I am ridiculously behind on my book reviews. So behind that there are books read in January whose reviews are still in draft form. Not good at all especially considering that it feels like I am blogging more than usual, just not reviewing books though. I guess all the discussion posts going around about book reviews being irrelevant have kind of dampened my enthusiasm. I still want to say something about the books I’ve read though, even if it is to refresh my memory some years down the line and prevent unplanned rereads.
Anyway, this post combines two book reviews in one, as they are both similar sort of books and my opinions on both are pretty similar as well.
The two books featured are:
- Dead Meat by Ankush Saikia
- The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
A body recovered from a tandoor oven.
A young accountant missing with a suitcase full of cash.
A city in the heady grip of T20 fever.
Private eye Arjun Arora works the streets of Delhi dealing with the shady underbelly of the capital city. Hired to track down a missing person, Arjun stumbles upon a gruesome murder where the suspects seem to be linked to something larger and more sinister.
Part noir thriller and part detective story, Dead Meat introduces us to an unforgettable character — Arjun Arora, a man with a bad marriage, a drinking habit, and a troubled past — who takes us on a dark and dangerous journey through the grime of today’s urban India
~ Synopsis from goodreads
I enjoyed this book while I read it. I generally enjoy thrillers and a book would have to be a really terrible one for me to bash a thriller on my blog. That said, I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were a bit too many characters to track, a few too many red herrings, and just too much happening overall. It didn’t help that there was no one I particularly rooted for. An unlikable man got killed by some unlikable men and there was nobody to feel sorry for, which is something I always look for in a thriller, I want the humane touch, I want it to rise above its genre, and mean a bit more than a regular whodunnit.
This book doesn’t rise above the level that I would have liked it to. But, it was an excellently put together book. I liked how the investigation proceeded, how the clues were laid out, how methodically results are achieved. I also liked the protagonist Detective Arjun Arora, and thought his character was pretty well drawn out (even if he drinks a bit too much to make a believable and/or efficient detective).
I also liked how this book nails down New Delhi’s seamy underbelly, and the mafia gambling nexus. A very timely read especially during the World Cup.
Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book for review consideration.
In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood.
The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options.
There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn’t want to be found.
Deeply traumatized by The Snowman investigation, which threatened the lives of those he holds most dear, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong’s opium dens. But with his father seriously ill in hospital, Harry reluctantly agrees to return to Oslo.
He has no intention of working on the case, but his instinct takes over when a third victim is found brutally murdered in a city park.
~Synopsis from goodreads
I was told that the later books in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo are pretty good. So in spite of a clichéd series start with The Bat, I proceeded on to The Snowman, and now to The Leopard, and I’ve gotta agree with everyone, Nesbo is getting better with each book he writes it seems.
This book starts with a corker of a scene and the pressure doesn’t let up from the first page. It’s full of interesting twists and turns and I loved how the story developed. Even when the story veered over the top, Nesbo still retained control of the plot and didn’t let things get too ridiculous. I also loved the international feel of this novel, with the story ranging from Hong Kong to Oslo to Congo, all these exotic locations only added to the tempo of the mystery.
If I have an issue with the book, it’s that I think the villain’s identity is let out a bit too early, and the finale of capturing the villain seems too long-drawn out and implausible. Anyway, that’s a very minor gripe because implausible or not, the book was definitely entertaining.
Another aspect of the Harry Hole series that I am not very comfortable with is its similarity to the Harry Bosch series penned by Michael Connelly. The style of writing is very similar as are the plot twists. I don’t know if it’s just me who feels that Harry Hole is very derivative of Harry Bosch. While I still enjoy the Harry Hole books, I also totally get flashbacks to the Harry Bosch books, which is why even if I like individual books, I am not racing through the series to finish them.
Am I the only person who feels this way?
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon