Week1 – FirstPost – #GameOfBlogs by BlogAdda

Team Blog-o-holics’ first entry.

 

Walking on high heels can be a pain, thought Tara, as she stopped to adjust the straps of her wedges. She placed a hand on little Roohi’s shoulders for support as she struggled with them. Everything in place, they started walking, Tara almost dragging her 9 year old daughter. “Hurry up, Roohi, or we’ll be late for school.” Roohi, however, tried to walk at her slowest, hoping against hope that they’ll be so late that she could ultimately skip school. Who wants to go to school when you haven’t done the homework and were asked to get a note on your diary signed by your parents but didn’t, right? She hoped her class teacher would somehow ignore what she did on her friend’s back with colors yesterday. Her hopes were soon in vain as she saw the Convent building looming nearby.

Tara heaved a huge sigh of relief as she tightened the ribbons on Roohi’s two ponytails and packed her off at the school’s entrance. “Try not to be naughty today, Roohi!” she called after her daughter. She adjusted her large designer tote while watching Roohi disappear inside the building and then decided to walk the remaining distance to her office, which was nearby. She worked at Headlines Today and loved her job, especially since it offered her flexible hours and a fat cheque at the end of the month. It’d have been so easier if Shekhar also worked full time at some job, she thought. But 10 years ago she had taken the plunge knowing full well that Shekhar would be writing full-time. It meant irregular pay but she was glad he could stay at home and look after their daughter. You can’t trust the nannies these days. Look at all the news reports coming in where children were abused by their tutors & nannies.

As she walked immersed in her thoughts she started feeling a little uneasy. You know the feeling you get when someone watches you intently? She turned to look but nobody was around at this early hour. Except a morning walker wearing grey track pants and a black hoodie who was sitting on a stone bench, texting. Tara shrugged and dismissed the feeling. It must be the fight she had with Shekhar today. Or maybe the one she had had with the Autowallah. She must give credit to Shekhar though. Whenever they fought, he was always the first one to hug her and say sorry, his graphite eyes ever smiling through his thin golden specs. But the Autowallah! She felt her blood boil as she recalled their argument earlier. First of all he had the audacity to ask for 300 Rs. just to go a few km. And then when she had bargained, he had spit his paan right next to where she stood, as if the whole world was a giant spittoon! Poor chap will always remember the lecture he got this morning on manners, she thought. All this could’ve been avoided if only Shekhar had remembered to take the car to the mechanic for repairs. All these years and she still wasn’t used to living with a writer!

She felt the sensation again as if she was being watched. She increased her pace a little, her heels making a clack-clack sound on the cemented pavement. Her office was on the next block after the traffic signal. She could see the tall building with the hoardings but it would take 6-7 minutes to cover the distance on foot. Suddenly, she became aware of another sound matching her pace, not very distinct but certainly there. She stole a glance backwards and caught a glimpse of a tall, slim figure wearing a black hoodie. Was it the same man she saw earlier? Her heart leapt to her mouth and she could hear her blood pounding as sinister images formed in her head. She increased her pace as she noticed a chai-wallah opening his shop at a distance. Relief flooded her as she saw another person and decided to stop at the stall and ask for help if needed.

As she got near the shop, she felt the person behind her come closer every second, taking long strides. She felt as though she’d have a heart attack as the person overtook her, slightly grazing her shoulders, when she reached the shop. She stopped abruptly and heaved a sigh of relief. Really, wearing a hoodie isn’t a crime you know, she chastised herself on her childishness. The hoodie man must have been in a hurry.

She walked at a leisurely pace to her office and headed straight to the washroom to straighten her formal shirt and fix her lipstick. It wouldn’t do to appeared flushed in front of her colleagues. After she applied some gloss on her lips, she moved over to the window and opened it a little to get some fresh air in her system and calm her frazzled nerves.

Was that a flash of a black hoodie she saw around the corner?

 

Read the next installment to this story here.

 

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Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Book Review – Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge

SAVAGE_FINAL_4 copy

“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage


The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

Buy at :  Amazon

Review : 

Savage Summer is a fast paced mystery/thriller, so interesting that I finished it in a single sitting.

The author has created great characters. I liked that there are only a few characters in this book and that each one has been developed really well. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t identify with at some point or other.

All good thrillers guarantee fast-paced, nerve-racking moments and this is no exception. Add to it Curt Savages satiric sense of humor and you have a perfect summer read.

The only disappointment (and it’s a huge one) I had from the book is the absence of a sense of closure. Now I understand that this is just the first novel in a series and the BIG reveal about who killed Savage’s girl would be solved only at the end. However, I’d have liked to see some resolution to the night-prowler case. Three mysteries have been touched upon in this novel and not a single one of them have been solved. If I’d known this previously, I’d have picked this up to read only after all books were released!

 

Excerpt :

The phone jarred me out of the fantasy. I awoke suddenly, shielding the light that assaulted my eyes. The odor of Ruthie’s perfume was everywhere.

“Ruth?” I called out. Disoriented, I reached out to her side of the bed, expecting her to be there. It took me several more seconds to realize that she was dead.

“Hello,” I started. The gravel in my throat demanded that I clear it once or twice.

“I’m responding to the ad about Ruth Warwick’s murder.”

Those words officially woke me up. More effective than any cup of coffee, the voice synthesizer disguised the caller’s identity, but the point was that someone had finally phoned. Ever since I’d been dispensed with as a suspect, I’d placed small pennysaver ads in papers published in both Pennsylvania and Ruthie’s home state of Connecticut. Somebody knew something, but I hoped this wasn’t some clown trying to get the reward money from punking my ass.

“Yes, go ahead. I’m listening,” I replied as I ran for a pen and paper. I wanted to be ready, but all I heard was static and heavy breathing. I guessed that it was “all about the money” time. In a second, they’d be asking for the details of how to collect. I figured I’d beat them to that particular punch. “Look, if you’re worried about the reward, the $10,000 will be released when it leads to the arrest of the person, or persons, responsible.”

“I don’t care about the money. There are bigger things going on.”

“What? What do you mean? What things?”

“In due time, Savage.”

“You know my name? How—“

“Inconsequential, don’t you think? Right now, all I can say is this—Ruth was having an affair.”

The click of the receiver on the other end told me the call was concluded. Shocked by the accusation, I stared at the phone, still in my hand. In a million years, I’d never expected a call like that. I collapsed in a chair, trying to think things through. I concluded it had to be a joke perpetrated by someone that thought I hadn’t suffered enough. I slammed the phone back into its stand and took my shower. My stomach was in knots. I was upset that someone was trying to put things in my head about the woman I still loved.

 

Author – Ruth Bainbridge

Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

SAVAGE SUMMER is Ms. Bainbridge’s debut novel. It introduces Curtis Owen Savage into the world of ink and fury. Savage is engaged and about to be married when the brutal murder of his fiancée sends the world crashing down around him. Depressed, he isolates himself to better deal with the pain, but his beloved Ruthie won’t leave him alone. Haunting him with her presence, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer, and making him pay for taking her away.

With the help of a quirky friend and an old colleague, he takes his first steps, but the poisoning of a next door neighbor’s dog lands him his first case—and into a new profession. Hired as a private detective, he navigates through a complex series of clues to discover why someone attempted to kill the black Pomeranian. In the midst of trying to track down the motive, he receives his first anonymous phone call from a phantom who insists he knows secrets about his fiancé’s death. Dubbing the caller Dr. Shadows, the tidbits scattered become the breadcrumbs that lead Savage down a dark rabbit hole that was never meant to be discovered.

Her next planned project is MURDER MOST FOWL. Alex “Trout” Matthews, is a former NYC detective. Now retired, he moves to the town of PortsmithIdaho so he can focus on his one passion—fishing. But as Ruth puts it, “Murder rarely leaves an inquisitive mind alone for long.” He soon finds himself pulled back in the stream of things and knee-deep in mystery.

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Book Review – The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

The Madras Mangler by Usha Narayanan

 

The REVIEW: 

Usha Narayanan has done a great job with The Madras Mangler. The title itself is so clever that it was enough for me to take up the book which the author lovingly provided in exchange of an honest review.

It is a fast paced thriller with new twists and turns every few pages. The serial killer is of course the main plot but there is a sub plot for each of the friends which, I believe, is the secret to the pacey read. Every few pages we are caught up with the history of the girls, someone is fleeing their past and taking up an imaginary identity whereas someone is running and hiding from a rapist. Cyber criminals and plain-old goons run amok in the college and create enough trouble for the girls that they take the threat of the killer too lightly until one of them disappears.

Since the novel is setup in Chennai, we see a lot of references to local hangouts, colleges, streets and rivers which lends a local flavor and authenticity to the story.

The author is able to maintain the suspense halfway through the book for me. She heightens the suspense when the serial killer takes his first victim from the Padmaja college however, being a devour-er of mysteries and thrillers, I could guess the killer as soon as the killer chooses his next victim. This might be a case of concern for fellow thriller readers. Otherwise there’s no taking away the fact that the author has done a good job with The Madras Mangler.

 

The Blurb

 

Five pretty girls from around the country, enjoying college life in Chennai, chasing their own dreams. Until a psychopath comes to town, killing girls and dumping their bodies in the rivers. The killer is smart, dangerous and very angry. Just like Vir Pradyumna, ace criminologist from New York, who is fighting his own demons from the past. Ruthless politicians, bumbling cops, beer barons and cyber criminals run amuck. The killer snatches a girl whom Vir has sworn to protect. A Hollywood action crew and the crowds at the India-Australia cricket one-dayer get sucked into the relentless buildup to a nail-biting climax. Will Vir be in time to stop the maniac and save the girl?

 

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Meet the Author

 

 

Be crazy, be creative. That’s been my mantra as a writer and a creative director ― in advertising, radio, corpcomm and web-writing. I turned up the craziness a notch by becoming a novelist, with the freedom to write exactly what I wanted. I started a romcom, changed it into a thriller and sweated and slogged to get the pieces to work together. Research, cliffhangers, suspense, clues, red herrings ― my brain was in a tizzy for days and months.

Done, dusted off, dispatched. A few rejections, heartbreak. A contract from Leadstart, bliss. Creating a spooky book trailer with images and music I bought online. A tweak here and there, with my editor. Poring over images for the cover. Suggesting the artist turn ‘The’ in the title sideways. The book comes out on Flipkart and Amazon first. And after some nail-biting suspense, in bookstores. Organised a launch with Suhasini Maniratnam and Rudra Krishna. Great media reviews. Lovely, wonderful blogger friends. I love being an author J

 

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