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Book Review: The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

It is always refreshing to read a thriller that grips your attention from the word go and sustain the excitement till the last word. The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar takes us into a murky world of idol theft. The reason I chose this book is the hope of reliving the experience of ‘Kailashe Kelenkari (a story in the Feluda series by Satyajit Ray, which also deals with the theft of a priceless artefact from the Rajarajeshwari Temple, and an international smuggling racket).

Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of her friend Sneha Pillai. I have always loved the prospect of a female investigator and this book delivered it with élan. As Prabha delves more and more into Sneha’s life, she is sucked into a maze of deceit, betrayal and illegalities. She has Jai Vadehra, who comes with his own baggage of a tragic past, to help her solve this mystery, along with DSP Gerard Ratnaraj of CID’s Idol Wing.

Since the book deals with idol theft, there are temples involved, dating back to the days of the Chola Kingdom. As a reader, I was longing to read more about the history of these times, but the author chose to stead clear of that track. After all, this book is a historical thriller, and one expects a dose or two of history, even if not a detailed thesis as one would encounter in a Dan Brown novel.

Instead, there is a subplot involving a romantic angle between Prabha and the DSP. The scenes have been written daftly, communicating the sexual attraction to the readers, without delving into eroticism. Talking about writing, the pace of the story keeps you riveted to the plot. Despite a lot of characters, the reader is allowed to keep focus on the main plot involving Sneha and the idols. While the writing is crisp, the language often borders on the casual.

India is a land of varied cultures and diverse traditions. No wonder many authors these days choose the historical/mythological fiction genre of writing. The Shrine of Death is a good first attempt by Divya Kumar. Will look forward to reading more of her works in the future.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

P.S. This review is part of the Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme


Book Review: Pinto Has An Idea by Rajeev Saxena

Young Pinto has been an out-of-the box thinker from his childhood, looking for solutions to a plethora of problems in his everyday surroundings. He invents a that makes young Pinto a hero in his village. Sadly, that’s not sufficient to change the mindset of naysayers for Pinto to pursue his career in hardcore science.

Pinto Has an Idea is the tale of Dr Pinto, a small-town boy, an IITian and a scientist working in MIT, who suddenly experiences a life-changing revelation in the early days of his research, throwing away his work on theoretical physics and setting out to solve the practical everyday problems of the world he lives in.

Returning to his native India, he finds his noble quest beset by unexpected adversaries, obstacles and trials, but emerges triumphant from each battle.  The ‘Swades’ style story will leave you with a smile by the end of the final chapter.

Pinto is a scientist, who plays a politician and a social worker at the same time. He is also a true-blue family man. He is in love with Lavanya, who complements him in his work. The dynamics of his relationship with Lavanya drive the story forward, and makes the book even more lively to read.

The reason why the book strikes a chord is the message that it gives. We live in a society where a brilliant, innovative young kid is discouraged from pursuing science. And when he makes a career in research, and tries to bring about a change in the society, he is faced with challenges. His “mechanism” to end corruption is intriguing, to say the least.

Rajeev Saxena’s writing makes the narrative engrossing. His lucid use of language, makes the book even more delectable. Overall, this is an interesting weekend read. As a first book, Rajeev Saxena checks all the boxes for a promising career ahead.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

P.S. This review is part of Flipkart’s Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme

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