Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart- Story told in reverse

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.

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A story told in reverse. A story where our protagonist is both a hero and the villain. A story about dysfunctional, and disturbed teenagers. A story about murders and maybe some more. A story about friendship and the lack of it. Meet Jules who often identifies herself with Imogen, her best friend. Jules, who is not like a regular teenager but has a lot of special and dangerous skills. She’s great at pretending to be someone she’s not. She’s alone, but not afraid.

Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart is a book that’s narrated in a different chronological order. We know the climax in the middle, and then the story of how the events played out keep unfolding. At first, I was confused with the order but eventually things started making sense. I can understand why E.Lockhart ‘s book has appealed to readers in ways more than one. For starters, she is able to hold the attention of the readers, and manages to create suspense. The writing style is fast-paced with each chapter ending on a cliff-hanger.

The story, however, didn’t strike a cord with me. Towards the end, I wanted to get over with the book, partly because there was no element of suspense left for me. The ending felt too rushed. I appreciate how unique the story-writing is and the drama, the book entailed. But somehow, it didn’t work for.

This was my first E.Lockhart book and I’m adamant on reading her most famous work, ‘We Were Liars’ only because I know how capable a writer Lockhart is.

You can finish this book in one sitting, and if you’re new to the genre of psychological thrillers, you’d really enjoy Genuine Fraud.

Have you read Genuine Fraud? What did you think of it?


Author: E.Lockhart

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating:3.5/4

Pages: 264

Format: Paperback

Source: Review copy

Blurb:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Murder In A Minute by Shouvik Bhattacharya

When a young girl is murdered in her house, everyone speculates it’s her college sweetheart, but the tale is more complicated. Is it an inside job, and if so, who’s the murderer?

Esha Arora, a dynamic, driven and ambitious girl is found dead in her cottage side apartment, lying in a pool of her own  blood. Present at the time of the murder are people she calls family including her boyfriend and a few colleagues. Each of them have an alibi. Yet the killer is mysteriously lurking around the house in broad daylight, deceiving everyone. It’s clear that this murder is an inside job. The question then arises; who killed Esha? And more importantly, WHY?

Murder in a Minute is Shouvik’s debut novel, and it hits all the right spots. Right from the start, you get an eerie sense of foul play, the tension starts building up, and when the story unfolds itself, you realize there is way more to the story than what meets the eye. After Esha is found dead, her step-brothers, Rishabh and Arya, are shattered. Having a fond relationship with their elder sister, this loss almost breaks them. With the help of the investigating officer, they set up on a journey to find out the truth and find the murderer. Slowly, the real characters of the family members is brought to light, and it’s understood that the holier than thou persona of the people present in the house is just a means to cover their doings. All evidence points towards Esha’s boyfriend. He is the lead suspect. But there are other family members who are equally guilty. Power, jealousy and greed are monsters that have the potential to wipe out relationships. Was Esha the victim of a family dispute?

We find out gradually that Esha was distressed, and unhappy. But again, we’re left with the haunting question; WHY? What was the cause of misery for her? She had taken Arora Cements to new heights, overtaking other companies, and at the same time giving her workers the wage they deserved. She was far ahead of her competitors, and yet somehow, her heart wasn’t in the right place.

There are several plot twists. The author has crafted the story rather creatively. Each chapter has a unique title, almost playing hide and seek with the readers. All throughout the reading of the novel, I kept placing bets on who the murderer could be, and every time I was proved wrong. And that’s exactly what I loved about the story. The unpredictability of what could happen next. The writing style of the author is simple and easy to read. You can flip through the pages and devour the book in one sitting.

I wish there was more backstory about the characters since it’s all about the psychological and mental attitude of the characters that were of main importance in the story. I wanted to read more about them, individually. I really enjoyed the ending, but it was a little far-fetched. Up to a certain point, everything was moving perfectly but then it took a different turn which didn’t appeal to me as a reader.

To be honest, I am quite impressed considering this is the author’s debut novel, and on top of that, he has managed to pull of a thriller so effortlessly and with the ability of an expert storyteller.

Murder In A Minute is engaging, fast-paced, and is sure to give you a satisfying reading experience.


Author: Shouvik Bhattacharya

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Rating: 4/5

Format: Paperback

Pages: 228

Blurb:

“People are essentially good, until they are caught.”

When a young woman is found lifeless in a pool of her own blood, everyone is convinced that it is her college sweetheart who murdered her.

The victim’s step-brothers, Rishabh and Arya aren’t so convinced. They embark on a journey to unearth the truth, a journey riddled with fallacies and conspiracies, planted intentionally to trap them.
Is there a connection between a missing blue envelope, a misplaced sweater and stray footprints in a room? Could those people they thought they knew so well be hiding dark secrets about their past? Or did their dead sister have more to hide than anyone involved?

With pressures mounting and suspicions looming, love will lose to ambition, greed will trump responsibility and deception would be common. Will the duo succeed in muddling through the convoluted clues on time, or will their first wrong step be their last?

Find out in the pulse-pounding suspense thriller. 

 

A big thanks to the publishers for sending a review copy. 

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.