This post is special for more than one reason. Not only is it the first post of 2014, it also is the first book review post on the blog. And what better book could I have chosen to mark this important milestone, than one penned by three established bloggers and friends from the virtual world. Sirens spell Danger, an independent publishing initiative taken up by C. Suresh, Radha Sawana and Karthik L (popularly known as The Fool) is the first e-book I picked up in 2014. A collection of three thrillers, each different from the other, the book turned out to be the perfect start to my new year’s reading quota.
The first of the lot, a racy spy-thriller laced with bits of self-deprecatory humor indigenous to the author’s writing style, Femmé Fatale is a fast-paced tale that, right from the opening scene, shows you just about everything that can go wrong even with an educated IPS officer. Torn between his conscience pushing him to save the city from the choke hold of international terrorists and the constant diversions his body and mind are subjected to at the sight of a woman, Femmé Fatale keeps you turning the page to find out what our hero does to save Bangalore and woo the girl. Interlacing terrorism, romance and humour must have been tough, but Suresh manages to do it well with the hero displaying bouts of puppy-dog-love and not thinking with his brains thus leading to the funny bits. I especially enjoyed a scene where the gun in used in the most innovative style for defense!
The second story in the lot, Bella Dona by Radha Sawana, is my personal favourite. Flowing and swishing around like rich red wine in a clear glass on a full moon night, the story involving dead bodies of accomplished industrialists, a meticulous investigator, shocking twists and acts of vengeance, moves along fluidly and not one moment feels uninteresting. Alternating between mysterious unspoken thoughts that start every chapter and draw you in, and the plot unfolding in the present with various characters, the story is an excellent compilation of research, plot, characters, emotions and thrill. From chemistry to police interrogations, from forensic results on corpses to thought processes etched out, the story holds its ground throughout and for a debut author, that is huge! For those who enjoy reading crime, Bella Donna is one that will keep you hooked right till the very end.
Bellary, the last story in the set, sits right in its own sub-genre and starts off very well. Keeping it real, Karthik outlines the musings of an IB officer during the course of his investigations, including his interactions with two very different females. Halfway through, Bellary becomes a mix of reality and fantasy as ISI investigations cross path with stone statues that come to life. Involving sirens of a whole different kind, Bellary keeps you guessing about the role the two women play and their motives right till the end. This is a story that appeals to both sets of readers – those who enjoy fantasy and those who don’t enjoy it. For those who do, chapter ‘Fifteen’ onward is an added bonus.
All in all, Sirens spell danger is an interesting collection of novellas, and can easily be placed high up in the list of recent publications. I rate it at 4 out of 5 stars for it's well-thought plots, character sketches and the thrill factor. The only grouse I have, if I may even call it that, is the variance in writing styles and thought processes from one story to the other, that end up making you pick favourites. However, considering that it is an anthology, this is to be expected. Available in Kindle format, the book can be purchased at Amazon. You can also use the Kindle Reading App to read the book on your Android device or your computer.
I would love to hear your views!