settings of their stories do have similarities. But, with each passing book, you do begin to see them as two very different people, each one’s story with its own interesting elements.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the review of David Hunter Book 4 – The Calling of the Grave.

Genre: 

Thriller

Length: 

327 pages

Blurb:

The body on the moor was most definitely one of the victims of Jerome Monk, a monster convicted of four rape and murders two years prior. Three of the victims had never been found – until now. When the third victim’s body turns up, the search for the remaining two heats up. But nothing goes as planned and Monk is left to rot in prison, the search going cold. That was eight years ago.

Now, Monk has escaped from prison and seems to be targeting those involved in the search all those years ago. Forensics expert, David Hunter, had been part of the original, unsuccessful search. And when an old acquaintance calls and asks for help, he returns in spite of the bad memories. But what awaits him is more twisted than he could have ever imagined. Will Monk be captured before he wreaks havoc, or will he succeed in his revenge?

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

9 out of 10

Characterization:

9 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 for its mystery, 7 for its thrill

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is Book 4 in the David Hunter series by Simon Beckett. It can be read as a standalone, but it does have some significant references to the previous books and is best read in order.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The setting. Beckett always sets his Hunter novels in places that add a high ‘creepy’ factor. His narrative style pulls you right in, transporting you to the settings, and makes everything that much more believable.

What I Liked:

The twists that kept coming. You definitely don’t expect most of them, and they unfold in a way that leaves you feeling incredibly satisfied with the way the book ends (albeit a bit disturbed with the lengths people could go to).

What I Didn’t Like:

There’s nothing specific to dislike in The Calling of the Grave. But, it was definitely not at par with his previous books, being really good, but just not great. One thing obviously missing was the detailed forensics – there is some information and procedure, but nothing close to his previous works.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys thrillers with dark, brooding settings, well-woven story-lines, and well developed character arcs. However, I would recommend starting at Book 1 in the David Hunter series. You can check out my review of that one (The Chemistry of Death) here, Book 2 (Written in Bone) here, and Book 3 (Whispers of the Dead) here.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who doesn’t enjoy reading about forensics. With bugs, maggots, decomp discussions and more, the David Hunter series can be too graphic for some.

Read It For:

Getting a detailed look into the terrible experience that made David Hunter into the person he is introduced as in the beginning of the series, and an intriguing, perfectly-set crime thriller.

Got something to share about David Hunter, Simon Beckett, crime thrillers, or books in general? Drop us a comment below!

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my review! Coming up next – something a little different – a review of Obviously Awesome, the book on product positioning by April Dunford. 🙂

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Better to avoid: A review of No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan

A big thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book. I thought the blurb was really interesting and I tried really hard to like the book. But at the end of it, No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan was just a disappointing read.

I’m taking a slightly different approach in this review, primarily because I found it a bit difficult to get through the story. I didn’t want to close it as a DNF, so I’m just going to summarize what I felt after ensuring I completed it.

Genre:

Mystery, Suspense

Length: 

352 pages

Blurb:

Lieutenant John Driscoll begins investigating a series of murders in NYC. The perpetrator is twisted, as evidenced by his actions. But what’s driving him? And will Driscoll win the fight against the evil that the murderer epitomizes?

Overall Rating:

1 out of 10

Plot:

1 out of 10

Characterization:

1 out of 10

Primary Element:

2 out of 10 for its few random plot twists that did end up adding some elements of surprise.

Writing Style:

2 out of 10

Part of a Series:

Yes, it’s the third book in the John Driscoll series but can be read as a standalone.

A little more:

No One Will Hear Your Screams has some great reviews. Unfortunately, it just did not work for me. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Characters were very one dimensional. There was good, there was bad, and there was very little depth to either. Maybe that was because the character of the protagonist, Driscoll, has been developed over the series, maybe not. Either way, there was little in way of development that made you really associate with the characters, consequently leaving you un-invested in anything that happened to them.
  2. Random arcs that went nowhere. I’m not even sure why these plot points were added other than for shock value.
  3. Which brings me to my next point – random shock value. There were some seriously graphic scenes, which could affect even those who’ve read tons of violent suspense. They could have honestly added a whole other layer to the story but didn’t, because they were incredibly haphazardly placed instead of being part of the theme and the antagonist’s MO.
  4. One small, but extremely irritating, point was the constant and childish interaction between two characters that were, until that point, shown to be capable, functioning adults. Put together, they become bickering toddlers. Not only was it uncharacteristic, it was just cringey to read because literally no one behaves like that.
  5. Lastly, the writing, story, and persons were just all over the place. Connections between characters, motives, psyche, and even the past of the characters (which was shown to have some effect on the present) were just explained enough to take the story a step forward without really painting a picture. With nothing being delved into, you just end up reading a series of loosely tied events.

Should you read it?

Writing a book is tough work, which is why I really tried to find something that I liked in No One Will Hear Your Screams. It just didn’t work for me though. I would not personally recommend it to anyone because there are a lot of mystery and suspense novels out there that would probably be a better choice.

Drop a comment below if you’d like to share why you loved or hated No One Will Hear Your Screams by Thomas O’Callaghan. As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!

Until the next read…

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Average Read – Great End: A Review of Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate

Shout out to NetGalley for an ARC of Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate. Reading and reviewing it took longer than expected, but here we are (finally)!

Genre:

Thriller, Mystery

Length: 

302 pages

Blurb:

Paul Czarcik is a veteran of the Illinois Bureau of Judicial Enforcement. He has no shortage of vices, is a loner, and is the Bureau’s best detective. When a seemingly open and shut case of double murder doesn’t sit right with him, he digs deeper… and finds an obscure connection to the gruesome murder of a Texas judge. Before long, Czarcik’s hunch brings him up against a killer who is nothing like any murderer he’s met before… and who is not yet done. When the killer challenges Czarcik, the detective accepts. And sets forth on a game of cat-and-mouse that mocks him at every step and threatens to turn the case into the first one Czarcik can’t win.

Overall Rating:

7 out of 10

Plot:

8 out of 10

Characterization:

6 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its thrill (how will this end??!)

Writing Style:

6 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Maybe, maybe not. As of now, not.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The end – did not see that coming.

What I Liked:

Although the story is pretty linear and as such doesn’t allow for too many twists, the author – Thomas Holgate – manages to get a few in, all of which are fun and relatively unexpected.

What I Didn’t Like:

The characterization was too clichéd. Every character was the textbook version of what it should be, without enough shades of gray (think typical anti-hero with a heart of gold).

Also, there were these random words that pivoted from the general, casual flow of the language. They really pull you out of the story, unfortunately, and I definitely could have done without the abruptness.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys relatively gory thrillers. This has a real ‘how is he going to hurt this one?’ vibe going. Definitely a plus for those who don’t mind some (and occasionally, a lot) bloodshed.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who can’t stand too much violence. Rain Will Come is not for the faint-hearted.

Read It For:

The anti-hero with a heart of gold. Yes, really! It may be clichéd but, for the most part, it works. Would have helped to have Czarcik be just a bit more… empathetic, though.

Rain Will Come releases on 1 April 2020 by Thomas & Mercer. It’s the debut novel of Thomas Holgate who has, as per his NetGalley bio, written television movies, series, and feature films, along with nonfiction books and magazine pieces under a pseudonym.

While the book has its drawbacks, I would definitely read more of Thomas Holgate’s work, especially for its dark themes and theoretically justifiable violence. If you like that kind of stuff, I’d recommend picking up Rain Will Come.

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review. 🙂

– Rishika

 

Posted in All Book Reviews

A Must Read In Spite Of A Few Hiccups: A Review of Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio

Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have to say, this book was a little difficult to review; not because it was a bad book, but because it had so many elements going for it so well and some that did the complete opposite.

All in all, though, it had some really hard-hitting aspects that made it a compelling read. Read on to know why you should definitely read Law and Addiction, and what you could expect in the form of a couple of turn-offs.

Genre:

Legal thriller

Length: 

250 pages

Blurb:

Jake Rutledge is days away from graduating with a law degree when he receives devastating news – his twin brother, Blake, had died of a drug overdose. Until then, Jake had had no idea that his brother even took drugs. Delving into the event, Jake discovers that his once homely town of Oakley, West Virginia, has become (and even casually renamed) a Zombieland. An opioid epidemic has swept the town, which, as Jake discovers, has been carefully orchestrated by America’s big pharmaceutical companies in the greed of greater profits and wealth. Little more than a rookie, Jake decides to take on Big Pharma and turns to Nicholas ‘Deke’ Deketomis, partner at a powerful law firm and no-nonsense lawyer who fights for causes he believes in. But the battle isn’t easy. Betrayal, schemes, and powerful enemies stand at every turn. And just when things really heat up, Jake disappears. Did something happen to him or did he abandon the fight? And where does that leave the case that has been so carefully built?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10

Plot:

9 out of 10

Characterization:

8 out of 10

Primary Element:

8 out of 10 for its thrill

Writing Style:

6 out of 10

Part of a Series:

The story reads as a standalone, but Deke has appeared in Mike Papantonio’s work before – in Law and Disorder and Law and Vengeance.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The facts behind the fiction – I found myself shocked at the sheer extent of the opioid crisis. Some of those numbers seem fantastic but, sadly, are very real. You’ll find yourself thinking about the extent of the devastation and even talking about it often, during and even much after you’re done with the book.

What I Liked:

  • The theme of the book – a real David v/s Goliath story that showcases the goodness and courage of regular people.
  • The technicalities that showcase the schemes behind the epidemic were shared (for the most part) in an easy-to-understand manner, giving you better insight into the problem and its growth.
  • The surprisingly emotional aspects that come at you out of nowhere but leave a resounding impact. These parts manage to really drive home how much loss this problem has caused.

What I Didn’t Like:

The book jumped a lot; it seemed like the story was based around a few pivotal scenarios and the bridge between them wasn’t too elaborate. Consequently, it often felt like you were reading disjointed chapters, where some remained highly technical (to the extent of being theoretical) and others seemed like proper fiction.

Who Should Read It:

I think anyone who enjoys mystery and thrillers, especially those by John Grisham, will enjoy Law and Addiction. 

Who Should Avoid:

No one. Everyone should give Law and Addiction a shot, even if you aren’t too used to the genre of legal thrillers. There are some drawbacks (jumps and over-technicality at points), but everyone should be privy to the statistics, basic premise, and general outlook this book offers; especially in this day and age where almost every single one of us remains at the risk of unwittingly becoming dependent on medical pills or unintentionally ending up addicted.

Read It For:

A reality check on the negative effects of over-reliance on medication. The problem of medical pill addiction is very real and has nothing to do with strength, weakness, social status, economic standing, or even upbringing. This book helps you see it for what it really is.

Two things you absolutely cannot deny is that Mike Papantonio knows his stuff and that he is extremely passionate about the causes he’s fighting for. That, and the way he brings to light difficult realities, is enough reason for me to say that I will definitely be reading more of his work. And you should too.

Share your thoughts on Law and Addiction or other books by Mike Papantonio in the comments below. And, as always, thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Good Potential, Weak Implementation: A Review of Done With Her by Chirasree Bose

A big thanks to the author who reached out and asked me to review her work! I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the debut novella (wouldn’t call it a novel at 73 pages) of techie turned content writer turned creative writer, Chirasree Bose.

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Source: Goodreads

Genre: Romantic thriller

Length: 73 pages

Blurb: Aveesh Mathur is shocked when he lays eyes on Spreeha, the new girl in his office whom everyone is lusting after. He cannot deny that she’s desirable, but she resembles someone from Aveesh’s past, a past he doesn’t want uncovered. Spreeha, who lives near Aveesh, already has a man in her life but is attracted to Aveesh because he resembles someone from her own past. As they are pulled inexplicably toward each other, Aveesh and Spreeha’s actions set off a chain of events that threaten all their relationships, and even their lives.

Overall Rating: 1.5 out of 10

Plot: 4 out of 10

Characterization: 1.5 out of 10

Primary Element: 6 out of 10 for its mystery/suspense

Writing Style: 1 out of 10

Part of a Series: No

Highlighted Takeaway:

The social element that the book touches upon.

What I Liked:

Nothing specific.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The characterization was very weak and the characters lacked depth.
  • Too much abstract prose where it wasn’t required; it didn’t add the depth that may have been the aim.
  • A good basic story, but very weak implementation; it seemed like I was reading a long essay rather than a fleshed out story. And the basic premise did have enough depth for the story to have been more fleshed out.
  • Felt more like a work-in-progress story than an actual, completed book.
  • It also needs a lot of work on the POV; it’s written in the first person and the sudden changes across abrupt chapters made it difficult to follow the character from whose perspective the section was written.

Who Should Read It:

I wouldn’t actively recommend this book until it was further worked upon to flow better, be more complete, and went through a thorough, professional edit.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who likes stories that are complete and rounded, and does not like abrupt chapters strung together.

Read It For:

If at all, then for the social message that’s at the root of the book.

Overall, I think Bose has good vision and creativity. Translating it into a complete book (as all aspiring and existing authors have admitted) is about much more than just having a story idea. A good amount of time and effort investment could take Bose’s vision into a complete book that far surpasses Done With Her.

– Rishika