Jul 28, 2017

The Lodger - Book Review

The author Marie Belloc Lowndes
 
 
The Book Cover

I have to thank my friend Leah who recommended this book. The novel is mystery and psychological thriller, written by Marie Belloc and the story is turned into Hitchcock directed silent film "The Lodger". Since I liked Hitchcock movies, I bought this kindle edition.

The story is Mr.Bunting and his wife Ellen have a lodge and they are in a desperate need of money to survive. The arrival of Mr.Sleuth as a lodger first appears to be a blessing for the Buntings but later it turns out to be a curse because series of murders occur as intoxicated women are killed by a lanky man carrying a brown bag. 

An image from the movie "The Lodger" courtesy you tube website

The description of the murderer makes Mrs.Bunting to consider that the lodger should be the serial killer. As the days roll by, Mr.Bunting also comes to the conclusion that their eccentric lodger is the murderer. Is their opinion right? Or the arrival of Mr.Sleuth and murders are just a coincidence?

A superb psychological thriller the author narration conveys our own thoughts, especially Mrs.Bunting, a woman who is very clear headed and having a good memory. There are less number of characters in the novel, recurring characters are Mrs.Bunting, the Lodger, Mr.Bunting, Joe Chandler (attached to the detective section of the Metropolitan Police) and Daisy, daughter of Mr.Bunting. Apart from the main story each character have their own problems and conflicts.

Of all these characters the Lodger and Mrs. Bunting captured my attention. At the end I felt pity for them, the sleep deprived Mrs.Buntings, her contemplation, her inability to share her thoughts are worth mentioning, the highlight is that her attentive observation on her lodger from his sneaking out from his room in mid night and return. The author has used a powerful statement to show how pathetic her condition is, "She lay thinking and listening –listening and thinking".

I liked to quote one line from the novel:

"Any ordeal is far less terrifying far easier to meet with courage, when it is repeated, that is even a milder experience which is entirely novel".

Highly recommended for those who like mystery thrillers. After reading this it is best to watch Hitchcock's version of "The Lodger".

Jul 23, 2017

Deep Six - Book Review

My 9th outing with Dirk Pitt adventures.

Clive Cussler the master storyteller, this is yet another feather to his cap. I was awestruck by his skill of interweaving various sub plots in the story. 



The novel starts in the year 1966, with Arta Casilighio the teller of Beverly-Wilshire bank steals 120000 dollars and hatches a plan to escape from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand in a cargo ship, but she was killed by Korean seamen.

Another sub story, in Augustine Island, Alaska a poison leak in sea kills many, the nature of the agent is that it is absorbed through skin which turns out to be a deadly biological weapon, called Nerve Agent S. Years back the nerve agent was to be buried in desert, however some of the containers disappeared.

NUMA is asked to find out the source of the poison. Working along with Dr.Julie Mendoza, Pitt finds out the sunken ship and all the containers of Nerve Agent S. But unexpected eruption of the volcano tilts the ship and accidentally kills Julie.

Through the help of Alhambra Iron and Boiler Company and St. Julien Perlmutter, Pitt comes to know the ship Pilottown name has been changed several times and that the San Marino, the Belle Chasse and the Pilottown are indeed one and the same ship. The ownership points to Bougainville Maritime Lines, ruled by 89 year old Madame Min Koryo Bougainville.

Sub plot number 3, the President of the United States, Vice President Margolin, President Pro Temp-ore Marcus Larimer and Speaker of the House Alan Moran were abducted from Presidential yacht and mind controlled by a psychologist Aleksei Lugovoy in a secret lab, a part of plot of Soviet Union and Min Koryo.

Meanwhile Paul Suvorov a KGB officer misunderstands the mind control plan and tries to release, but he takes only Alan Moran and Marcus Larimer to a Russian cruise ship Leonid Andreyev. There Pitt's love interest Loren Smith who happens to be in the cruiser sees Moran and Larimer, she informs to her secretary.

She notifies Pitt. And Pitt along with Al Giordino disguises as a couples enters the cruise ship, but the ship was detonated many were killed. Pitt, Al and Loren tries to board nearby boat. As Moran and Loren boards, Pitt was attacked by Lee Tong, the grandson of Min Koryo and he takes Loren with him.

The President under mind control returns to White House, rules as a Dictator. The Congress tries to impeach. Pitt not fully recovered through help from Yaeger and Perlmutter finds out the secret lab and tries their best to save the United States, Vice President and Loren Smith.

How he accomplished is told in the final chapters. 

My artwork of Dirk Pitt on board Stonewall Jackson. Pitt attired in turtle neck sweater and holding a violin case.

I like to quote some of Pitt's one liners:

1. What in hell are these? Giordino mumbled, emerging from the cobwebs.

Welcome gifts from the sanitation department. (When hood and gloves given to wear for protection against nerve agent S)

2. Deducing the murderer in an Agatha Christie novel is kindergarten stuff compared to finding a lost derelict under hundreds of square miles of water. Sometimes you get lucky early. Most of the time you don't. (Pitt's poetic response to Dover on finding the shipwreck)

3. No one in the world is immune from curiosity. (Pitt asking to release news about finding of two ship wrecks instead of one)

4. What was that all about? Giordino inquired. My travel agent Pitt answered, pretending to be nonchalant. (Pitt's answer to Loren's Secretary Sally on finding Loren Smith in Leonid Andreyev cruise ship)

5. Y' all play the violin when ya fly? Hogan asked curiously.
Soothes my fear of height, Pitt replied. (Colt Thompson sub machine gun carried by Pitt in a violin case)

6. Nice place you have here, came a voice from the doorway. but your elevator is out of order.

You! he gasped. Pitts face tired, haggard and dark with beard stubble lit up in a smile.

Lee Tong Bougainville. What a coincidence. You're alive!

A trite observation. (Climax dialog between Pitt and Lee Tong)

7. Happen to know Lee Tong Bougainville personally, said Emmett. He is a respected business executive who donates heavily to political campaigns. So does the Mafia and every charlatan who's out to milk the government money machine, said Pitt icily.

8. Why have you pursued my grandmother and me, Mr.Pitt? he demanded, stalling. Why have you set out to wreck Bougainville Maritime?

That's like Hitler asked why the Allies invaded Europe. In my case, you were responsible for the death of a friend.

9. Sal Casio? she asked. With his daughter. And Min Koryo Bougainville? In hell. (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

A penthouse suite, he corrected her. And who's going to pay for this opulent interlude? Pitt looked down at her in mock astonishment. Why the government, of course. Who else? (Pitt answers to Loren in the end)

Jul 15, 2017

Bully Boy Blue - Book Review

I did not read the blurb as I already read his fabulous psychological thriller White is the coldest colour and this novella "Bully Boy Blue". Kathy is dominated by his husband the bully boy Mike Connors, who is also a Police Inspector. Everyone including her mother and friends believes Mike's version of Kathy, that she is suffering from a mental breakdown after a miscarriage. Now Kathy finds that she is pregnant again she wants to save her baby and get rid of Mike Connors once and for all, did she escaped from the clutches of her husband and how she did will reveal the last chapters of the novella. The ending is superb. 


The story is packed with abuse and violence and some will not like. The story is very tense and in some places we will wish/pray for her deliverance.

Jul 6, 2017

Charlie Red Star - UFO Sightings

I like to thank Net galley for providing me a copy for review.

I strongly believe we are not alone in the universe. Twenty years back, evening time, my family use to lie on the terrace and watch the sky and we often see a small ball of light moving from north to south. Sometimes couple of lights trying to overtake. The lights won't blink and we told this to our friends and relatives, they did not believe us.

Coming back to the book, it is about recounting of Grant Cameron work on investigating the numerous unidentified flying object sightings that occurred in the Canadian province of Manitoba in the year 1975-76. The major portion of this book is retelling of the many tales told by citizens involved in the sightings. Charlie Red Star is name given to the glowing, pulsating disk shaped UFO.

The tales are vividly explained and exhaustive. Sometimes recounting feels a drag and the author has tried to change the flow by placing diagrams and photos.

Not only the author had given the records of sightings alone but also given elaborate information of how animals behaved during the appearance of Charlie Red Star, recording the sound and testing the wave pattern. People who become obsessed tried to capture the image of the flying saucer, but only one Tanis Major captured photographs are the best. Even the speed of the UFO is given. The author also raises several questions, what if these unidentified lights belong to alien technology? If the aliens wish to remain hidden, why do they place lights around their craft for all to see? Are they afraid of a mid air collision? Are these lights indicators that they want to land at our airports?

According to the story it appears that not only one UFO was involved, but commonly many had experienced watching Charlie Red Star.

In the end the author has given exhaustive detailed notes in chapter wise. I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend this to UFO buffs and conspiracy theorist.

Video from you tube website:



I like to quote the last line of the book.

" Reliving old memories and dreams of the past. When he hunts through the night, we won't question why. Good Night, Charlie Red Star - Old Chief of the Sky".