Review: No Time for Goodbye

A roller coaster of emotions, suspense and crime.

Author: Linwood Barclay

Publisher: Orion Books

Genre: Thriller/Crime

Pages: 437

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

Blurb:

Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke one morning to discover that her entire family, mother, father, brother had vanished. No note, no trace, no return. Ever. Now, twenty-five years later, she’ll learn the devastating truth

Sometimes better not to know. . .

Cynthia is happily married with a young daughter, a new family. But the story of her old family isn’t over. A strange car in the neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous gifts, someone has returned to her hometown to finish what was started twenty-five years ago. And no one’s innocence is guaranteed, not even her own. By the time Cynthia discovers her killer’s shocking identity, it will again be too late . . . even for goodbye.

My Thoughts:

A thriller that made me sit at the edge of the bed as I frantically kept turning pages, inhaling and exhaling and letting out deep sighs while wanting to finish the book but not wanting it to end, No Time for Goodbye, is a treat to thriller/crime lovers out there. I picked this book on a whim at a Trade Fair last year since the blurb sounded pretty interesting. Well, I wasn’t wrong.

Cynthia, a 14 year old girl, wakes up one day after a night of drinking and partying to find a deserted house. Her parents including her brother Todd seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. No one has any clue where they are or if they’re even alive. Fast forward to 25years later, Cynthia is now married to Terry Archer and they have a beautiful daughter named Grace and Cynthia still doesn’t have any idea what happened to her parents.

Cynthia does not give up and seeks the help of a popular reality TV show in the hopes of finding any leads about her parents. This shakes things up. Suddenly, she starts getting mysterious calls from people, her daughter is being followed by someone, a hat (probably her fathers) is found on the kitchen table all this adding to the suspense of the novel. To make things even more complicated, Cynthia’s aunt is murdered right when she was about to reveal something closely linked to Cynthia’s past. The detective, Abagnall, is also murdered while investigating the disappearance of Cynthia’s family. There’s an eeriness when you read this book, and you can feel something’s not right but you can’t put your finger on it.

If we talk about the characters then I’d wish the author would’ve chosen the POV of Cynthia herself. That way we’d have an insight into the psyche of a daughter trying to put together the missing pieces. The story has been narrated from the POV of Terry Archer, Cynthia’s husband, who is an English Teacher trying to maintain a balance between being a supportive husband, caring father and a professional. He is the calm to Cynthia’s storms and I loved the chemistry between the two. Despite, the trust and understanding between the husband and wife, Cynthia’s breakdowns made Terry question her sanity. It was a conflict for him; is Cynthia making things up or is something really wrong? This, I feel, added to the tension even more and gave a unique angle to the story. Although there were certain instances in the book that seemed implausible, the plot packed with high emotions and dark nature more than made up for tiny plot holes.

Sometimes we think we know other people, especially those we supposedly are close to, but if we really knew them, why are we so often surprised by the shit they do?

The writing style is effortless, easy to adjust to and is fast-paced. Linwood Barclay is a brilliant writer who has sketched a mystery that’s hard to decode.

Was I able to put together 2 & 2? NO. I wasn’t good at math anyway. I kept guessing and failed but I believe that’s what made the story entertaining. It kept me alive and wanting to know and get closure. No Time for Goodbye is my first Barclay book and safe to say it won’t be the last. Grab your copies and start reading and let me know so that we can discuss and dissect the book!

Also, your favorite thriller?

Review: Eileen

Story of a 24 year old woman who is dragged into a crime unknowingly.

Author: Ottessa Moshfegh

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Format: Paperback

Pages: 272

Rating: 4/5

One of the shortlisted books from this year’s Man Booker Prize, Eileen, By Ottessa Moshfegh is relentlessly bold, dark and imaginative. The writing style is smart with vivid descriptions, the protagonist’s thoughts are interwoven subtly yet are hard hitting. Eileen is a psychological thriller that is novel in its concept and is deserving of the praise that it has received.

The year is 1964 and Eileen Dunlop is a young woman of 24, living in Boston, who suffers from extreme lack of self-esteem and regard for herself and has spent nearly all her life in bitter self-loathing. Stuck with an alcoholic father who is stubborn, harsh and disrespectful, Eileen, dreams of escaping her miserable life. Even at work, Eileen, doesn’t get respite since her co-workers occasionally pass comments and have a deep disliking for her. Eileen works at a juvenile correctional facility  where she sees young boys wearing out their sentences for heinous crimes committed. Her time at the prison is spent preparing meaningless questionnaires for the mothers who visit the inmates and she often daydreams about being in love with the prison guards.

Everybody was broken. Everybody suffered. Each of those sad mothers wore some kind of scar- a badge of hurt to attest to the heartbreak that her child, her own flesh and blood, was growing up in prison.

Eileen thrives on pills and alcohol and indulges in laxatives to control her bowel movements. She’s obsessed with her body in a way that’s derogatory to even herself. She hates the way she looks and suffers from an inferiority complex.  Then one day, Rebecca arrives and her life is changed forever. Without realising, Eileen, overwhelmed by Rebecca’s charms is unknowingly dragged into a crime she has nothing to do with. Things start getting ugly and Eileen soon comes to the realisation that there is no escape. However, Eileen slowly begins to find clarity and her life takes a different turn.

Things feel very real out here, don’t they? There’s simply no fantasy. And no sentimentality. That’s what fascinates me. There is history and pride, but very little imagination here.

I simply love how twisted the entire novel is and how psychotic most of the characters are. Eileen is one of the most unreliable narrators I’ve come across and it makes the story more appealing. Her sense of self is demeaning, she’s empathetic but repellent and is constantly at war with herself. The following passage perfectly sums up Eileen’s unforgettable nature:

I’d never learned how to relate to people, much less how to speak up for myself. I preferred to sit and rage quietly. I’d been a silent child, the kind to suck my thumb long enough to buck out my front teeth. I was lucky they did not buck out too far, still of course I felt my mouth was horse-like and ugly, and so I barely smiled. When I did smile, I worked very hard to keep my top lip from riding up, something that required great restraint, self-awareness, and self-control. The time I spent disciplining that lip, you would not believe. I truly felt that the inside of my mouth was such a private area, caverns and folds of wet parting flesh, that letting anyone see into it was just as bad as spreading my legs. People did not chew gum as regularly then as we do now. That was considered very childish. So I kept a bottle of Listerine in my locker and swished it often, and sometimes swallowed it if I didn’t think I could get to the ladies’ room sink without having to open my mouth to speak. I didn’t want anyone to think I was susceptible to bad breath, or that there were any organic processes occurring inside my body at all. Having to breathe was an embarrassment in itself. This was the kind of girl I was

There is a sense of uneasiness and an air of uncertainty in Moshfegh’s writing that makes the readers curious. Her writing is stylishly crafted and is crisp. Eileen is a story is that is uniquely bizzare and if you’re into psychological thrillers then you shouldn’t miss out on this one.

Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to.

Author: S.J Watson

Length: 372 pages

Publisher: Penguin India

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

 

Synopsis:  

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even people you love- all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life

My Review:

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to. She believes herself to be a 20 year old but she isn’t. She is a 47 year old woman who has no idea of her past or present. The future at this point does not exist for her.

There has a been a lot of hype surrounding this debut novel by S.J Watson and it did live up to the expectations. The story revolves around a woman who suffers from amnesia due to an accident that took place years ago. She wakes up everyday unaware of her identity or the identity of the person she is living with. No matter how hard she tries, her mind is blank. It’s like her life never happened and she’s been reduced into the body of a stranger. The only person she can trust is her husband, Ben. But is Ben really speaking the truth?  As she begins to put together shattered pieces of her memory, she realises her life has been a lie.

Christine is helped by her psychologist Dr.Nash who advises her to maintain a journal where she can write down everything about her life and everything she does in a day. At this point, Christine cannot differentiate between black and white; her perception is distorted. Memories from the past hit her like a ton of bricks but she is unable to decipher whether it is a figment of her imagination or reality. She knows if she sleeps today, she will wake up tomorrow with no memory of what happened the day before. The journal is her only hope. The author takes you into the psyche of a person who remembers nothing. A person who has to start from scratch every single day.

The novel surely is a page turner although it gets a little dragging in the middle.

The writing style is impressive, simple and holds the readers’ attention. I had a lot of assumptions about the climax and had my own theories on how the novel would end. But the ending was unexpected and I didn’t see it coming.

Before I Go To Sleep is fast paced (something most mystery novels lack), it is gripping right from the start and raw. For readers who love psychological thrillers, this one is right up your alley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Angels & Demons

Author: Dan Brown

Genre: Crime fiction

Pages: 620

Ratings: 5/5

 

I WOULD HAVE LOVED THE BOOK HAD THERE NOT BEEN A SPOILER FOR ME.

Okay, now that I have this out of my system I’d like to say that Angels & Demons has got to be the best thriller book I have come across in a very long time. (The Millennium Trilogy, still topping the list). 

A deadly albeit powerful anti-matter has been hidden somewhere in the vaults of Vatican City which is destructive and can literally blow off Rome from the face of the Earth. Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist is summoned by CERN to identify the inhuman death of the brilliant scientist Leonardo Vetra who has on his chest an Illuminati symbol seared brutally. He is assisted by his daughter Vittoria Vetra. a renowned Italian scientist,  in decoding anti-matter that completely fuses the theory of science and questions the existence of God. At the same time, a new pope has to be elected in Rome and even before the official ceremony could take place, four cardinals go missing. The illuminati, a secret brotherhood extinct for nearly 400 years, are thought to resurface only to take revenge against the Catholic Church. A precarious hassassin is on a killing spree and his targets are the four cardinals who are mercilessly annihilated by branding their chests with the Illuminati symbols, respectively. Here, starts the quest for searching the lethal anti-matter and finding the lost cardinals.

The plot keeps treading in various directions from OMG moments to really tardy scenes but all in all you’d be glued to it nonetheless. The reason why action-filled novels should be read instead of watching its movie-adaptations is because of the very fact that you get to connect to the characters, their emotions, their dilemmas  and it leaves so much to the imagination. Dan Brown is a commendable writer when it comes to merging religion, symbols and providing the readers with a plethora of facts. Do not go by the number of pages since it is very fast paced and you’d be stopping for breaths. If only Brown could lessen the description. After a certain period it becomes way too much and usually goes over your head.

I read a couple of reviews about Dan Brown’s novels. Most people feel he is a crappy writer and writes shit that he has no idea about. Well, honestly if a book like TWILIGHT gets to be an international bestseller for weeks and also gets the opportunity to torture people with its movie adaptations then Dan Brown did a splendid job at keeping his characters as real as possible and not overdoing it even a bit. Every book has a downside and this novel is no exception.

I’d definitely suggest reading Angels & Demons. Descriptive, Thrilling and captivating.