I must confess the Hercule Poirot is not one of my favourite detectives. Not even close. But that’s personal opinion. What I enjoy most Poirot’s cases or I must say, Agatha Christie’s writing is the how the cases unfold in the end after reaching the climax. This book has a brilliant ending, that’s all. No spoilers. I enjoy her writing which never fails to create a tension on the reader to get to the end of it. And Then There Were None is the best case scenario.
Rebus is back. And he’s not getting old, age seem just a number for him and his creator, Ian Rankin. He’s 21 books old now. Rather Be The Devil is the new entitlement released on November, 3rd. When I heard earlier this year that Ian Rankin has rejected to my request for an interview with for a third time in three years, I thought, ‘Oh Boy! Either I am a pretty bad interviewer or he’s upto something really good. Probably a new Rebus novel. I’ll take that gladly, sir.’
Rebus is into his retirement for almost a couple of years now. But curiosity is a disease and when one’s neurone start sending the type of electrical signals, the giant awakens. Mind gets to work and pulls bits and pieces out of the back of itself. It happens to humans, generally. Nonetheless, Rebus breathe and lives to the extent you can almost smell the cigarette he’s been smoking, but not this time, anyway.
So now you know the process, Rebus mind draws his conscious attention to a cold case from 1970s involving a murder of a female socialite in one of the Edinburgh’s luxurious hotels. An unturned stone for over forty years, and no one was found guilty. Lacking hobbies in his sixties, Rebus, starts up a personal investigation with series of meetings with some old frenemies like Big Ger Cafferty and an ex-cop. Things have already begin to turn nasty in Edinburgh when both DI Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox come across each other once again despite their lack of communication over time to look into those nastier things themselves. Local crime boss and entrepreneur is hurt. Money problems, shell companies, skeletons in the closet and a dangerous mobster hovering over the city of Edinburgh.
To me, horror feels more real than any other genre. I have always preferred real and true, no matter how dirty or uncomfortable. The situations in horror, life or death, kill or die, save them or save myself are the closest we come to seeing who we truly are in the deepest places of our psychic and physical being and this is what produces that oh so well-known adrenaline pump that hooks people to the horror book or screen, not allowing them to look away. Living those moments over and over has the power to give us a true glimpse into the mirror and sometimes, ironically enough, that is the most frightening thing of all.
Q. Briefly, what led up to the last book? Also, please describe the book in one sentence.
When Blaire goes to help the children of St. Sebastian orphanage, it will be her that soon needs the help.
Soon after completing my first book, The Secret Keepers. I found myself watching an inordinate amount of documentaries and I came across one on orphanages in other countries and what I learned was frightening. I don’t much care for jump scare horror, I prefer horror that chills one to the core that makes you question, not what’s in the closet but what’s in the mirror. This documentary on the deplorable conditions of the facilities and the failing health of the children haunted me, how could things like this still be happening all around us? And while I was intrigued, I was not yet fully inspired to write the book, writing the book still hadn’t occurred to me. It wasn’t until one evening after watching this documentary when I woke in the middle of the night and there they were, those children who were severely malnourished and abused among other things, all standing by my bedside looking down on me. When I woke the next morning, I knew that I had to tell their story.
Q. What was the time frame for writing your last book?
There were four years between my last book, The Secret Keepers and my new book, The Unwanted. Writing my outline takes approx. two weeks, then another six weeks to write my rough draft, a couple of months for my first edit and a couple more months for further edits and that is if I am working on my book full time but once you add “life” in, the timeframe can get lengthy.
Q. How much research do you do?
It depends on what I am writing. Many things I write from personal experience. My new book that I am currently working on, The Sandman (working title), is requiring me to do a bit more research than usual and I have purchased several books on the underlying subjects and plan on talking to a couple of health professionals in order to make sure that my characters are authentic.
Q. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I measure more in hours per day than word count. I try to write for at least two hours a day, but I always wish that I could write more.
Q. What is the easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing about writing a book is coming up with the idea. We all have tons of great ideas for books, right? The issues come AFTER we have the great idea.
Q. What motivates you to write?
I don’t know that it’s a motivation so much as a compulsion. Naturally, I am always composing stories and filling my head with little facts and characters and I have to get them out. I have to tell their stories or they will drive me nuts. I am a writer because it is an inevitable extension of my being. Some people decide to be writers because they want to write; I was never given the option.
Current week is to an end and I am still not finished with Wilkie Collins’ WOMAN IN WHITE. Many say it’s his masterpiece but I am reading Collins for the first time and not even a hundred pages complete. It’s a mystery novel and has a Gothic theme with psychological realism which I am yet to explore. More this week, I had more than usual amount of free time and the amount of books I have to read is always, enormous. Thus to take the matter in my own hands and with blessings of time, I decided to binge reading and ended up reading first two books of Lord Peter Wimsey, Whose Body? & Clouds of Witness written by Dorothy Sayers.
Lord Peter Wimsey, as I like to imagine, is an unusual sort of character to be a detective in detective fiction with his reputation in London’s Society and the wealth of his family.
The Calling is the first novel featuring DCI John Luther. Yes, the same Luther you saw on telly as I did, played by Idris Elba. There are so many DC’s and DCI’s the modern British Crime Fiction has produced, so why bother about this one? As usually, he is tortured and that is interesting. Aren’t all?
DCI John Luther has a clearance rate of cases which is extraordinary as it is portrayed by Neil Cross in the telly series too, in the first few episodes. If you have watched the series or/are planning to, you can still read the book. The consequences of this book are what followed by the television series. It’s a prequel.
The plot is simple, John Luther is hunting for a brutal murderer and baby kidnapper who intends to do what he has done again. Now, the most extraordinary thing is there in this simplicity and the credit goes to the author of the book, Neil Cross. The opening scene is do dramatised and there a few more to grab, I feel as if it was a real crime scene in front of me. Every detail is spectacularly written, and very rare in crime fiction novels do you find such generous reception. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Luther- The Calling by Neil Cross”→
This one certainly one of the most famous Agatha Christie’s crime tale. Whomsoever I am talking with about crime fiction, does bring up Agatha Christie (even if they haven’t read her). The queen of crime as they like to call her, but Hercule Poirot certainly not the king of detectives.
Murder on the Orient Express is a renowned locked room mystery. A locked room mystery, if elaborated is a crime that sounds impossible to ensue. The plot starts on the famous Orient Express train that promises to take her passengers to a journey across the Europe, but is stuck somewhere in between due to heavy snow. Now this is a real incident, an experience the queen of crime has shared with us, her readers from the memorabilia of her life.
This locked room mystery is based on the whole coach of the Orient Express and Hercule Poirot happens to be in that coach. The deed is done, the culprit runs away and Poirot is given the task of bringing the culprit into the spotlight and by deducing his every move, to satisfy his own curiosity as well as the readers of the book. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie”→
Redemption. We all seek redemption. Most of us are seeking it from our past self for an idealistic future self in various forms. Writing Crime and Punishment for Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a creative redemption from his past and some of his brother, originally titled The Drunkards. Dostoyevsky became fond of this project and rewrote a version of it from scratch, that we take in our hands today and proudly read.
From the start of the novel, the author accomplishes to decipher that the protagonist, Raskolnikov, is tortured by his own thoughts. A student, as many, poverty-stricken, plans an instantaneous murder of an old pawnbroker, thinking it will delay his poverty for few more weeks, completely ignorant of the aftermath and having minimal self-control. This act of morality follows an aftermath which turns out to be psychological for Raskolnikov and the author spots an absolute scenario of what happens after one stands on the brink of insanity using Raskolnikov as his puppet until the protagonist is bring in contact with his own buried conscience and another sufferer. On the engagement of the book and one’s mind, one will indulge in it actively enough as the plot moves forward.
There is suspense in the novel no doubt. Dostoyevsky, in some amount succeeds in the main theme which he tries to revolve around the story: redemption. Characters like Raskolnikov do have a place in a reader’s mind once they have acquired his attention, for longer period of time. But novels like itself, fails to provide strong reasoning for characters who prove to be a drag thoughtout it. I am not going to name a few, you have to read it and judge it for yourself. My assessment is this, when moving forward the path author wants it to and so does the reader, then why a writer like Dostoyevsky would use elements to create a labyrinth, a maze which has no possible point to prove through the novel and does proves to be unnecessary? Continue reading “Crime and Punishment and Redemption”→