16 January, 2019

#GuestPost :: My Writing Process by Ruchi Singh

About the Book:



The Man
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel
Should an innocent man be left to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.







Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

My Writing Process

As a strong proponent of ‘change is the only constant’ I begin with a disclaimer that following may change at any date and at any time. :-) Having said that, one has to begin somewhere to bring the positive changes and thereby optimizing the process.

My writing process can be broadly classified into five phases, inception, planning, execution or writing, editing, publishing. Some start with execution immediately after inception, but in the past couple of years, I’ve realized I am a planner. I can’t work on a project until I am clear about the ending. Let’s look at each of them separately… 

Inception:
The mayhem begins with a small, tiny idea. A thought which refuses to let go of your nerve cells. It remains with you night and day poking and prodding to adopt it and make it your own. This is the crux of all amazing happenings in the world.

A germ of an idea is like a small seed which has to be sowed, watered, aired and nurtured to give us a full-fledged result or fruit. The inspiration or that seed can be a one-line read somewhere or a complete climactic scene flashing in the mind. 

I let the concept simmer in my mind for a few days, or sometimes weeks before picking it up. 

Planning:
After inception, the next in the planning phase is thinking about the main characters, their background, history, physical attributes, quirks, habits; good and bad. I plan for major events, climactic scene and pacing of the story too.

Execution or Writing the first draft:
Once the broad level outline and roadmap are clear I start writing. This phase is the longest of all and this is where most of the writers do not persevere. This phase needs patience, effort, and determination. It tests your love for words and dedication. Do not fear if you aren’t able to write. The words may come to you in spurts or like smooth flowing water. Take a break from writing if nothing comes to your mind. Eventually, it will because creative juices have a mind of their own.

Editing:
Though editing happens even during the main writing which takes care of the only scene to scene continuation. I do one round of editing for language and sentence correction. Then the manuscript is handed over to beta readers. The second round of editing happens after the feedback from the beta readers. The third round of editing is done using automated tools. And the fourth round of editing is reading out loud on a printed copy.

Publishing:
Mode of publishing is an individual choice, one may go for trad-publishing and self-publishing. But do remember if you are self-publishing, get the manuscript edited professionally and have a mind-blowing book cover.

Things may change during the writing process, don’t get worried about it. In the interest of enhancing the readers’ pleasure, I keep my mind open vis-a-vis the plot and characterization. That’s it, folks.


Keep writing and enjoy the journey!


About the Author:
Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.



Giveaway:

~ 1 winner for 500/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel
~ 1 winner for 250/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel



15 January, 2019

#BookReview :: The Sane Psychopath by Salil Desai



*** Special Feature - January 2019 ***



About the Book:

Are some crimes unpardonable? 
A young lawyer is about to find out. 
It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning. 
Until a man decided otherwise. 
And left an entire city horrified . . . scared . . . angry . . . baying for blood. 

This is the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured. 

In this case of Shanker Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident. 

Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande?

Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

Book Links:

My Review:

Shankar Lande is a state bus driver. So, when he gets on a bus and starts to drive erratically it would have seemed like a normal thing for most of the public. But soon it is clear that he is on a rampage as he goes on to kill and maim numerous people and vehicles. It took 10 deaths and 70 injuries before the police could stop and arrest him. The crime was so heinous that most lawyers wouldn’t touch Shankar Lande’s case until a young lawyer decides to represent him. Varun Gupta is an idealist and as such he makes it his duty to do his best to defend his client even when the said client seems like a monster.

The book starts with a bang. It gets you in its grips almost immediately and doesn’t let go. From the very beginning the readers feel involved with the story partly due the hook that the author has masterfully placed in the beginning and partly because the story is based off a true incident from 2012. The author has kept the story going with some information drops and some action in regular intervals. There was a bit of sarcasm in the book, parts of which was directed towards today’s media and I couldn’t help but appreciate it. Description of events, specially the rampage, has been done well. The climax and the conclusion of the book are exceptionally suitable for the topic/case at hand. Though it left me bowled over at first, it felt like the only suitable ending later on.

What stood out the most in the book was the character of the antagonist, Shankar Lande. He is a man with many shades even though one would likely think of him only as a monster. But who in their right mind would go on a killing rampage like that. 10 dead, many with injuries that would last their lifetime and all directly involved were certainly scarred for life. It would be so easy to just hang the guy and be done with it. Instead the author has shown us that he is only human. He has his share of troubles, fallacies and dark shades that keep us from condemning him outright. Books like these often help me reaffirm my belief that a book is only as good as its antagonist. I also liked the various personalities brought in by the supporting cast. It makes for a good mix of characters.

I also appreciate the way the author has first broached and then handled the subject of mental health. It presented in a manner that would make readers comfortable with the idea instead of giving it the taboo feel. Handled in a matter of fact manner, the author has done a good job in bringing forth the matter.

All in all, an interesting book for thriller lovers.



About the Author:

Salil Desai is an author, columnist, and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015), and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and
Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book.
An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatized management training videos (www.relivingindia.
com) are much appreciated in the corporate world. He also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story
and scenario design, screenplay writing and film-making.
Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in
Denmark, hosted by the Danish Centre for Writers & Translators in June 2016.


Stalk the Author:
Website * Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series * Goodreads



Giveaway:
Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of The Sane Psychopath.

14 January, 2019

#BookReview :: The Word is Murder (Hawthorn #1) by Anthony Horowitz

SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?

New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes.

One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper – the wealthy mother of a famous actor - enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.

Six hours later she is found dead, strangled with a curtain cord in her own home.

Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric investigator who’s as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. Hawthorne needs a ghost writer to document his life; a Watson to his Holmes. He chooses Anthony Horowitz.

Drawn in against his will, Horowitz soon finds himself a the center of a story he cannot control. Hawthorne is brusque, temperamental and annoying but even so his latest case with its many twists and turns proves irresistible. The writer and the detective form an unusual partnership. At the same time, it soon becomes clear that Hawthorne is hiding some dark secrets of his own.


I read Magpie Murders by the same author last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also enjoyed reading Moriarty before that. So, it was almost inevitable that I would pick this one up.

When an old lady who is mostly loved by the people who knew her is found murdered at her home it was a surprise. But when it was discovered that she had planned and paid for her own funeral earlier on the same day, it was somewhat of a shocker. The police ask ex-policeman Daniel Hawthorne to investigate the case as a consultant to the force. Hawthorne had previously worked with Anthony Horowitz, again as a consultant, to help the author with some of the police procedures for a TV Show. He asks him to write a book about him. So, Anthony Horowitz follows the case with Hawthorne… What first seems to be an isolated case, soon takes a dangerous turn. Is Hawthorne up to the task?

Hawthorne is an interesting and a quirky character. His methods of detection are classic in the sense that he is more observant than anything. He notices the tiniest of details and can form ‘educated guesses’ based on them which reminded me of Sherlock & Poirot in many ways. But then he also has a darker side that keeps secrets and is abrupt and unpredictable in many ways. The plot was quite interesting and was the key reason that I kept plodding through the book even though I was irritated for almost the first 2/3rd of the book. The murder of Diana Cowper is puzzling in so many ways and then about halfway through the book the twists start appearing giving the story the elements of a whodunit. Even though the book is set in contemporary times, it has a very classic feeling like that of an Agatha Christie novel. 

I wish I could confidently say that this story was about launching Hawthorne to the world. It is the first in a series of Hawthorne series and as such it should have been that. But the author has managed to make it equally, if not more, about himself. When the book started, I found the idea of the author writing himself into a book as the narrator and sidekick for the protagonist was quirky. But I changed my mind soon, at least with this book the idea did not work at all. I now know more about Alex Rider, Foyle’s War and Tintin than I know about Hawthorne. It felt like shameless self promotion in guise of a fiction. There was nothing subtle about the way the author has talked about himself and it kind of felt narcissistic at points ; especially when at the same time he was trying to show the ‘character’ Anthony Horowitz’s frustration towards Hawthorne. Do not get me wrong… I love to hear and read about how authors feel about their books and characters, their writing process and every other kind of trivia about the authors and their books. But I’d rather read about them on their website/blog or newspaper articles etc. I am even open to reading their autobiography/biography for it. But self-promo where people are expecting murder and mystery felt like forced spoon feeding. The book would have been much shorter and fast paced if he had kept his self promo in check. In fact the actual plot picks up and the action/twists happen only at about halfway in. Needless to say, this narration style JUST DID NOT work for me.

I am not sure whether I want to continue with this series. A part of me says that the author maybe done with his self introduction and promotion with what felt like 100-150 pages of information on his life and career in this book. Another part of me says that he might not be done yet. So, only time will tell…



12 January, 2019

#BookReview :: Guardian Angel (Undercover Series #2) by Ruchi Singh

About the Book:



The Man
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel
Should an innocent man be left to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.







Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

My Review:

Security Officer Nikhil Mahajan was at the wrong place at the wrong time. When a bomb blast gives the miscreants the opportunity to abduct him, Nikhil is left at the mercy of a group of people who have no mercy.  Ayesha is given the duty of nursing a man back to health so that he can be tortured and interrogated. With Rehaan and Khala keeping a close eye on her, all the while planning her wedding, Ayesha has no choice but to nurse the stranger in her basement. What turns do their journeys take? And does fate have other plans for them?

At 130 odd pages, Guardian Angel is a quick read. Once I had the opportunity, I finished this book in one sitting. The book is more of an adventure than anything else. On one hand we have Nikhil, who is injured and captured. On the other hand, we have Ayesha who has a wedding coming up and the duty of caring for a complete stranger. The story concentrates on their adventure as they try to navigate the hand that they have been dealt. I like the fact that the author hasn’t tried to force a romance from the beginning. The first part of the story helps build the core of the characters that we are being told about. There’s action and drama that helps build up a reader’s interest in the book. Romance comes in second and entertains the readers further in a different way. For once, I did like the fact that the girl takes some initiative as well. The author has kept the romance light and sexy.

I loved the character of Ayesha. She is a girl who knows what she wants and ready to do what it takes to get what she wants. She is a character that I liked because of all that she represents – she is brave, smart and sexy. I wish that there was more action in the book that involved her. From all that we know about her in the book, it would have just been like a cherry on the cake if she had a bit more action part in the book. This is probably the only point where I can nitpick about the book.

Though this is the second book in the Undercover Series, this book can be read as a standalone. I have not read the first book, The Bodyguard, and though there are some mentions of characters from the first book, the author has provided enough information to satisfy the readers. In fact, she has gone ahead and made me feel so curious about one particular character that it makes me want to pick up The Bodyguard.

All in all, the book offers interesting characters, drama, action and romance – everything a romantic suspense should be.


About the Author:
Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favourite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.



Giveaway:

~ 1 winner for 500/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel
~ 1 winner for 250/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel



11 January, 2019

#Interview with Mamta Anand, #Author of Shades of Silence

About the Author:
Dr. Mamta Anand is Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature at Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing, Jabalpur. M.P. (Established by MHRD Govt. of India, an Institute of National Importance by an act of the Parliament). As Fulbright Fellow (2008-2009), she did Doctoral research at Harvard University and Colgate University, USA. She bagged an International Research Award from Emerson Society, Washington DC USA in 2006. Alumni of Banasthali University, Rajasthan and English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, she has several awards for creative writing and research papers in journals of repute. Her book on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, former President of India is housed in the Parliament House Library of India. Dr. Anand writes stories and poems. They have been published in esteemed journals like Sahitya Akademi and Muse India, and are taught in the University and Colleges of India.

Find her on Facebook

An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I realized, I needed to be a writer at the young age of ten. I was always a day dreamer. The day this world started making sense to me, I imagined a lot, made stories in my mind on social situations. I could imagine scenes of my stories vividly. Added to this, sensitivity to social issues and handling of emotional problems of the people, made me think a lot about life. When thoughts got prepared I HAD TO WRITE! WRITING COMES TO ME AS EVOLUTION

What inspires you to write?
Writing comes to me as a natural urge to reach to myself and others. Yet, what inspires me to weave the words and scenes, is the LOVE to see the life flourish everywhere in the world. I EXPLORE the SPIRITUAL DOMAIN and design the plots to see how spiritual growth gives LIFE TO LIFE!

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Daily Newspapers, both local and national brought news of abandoning girl children on streets, lanes, platforms or even after the birth in the hospitals that left doctors, nurses and city administration perplexed. It hurt me to imagine the state of the baby and her fate. Gradually, following such reports and their investigations made me understand that a girl child will never be welcomed in the Indian society that has not given her MOTHER, the woman; her due place.
It began to reveal that woman will never find her proper place in life or society if she remains eclipsed in the married state by the name, position and status of her husband and male members in the family and organization.
The story, ‘Shades of Silence’, shows that the way for the evolution of the human race is in the woman realizing the worth of her MIND & HEART

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
There is one in the drawer and in fact many lying somewhere in MY MIND

Tell us about your writing process.
I take months and years to formulate a concept, observe the idea in life. Then, I process my feelings and experiences around the idea, catalyze it by imagination and deliver it through waves if feelings. Thus living my ideas for some time and studying about them makes me finally put the scenes on the paper to find what’s REAL IN THEM.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Out of several -My most favorite scene in the book, ‘Shades of Silence’, is when the main character ‘Rohini’ begins to live in the company of her unborn child – feeling the presence of the being as the soul without the body been detected in Ultra-sonography. 
I hope the readers would be able to understand through many scenes of the kind in the book on how LOVE GIVES RHYTHM TO THE SOULFUL LIFE!

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
I feel the characters in the book blossomed with LIFE OF THEIR OWN
I may not be able to identify with them.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I hope the readers too enjoy a roller coaster ride on feelings landing them in their IMAGINATION INTO A NEW WORLD- WHICH THEY LOVE

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read a lot. I read books of Science that are proving spirituality and philosophy to be true. Many of these books are from Neuroscience. I delve deep into Philosophy and try to figure out, how this can help many issues that we read in the newspapers – magazines and also see them creating problems in our lives.
My all time favorite writer is, Rabindranath Tagore. I like reading Ruskin Bond, S. Radhakrishnan, Emerson, Sri Aurobindo, Deepak Chopra, Arundhati Roy, R.K. Narayan, Mahatma Gandhi, J.L. Nehru, Shobha De, Sagarika Ghose – the list is expanding to include many others who have recently entered the field of Creative writing.

I have not picked individually from any one particular writer. Their traits impress me but, when I write my Character guide me.
I tend the bring my READERS AS CLOSE TO THE REAL LIFE AS POSSIBLE

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
KEEP ON WRITING- IS THE ONE I HAVE PUT TO PRACTICE

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
SEE THE LIFE AND WRITE

What would be the Dream Cast for your book if it was to be turned into a movie?
THE NOVEL SHADES OF SILENCE deserves to be turned into a movie. It shall change the mindset of the country on rapes, female feoticide, manhood and violence etc.
Mr. Amir Khan had picked these themes for his movies which are running into my book, in his highly impressive movies and TV Show- ‘Satya Meva Jayate’. His artistic endeavor concentrates on improving the society. This is what the book seeks.
The film shall have a Female Artist in the lead role- here I see, Ms. Rani Mukherjee doing well. Rest of the artists could be selected on the basis of their chemistry with Ms. Rani Mukherjee

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
1. Classical Bhajans of Pandit Jasraj, Songs of Lata Mangeshkar 
2. Writing Register and Pen.
3. Biography/ Autobiography of a great man- woman or a Movie

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I spend my free time in reading and writing.
My favorite place is visiting Nature parks, Malls and Coffee shops to unwind myself by observing the beauty of nature, watching children play and people enjoying the company of nature and each other.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I wish to work on several other themes. One that I am currently working on is about a housewife emerging as a role model saving her family from the doom of losing everything to bad relations.
My other two book projects are on non-fiction Academic writing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
LIVE ABUNDANTLY- Work for others, Enjoy a good company, Reach out to others and help them. Life will come GREETING YOU

About the Book:


Shades of Silence, is a story about the shades of our consciousness lit by the inner light dwelling in us, our soul. It is often in silence that we slip into our consciousness and evolve, a process catalyzed by the tragedies of life. 
Rohini suffers several attacks on her being, by many, who try to enslave her mind. She is turned homeless for refusing to abandon her new born. Loving presence of loved one makes her blossom in the mind and find the Sun of her being, her soul enthroned on the heart. Anguish disappears as she grows founded in the mind tuned to her heart. Rohini emerges victorious fighting the patriarchal bias, bringing the rape and murder mystery to a just end. Her battle to live with the truth and love is the battle of every human soul.




Book Link:
Amazon

10 January, 2019

#BookReview :: Cold Truth by Nikhil Pradhan

A missing girl. A curious journalist. A terrifying conspiracy. 

When 10-year-old Sakshi goes missing from East Delhi, almost no one, including the police seems too concerned. Not until a journalist begins to ask questions. Soon, what started as an innocuous investigation into corruption and systemic apathy begins to reek of a larger and terrifying conspiracy, as chilling secrets and long-dead skeletons tumble out.

Pieced together like a case-file, using police reports, interviews, leaked emails and WhatsApp conversations, COLD TRUTH takes you from the by-lanes of Delhi and the communist bunkers of Russia to the frozen grounds of Antarctica, following a trail that will leave you questioning what is real and what isn't.



Goodreads * Amazon


A ten year girl has gone missing and her concerned father has filed a police report. But the police seem to be twiddling their thumbs about the matter. It is only when a young journalist starts asking questions that people start to get concerned. But what does a young girl going missing from Delhi has to do with an international conspiracy? Will the girl ever be reunited with her family or is her fate already sealed? What will it cost the young journalist for taking an interest in the case?

The blurb of the book itself raised a lot of questions in the readers mind assuring that it would be picked up. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop… as I just had to ‘know’. The author has woven an interesting plot that keeps the readers engaged and entertained till he is done with telling the whole story. With charming and well developed characters the author has only added another layer to the story wherein the readers are encouraged to get involved in the lives of these characters and their choices. I have always enjoyed the epistolary format of storytelling. But with modern technologies, it is only fair that the author plays with other sources rather than sticking to letters. It was kind of fun too to see chats, voice notes, newspaper articles etc. used to tell the story. It kept the narrative interesting.

I would probably have loved this book a bit more if the action parts were done differently. It was more of ‘telling’ than ‘showing’ in the book. But other than that this is a good one.


Review Copy received from Harper Collins India




09 January, 2019

#DDSRecommends :: Memory Man (Amos Decker #1) by David Baldacci

Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


I have often picked up books that have been described as ‘riveting’ in their reviews. Sometimes they were really good and sometimes not.  But Memory Man by David Baldacci has been on my TBR list for quite a while and I finally got to it this year. This is what I call a ‘riveting’ book. It was compelling from the very beginning.

Amos Decker was a football player during his college years. After an injury on the field, his brain and his life in turn changed. He has a perfect memory and associates colours and numbers to people, things and situations. With his football career behind him, Amos Decker joined the police force and put his new found abilities to good use. So, it wasn’t a surprise that he climbed the ladder to earn a detective badge soon. Married to a supporting wife and a beautiful kid, his life was as good as it gets. Until… it wasn’t anymore. Amos lost his family to murder that wasn’t solved. It was sixteen months later that someone turned himself in for the murders and set the ball rolling. Soon bodies were dropping like flies and even with police and FBI on the case, they needed Amos. It seemed like the killer was always a step ahead and the only person who could have a shot at capturing the perpetrator was Amos Decker. But will it cost him his life?

I absolutely loved the character of Amos Decker. He is strong yet vulnerable. His memory is a superpower and a curse at the same time. He is still struggling with guilt and yet he is resolute about finding the killer. He felt very real with the varying characteristics of his personality. Most importantly, with the personal connection to the case in the book, he is a character you want to root for. I also loved the character of his partner, Lancaster. She is someone who is used to and has learnt to deal with Amos’s quirks. His social awkwardness doesn’t bother her and she has the beat on the mind that Amos has. Then there is the character of Alexandra Jamison who is another flawed personality. We see her as this cut throat journalist who will do anything to get to the latest news cycle. We also see her as a person who is ready to admit that she is wrong when she realizes it. We see the side of her that goes for the truth even when it threatens her life. Finally, there is Special Agent Bogart who understands Amos through his personal experience with a family member.

The author uses the first chapter to hook his readers by describing the scene where Amos returns home to find his family murdered. From there on it is one hell of a ride. Even though Amos has special abilities, we the readers are able to learn and discover aspects of the case along with Amos. There is a twist in every turn and each twist takes the story to a different level. With the climax bringing on one final twist just when we thought that we had it all figured out. Also, the antagonist was really intriguing. I could understand the person’s motivations and I would be lying if I said I wanted the person to be punished.  There is a dialogue by Amos where he asks his colleagues not to expect him to ‘fully blame’ the antagonist for the crimes. He says that he couldn’t and wouldn’t and at that point I was on the same page with Amos about it. 

The narrative of the story was spot on and I absolutely loved the book. With my current state of life, it was difficult to find time to sit and finish it in one sitting. But I picked up the book every time had even a moment… I just couldn’t let go till I was done. It was absolutely riveting!



08 January, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Sane Psychopath



*** Special Feature - January 2019 ***



About the Book:

Are some crimes unpardonable? 
A young lawyer is about to find out. 
It was just another day in Pune. Just another morning. 
Until a man decided otherwise. 
And left an entire city horrified . . . scared . . . angry . . . baying for blood. 

This is the story of Shanker Lande, driver of a state transport bus, who goes on a bone-chilling hour-long rampage on the streets of Pune—killing 10, maiming 70, and damaging over 100 vehicles, before he is captured. 

In this case of Shanker Lande vs the city of Pune, the difference between the criminal and the victims is clear as night and day. But a young idealistic lawyer, Varun Gupte, a Punekar, still decides to defend Lande. And in the process seeks help from a psychiatrist, a man who lost his son to the same incident. 

Caught in the pincer grip of their dilemmas, do the two men crumble? Do they unearth the truth? And does the truth absolve Lande?

Inspired by a real incident, The Sane Psychopath is a fictional exploration of a frightening murderous phenomenon of our times.

Book Links:

Excerpt:

On the road adjoining Swargate State Transport Depot, the traffic had yet to start building up, shops had barely begun to open, people and passengers were teeming around but the bustle was nothing compared to what it would usually be just half an hour later. Two girls on a scooter stopped right near the exit side gate. The girl riding pillion, Shalaka Patil, got down quickly with her travel bag and grinned at her friend.
“Thanks for the drop, Divya. I’ll be back next Wednesday, okay?”
They were hostel mates. “Wednesday? But what about Tuesday’s viva?”
“Who cares,” Shalaka giggled. “I’m going to have fun. All my cousins and uncles and aunts are getting together after so long in my native place. Can’t miss it for the world.”
Perhaps Divya would have said something in reply, but that was not to be. She had already spoken her last coherent words on earth.
For at that precise moment a bus shot through the Swargate Depot exit and sped towards them.
Shanker Lande honked loudly, gesticulated at the girls to move out of the way through the windscreen, as he charged at them.
The girls were shocked out of their senses at the metal monster tearing down at them, less than thirty feet away, and stood rooted to the spot for a vital second. Then Shalaka jolted to one side, moving out of the bus’s path but Divya tried and failed to start her scooter. Numb with fear she tried to get off the vehicle and jump away, but was still in the impact zone as the bus rammed the scooter. It hit her with such force that she was flung to one side, probably dead even before her body hit the tar.
The bus didn’t slow down or stop. It turned into the main road, ploughing into roadside stalls and hawker’s carts in its way. People started diving out of the way to safety while bystanders looked stunned at the unbelievable spectacle.
Shanker threw a glance over his shoulders at the damage done and the girl lying in the pool of blood, now fifty metres behind. There was no remorse on his face, as if it wasn’t a human being he’d just knocked over, just an illusory character in a video game. He turned to look ahead at the road, accelerating now, putting the bus into high gear, honking hard, overtaking cars and autos, dashing some. Scooterists, cyclists, and motorcyclists lost their balance or swerved out of the way. Those that didn’t were slammed or crushed. Pedestrians shouted abuses but to no avail. The bus tore through the streets like a manic metallic contraption gone haywire, with Shanker at the wheel, his grey eyes unblinking.

***

It took Swargate Depot Controller Chandrashekhar Rawat a few minutes to comprehend what the service workshop people were reporting—that Shanker Lande had simply driven away with an unattended breakdown service bus standing in the yard. A minute later, a security man informed Rawat about the girl horrifically mowed down just outside and other damage done. When the enormity finally dawned on Rawat’s mind, he immediately called the police control room. “Sir, Swargate ST stand Controller Rawat speaking. One of our drivers has just driven off with a service bus. He knocked down a young girl and dashed into several other shops and vehicles.”
“What? You mean deliberately?”
“Yes. He’s fled with the bus . . . he needs to be stopped . . . seems to have gone berserk,” Rawat explained as best as his dry mouth and panicked faculties could permit.
“Which direction has he taken? Anyone else in the bus? Bus number and description,” Police Control
demanded. Rawat licked his lips and conferred with the employees gathered in his cabin, then replied, “He turned towards Shankersheth Road. Please hurry. Bus number is MH-14—. Green and red breakdown service bus. Driver’s name is Shanker Lande.”

***

“Papa, tomorrow is my school picnic, no?” his daughter asked Sanjay Agarwal, as they halted at a traffic signal.
“Is it, beta? Mummy would know. Where are your teachers taking you this time?” he replied with a half-turned head. He hoped the traffic constable standing near the zebra crossing wouldn’t stop him for not wearing a helmet.
“Katraj zoo . . . Papa.”
But his daughter’s reply never reached Sanjay Agarwal’s ears, or if it did, it never registered on his mind. Because first the sound and then the sight of the green and red bus heading towards them at breakneck speed from behind, unnerved him.
All the signals Shanker Lande had crossed so far were yet to start functioning that morning. This was the first major crossroad and hence the signal was on. Just a handful of vehicles, two wheelers and cars, stood waiting about fifty metres away. He began honking. They better get out of the way. He wasn’t stopping. He blasted his horn again but the imbeciles failed to move. Well, so be it. He had his instructions. 
Shanker drove straight into them.
The bus hit Agarwal’s scooter and the car next to him with full force, mangling father and daughter on the spot. The car, an old Maruti, was hit on the passenger side and its metal ripped apart, getting stuck in the bus’s under carriage. It got dragged along with the bus for a few meters before the metal disentangled.
Two cyclists in the front were saved by a whisker even as their cycles got driven over.
The traffic constable who saw it happening from a few feet away, was aghast. Nothing in his tenure had prepared him for an accident quite like this. His hands first flew to cover his eyes and mouth. Then, outraged, he began feebly running after the bus, realized the futility of it, turned around and ran towards the writhing dead bodies of the unfortunate father and daughter. He and a small crowd that had gathered watched with horror the flesh and blood and entrails stuck to the road. A woman fainted. There was no point even in checking if either of them was alive. The constable controlled his nausea with superhuman effort. Someone in the crowd suddenly pointed to the crushed car. A badly injured and bleeding man stumbled out of it from the driver seat. He collapsed.
“Help,” he sobbed, “my wife . . . my wife.”
The constable and onlookers were galvanized into action. Someone quickly stopped a passing car. The man’s wife lay gruesomely trapped inside the warped metal, bleeding profusely, pinned to the passenger seat, horribly twisted. Shards of glass were all over her. Life was ebbing away in her open eyes and death was most certainly on its way. They only hoped she felt no pain, which was just wishful thinking.

***

Shanker’s foot pressed down hard on the accelerator. Speed didn’t really matter any longer. He could drive as fast as he wanted to. He had no use for the brake. His mobile phone began ringing as he started up a flyover, weaving dangerously away from a loaded tempo in his way. Banging wouldn’t  have helped. He just gave it a bump, as he began overtaking it. The tempo swerved towards the side by the force of the impact and hit a car next to it, which in turn crashed into the wall of the flyover. The mobile continued ringing. Shanker let it ring.

***

Inspector Raote had heard about the alert. He knew the bus might be heading his way. He’d already got two of his constables to stand by to give chase. Constable Mujawar was already sitting on his bike while Constable Bhagwat was once again checking the functions of his weapon, which he hadn’t fired in a long time, except during practice drill. The Baba Adam Wasti Police Chowky was situated on the road under the Ghashiram Kotwal flyover Inspector Raote spotted the bus as it crested the flyover and began hurling down the other end like a runaway roller coaster.
“Mujawar, Bhagwat, there he is. Go!”
Bhagwat and Mujawar looked in the direction Inspector Raote was pointing and then at each other. Bhagwat jumped on the pillion as Mujawar revved the bike.
“Sir, am I to shoot only at bus tyres to stop him?” Bhagwat asked, his heart pounding as he watched
the bus drive away.
Mujawar had already started moving.
“First hit the tyres,” Inspector Raote said. “If he does not stop, then orders are to shoot him.”
“Saheb, I am not confident of hitting a moving target. It’s too risky. Somebody else might get shot,”
Bhagwat replied, now almost fifteen feet away.
“Do your best,” Inspector Raote hollered back. “Don’t waste time. Get going.”
What else could he say?

About the Author:

Salil Desai is an author, columnist, and film-maker based in Pune. He is best known for his much-acclaimed Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series which includes 3 and a Half Murders (2017), The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen (2015), and Killing Ashish Karve (2014). His other popular books are Murder on a Side Street (2011) as well as a collection of short stories, Lost Libido and
Other Gulp Fiction (2012). The Sane Psychopath (2018) is his sixth book.
An alumnus of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Salil’s dramatized management training videos (www.relivingindia.
com) are much appreciated in the corporate world. He also conducts intensive workshops in creative fiction writing, story
and scenario design, screenplay writing and film-making.
Salil was also one of the four international authors worldwide selected for the HALD International Writers’ Residency in
Denmark, hosted by the Danish Centre for Writers & Translators in June 2016.


Stalk the Author:
Website * Inspector Saralkar Mystery Series * Goodreads



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