BOOK REVIEW: CHANAKYA

Book: ChanakyatempImageForSave

Author: Ashok K. Banker

Genre: Historical, Fiction

Published by: Westland Books

Number of pages: 154 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: Writersmelon provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story is termed as “Book 1”, so it is obviously intended to be the first part in a series. Accordingly, the story does not take much time to complete as it is only 154 pages.

Chanakya of course is one of the most well-known figures in Indian history. This first part shows Chanakya or Vishnu Gupta as a seven-year old child prodigy and genius, who when asked by his teacher at the gurukul to memorise the first Paksha of Mandala Seven, memorises the entire Rig Veda instead!

Vishnu Gupta, with his parents and three sisters leave their village Chanak to go to Pataliputra, the capital of the Magadha Empire, as his father has to attend a conference there.

Pataliputra is an extremely sinister place, firmly under the control of the “Maha-amatyaji” Rakshasa, the Prime Minister of the Emperor Mahapadma Nanda. The Prime Minister is involved in and takes a cut out of every illegal activity that takes place in Pataliputra. The Yuvraj Dhana Nanda, is portrayed as an extremely demonic child! Another interesting character that is introduced in the story is Chandra, a young pickpocket, who helps Vishnu Gupta’s family.

Circumstances and fate bring Vishnu Gupta in contact with the Prime Minister and later the Emperor and the Yuvraj. It will remain to be seen how the story will go forward in the sequel.

I highly recommend “Chanakya”, as an extremely interesting story that has left me awaiting the sequel!

BOOK REVIEW: AGNIPUTR

Book: AgniputrtempImageForSave

Author: Vadhan

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Bloomsbury

Number of pages: 354 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: The author Vadhan kindly provided me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

It was extremely difficult to review the book without giving away the story!

The beginning of the story itself is extremely interesting with a necromancer conducting a black magic ritual. There is a mysterious energy in the castle in Gudem, a village in Andhra Pradesh.

This energy and its source is of extreme interest to crooked politicians and government agencies which then involuntarily involves Raghuram Surya, the descendent of the Surya family who owns the castle.

There is a Parch that attacks at night and a benefactor called P. Eshwar who shows up to help Raghu whenever needed. There are a lot of explanations involving quantum physics about the source of the dark energy.

There is a heart-warming romance between Raghu and Sheila Pitambar, the upright scientist who is trying to find answers to the mystery.

The story just races along until there is a confrontation between good and evil. Who or what is the “Agniputr” is one of the many plot twists in the book.

The end of the story, is extremely unexpected and was surely nothing that I anticipated!

I highly recommend “Agniputr”, as an engrossing and intriguing thriller! I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vadhan is a lawyer by training. He also aspires to be a politician and a reformist one day.

BOOK REVIEW: THE SECRET OF THE SCULPTURES

Book: The Secret of the Sculptures tempImageForSave

Author: Monika Thakur

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 236 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story begins with Maitreyi coming home for her vacation. On the flight home, she encounters a mysterious stranger with hypnotic eyes.

Back home, she meets up with her best friend Aditi and accompanies her to an exhibit at the museum where Aditi is interning.

There, Maitreyi and Aditi meet many people like Aditi’s senior Archana Ma’am, Professor Dixit, the seductive Mrs. Shiela and the mysterious stranger from the plane who turns out to be Mr. Seth. The highlight of the exhibit is a rare sculpture of a warrior princess.

The next day when Maitreyi and Aditi return to the museum, the sculpture is stolen and then the action begins. Maitreyi discovers a miniature of the stolen sculpture which turns out to have supernatural powers.

This miniature takes Maitreyi and Aditi on an adventure. Of course the question remains as to whether they are able to recover the stolen sculpture. The reader needs to read the book to find out.

I recommend this book to readers as fairly engaging and interesting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Monika Thakur lives in India and works in the corporate sector. She is a nature lover and enjoys travelling.

BOOK REVIEW: THE DIAMOND CROWN

Book: The Diamond Crown tempImageForSave

Author: VS Rao

Genre: Suspense, Fiction

Published by: Srishti Publishers

Number of pages: 119 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The story has been translated into English from Tamil and is a breezy and fast-paced read.

The story begins with a meeting of villains: the leader Balaram, Parabrahma Rao, Ramjogi, Gajapati and the seductive damsel Kumkum. The plan is simple, they will steal the diamond crown of Dasavatar Baba during his birthday celebrations and substitute it with a fake crown.

The robbery is executed and the police are called in. But the case cannot be solved without the expertise of Detective Tempo.

It is very difficult to review the book without giving away the plot. But there is yet another villain in the picture. Kumkum is not exactly who she seems and it is difficult to guess whose side she is on.

The climax is certainly thrilling as the different characters turn against each other.

I recommend this book to readers as value for money.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: VS Rao is a celebrated Telugu author, playwright, translator and scriptwriter. He passionately highlights women’s issues.

BOOK REVIEW: PI AGENCY

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Author: Neelabh Pratap Singh

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Cosmos Prints

Number of pages: 313 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was kindly provided with a copy of this book by the author Neelabh Pratap Singh.

I had previously reviewed Neelabh’s first novel, “The Resurrection of Evil”, a mythological thriller. So my first thought on starting with “Pi Agency” was that this story was completely different.

Rashmi Purohit is a tough, no-nonsense woman who aspired to join the CBI but couldn’t do so. She is running her own detective agency, i.e. Pi Agency from the basement of her house with her two assistants, Akshay and Diksha.

Pi Agency is hired by Brajesh Arya, a rich businessman, to investigate a drugs cartel that has succeeded in getting Brajesh Arya’s son addicted to drugs.

An investigation is launched which turns out to be full of twists and turns with danger thrown in. The investigation involves the use of technology, going undercover, using a honey trap and also the danger of physical violence.

Rashmi Purohit comes across as a fine character as a dedicated and skilled investigator. The characters of her two assistants, Akshay and Diksha are also very nicely etched.

Does the Pi Agency succeed in tracking down the main culprit behind the drugs operation? That of course is the focal point of the story.

Pi Agency is an extremely enjoyable suspense thriller and I recommend it to readers. I will be definitely looking to reading another story about the next adventure of the Pi Agency!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neelabh Pratap Singh is a mechanical engineer by profession and a writer by passion. He can be followed on Instagram on his handle @authorneelabh.

BOOK REVIEW: DEAD TO THEM

Book: Dead to Them tempImageForSave

Author: Smita Bhattacharya

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: StoryMirror

Number of pages: 268 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: The author Smita Bhattacharya kindly provided me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

“Dead to Them” is an intriguing suspense thriller with so many sub-plots that it is extremely difficult to review the book without giving away the story!

Moira Madhwa is a single woman who lives alone and works as a management consultant in Mumbai. When she has not been seen or heard from in several days, her colleagues and friends attempt to trace her whereabouts.

On the work front, there is her boss Himanshu, her colleague Kartik who appears to have had a complicated equation with Moira and her colleague Kavya who seems to be genuinely concerned about her.

Among her friends, we have Misha who is pregnant, her husband Piyush and Avni who is madly in love with her boyfriend Ashish. There are a lot of undercurrents and subtle tensions among her friends as well as colleagues.

The story is also partly told in flashbacks from Moira’s point of view.

As the search for Moira continues, it becomes clear that nothing is what it appears on the surface. The end of the story, is extremely unexpected and was surely nothing that I anticipated!

I highly recommend “Dead to Them”, as a highly enthralling and intriguing suspense thriller that will keep the reader guessing till the very end!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Smita Bhattacharya is a management consultant who lives in Mumbai. She can be followed on Instagram @smitabe

BOOK REVIEW: TRICKSTER

Book: Trickster    tempImageForSave

Author: Vinaya Bhagat

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Harper Black

Number of pages: 335 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: The author Vinaya Bhagat graciously provided me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

The story begins when Diya’s parents are killed by the “Chakwa” in what appears to be a car crash. Diya continues to live in her parents’ house but it appears that a mysterious entity is out to get Diya as well. Diya remembers her father telling her a story in childhood about the “Chakwa”, i.e. a trickster who can take any form he desires, animal or human.

Though Diya was told that her parents had no family, she receives a letter from India from her father’s relatives inviting her to visit them. Diya flies to India in order to find out more about her family.

She is warmly welcomed by Sunny Varghese and his family and learns that they were her father’s adoptive family. Sunny’s son Ronnie becomes a special friend to her specially when mysterious events continue to take place and deaths keep happening.

Diya meets her grandfather and much of her father’s family history becomes known to her. She then tries to find her mother’s family.

It is apparent to Diya that someone is trying to kill her, but is it the “Chakwa” or is it a human killer?

Diya manages to find her mother’s relatives and spends some days with them. It is when she is staying there that more supernatural events take place.

The story is definitely very interesting. The author has skilfully built up the climax in a way that the reader is wondering who the real “Chakwa” is. It is only at the very end that the identity of the “Chakwa” is revealed. I recommend “Trickster” as an extremely gripping suspense thriller.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vinaya Bhagat is an IT professional and author. She can be followed on Facebook and on Instagram as Vinaya Bhagat.