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Before I Go to Sleep By S.J.Watson

It was pretty boring when no one there in Goodreads, so I just gone around the ads in the home page, there was an impressive ad about the book ‘Before I go to sleep’. When I checked the reviews and the synopsis, I immediately placed the order. Somehow I had an intuition that this book would not be a disappointment.

This is a mystery cum psychological thriller. Christine Lucas wakes up in the morning in an unfamiliar bedroom with an old guy. Then she has been told by that guy that he is her husband and she is an amnesiac who forgets everything once she slept. Then once he left for work, she gets a call from a doctor who claims they are working on her treatment without the knowledge of her husband. When she met the doctor, he gives her a journal which he says it was hers and she gave it to him for reading it once. What the journal contains? Who was she? Read on the book.

It was really wonderfully written novel that doesn’t make you bored in any page. The suspense and mystery gets intensified when you read on towards the end. The thriller part towards the end was also equally interesting.  

The story is narrated by the amnesiac, Christine, herself. So he keeps the narration in present tense as she would not remember anything happened in the past. When I was wondering then how would she tell us the background of the story, there cometh the journal, which she writes for past one month to update herself on what happens daily. The confusion of her whether she actually reads on her experience or some work of fiction and searching for evidence to realise that these were true are all perfectly captured.  

The writing style was very simple, except some of medical terms there were absolutely no difficult phrases used. Throughout the story, I couldn’t find any incident that I could put aside saying ‘this is not possible in real life’. The whole novel was of incidents that are completely believable.

I think I would add SJ Watson as another author whose next book I wuld wait for. He wrote this book so wonderfully that you would not feel this is his first work in any place, at least I couldn’t with the little knowledge of authors’ books i had read.

I guess this book would be a perfect choice for group reads etc., as this has a lot to discuss and would induce different opinions on the leading characters. The filming rights of the book was already acquired and I think this will make a great movie had the actors do justice to the roles. 

My Rating for this mystery cum psychological  thriller is ★★★★☆

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The Sign of Four

Another Sherlock Holmes novel. This is the story about Holmes escapades on the search of missing Agra treasure.

Mary Marston starts receiving one pearl a year for past six years. Suddenly she receives a note saying ‘she was a wronged woman’ and she should meet a man who would compensate all the wrongs done to her. She can have two non-cop friends accompany her. With no one can trust she comes to Holmes. Whether they were able to find what was wronged her and the mystery behind the pearls she was receiving? Read on the book to find out.

One good thing about this novel is that there were not much clichés like Study in Scarlet, mainly because the plot was not much easier like the latter. I guess Conan Doyle himself felt that the first novel is more of the love and Holmes had very less part to play in it. He even did mention the same through Holmes in this novel that the first one was more of a love story which anyone can write.

When you read through ‘The Sign of the Four’, you could easily find that Doyle made sure that Holmes role is important than any of the characters involved in the mystery. For me, this is the novel that makes me think Homes as Hero. The details of the reasoning in the house of mystery were too detailed that would make you look for those if you have end up in any of the parallel situations. Particularly the chapters where he finds out the travel routes of the boat were ingeniously put in.

There is a flashback story in this novel as well, of course after finding out the guilty person. This time the story was not too great like that of Study in Scarlet which made me forget the Holmes adventure at all. Instead this one was a strange story setup in India where all the characters involved were negative.

This is another short novel of 120 odd pages which actually introduces Holmes as Hero. Doyle made sure no doubts would put up on that.

My Rating for this Sherlock Holmes novel is ★★★☆☆

Hickory Dickory Shock By Sundip Gorai

Whenever I read the mystery thrillers, I use to think why Indian writers are not trying anything like this. Most of the current generation of Indian writers – IITians – follows Chetan Bhagat and try to copy him. Of course he is a successful of current lot and his influence would be there on most of the writers, but if you write the same how people will get interested.

When I take up this book to read, the genre mystery thriller from an Indian writer itself impressed me very much. Then the story set up in the backdrop of an IT industry crisis, so most of the things I could easily relate to.

The novel starts with some funny events when I thought Sundip as another writer of Chetan Bhagat influence. But he proved he was not once the story comes to the business end. Once 210 and Geeks starts trying to solve the puzzle that would lead them LoRD, the story gets gripping pace and I never thought of putting down the book till it was done.

I was always fascinated by the research done by Dan Brown, whenever I read his books. I felt the same with this one. There should have been lot of efforts put into this work to have that puzzle and the related things. The kamasutra cipher, the emperor machine, bhagavat gita riddle everything would need a lot of research and time-consuming. This effort definitely needs to be recognized.

The protagonist 210 was a blend of Robert Langdon and Sherlock Holmes. When I thought the novel is the inspiration of Dan Brown, it takes different perspective once the reasoning pitching in. The last two, three chapters you would feel like reading Sherlock Holmes reasoning of deducing the crime from 210.

Of course there were few flaws. Some of them are logical like the backups for example. The backups of any company would not be kept in the same location. Most of the times it would be in some other city so that it can be reloaded from there whenever some disaster happens to the original development centre. And I felt some chapters end abruptly in the middle of the conversation. It made me feel like watching short films without proper editing.

But we can ignore these small shortcomings with the fact that it is his first novel and the story is gripping enough to make many of us not even notice these. Overall if you were wondering whether there would be any mystery thrillers from Indian writers with India and its history as the backdrop, this book is the answer. Hope this book would be a success and there will be many more books from him. May be it is time to know something about India also.

My rating is ★★★★☆ for this book.