22 September, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - My Top Four Self-Published Indian Novels

*** Special Feature - September 2019 ***

About the Book:
When TV actress Shagun Seth mysteriously dies in a beauty parlour in Mumbai, her mother slams murder charges on Shagun’s banker husband Chetan Seth. Chetan’s family suspects that he is being framed and requests private detective Mili Ray to investigate. As Mili and her lawyer-associate Gatha start work, Chetan is released on bail. Soon after, Shagun’s mother is killed! Is Chetan responsible for these murders?
Mili probes deeper and unravels shocking secrets buried beneath Shagun’s world of glitz that leave her baffled. An insecure boyfriend, an estranged husband, an opportunist colleague, a cunning TV producer – Shagun was surrounded by haters. Even her 12-year-old son didn’t want to see her alive. Why did everyone hate Shagun?
While meandering through dysfunctional family upheavals and dark showbiz sagas, ex-super cop Mili also struggles to tame her own internal demons. Will she be able to solve her second case as private detective or succumb to pressure and hang up her boots?
Who Killed the Murderer? is a gripping psychological thriller that will hook you right from the first page.

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads

My Top Four Self-Published Indian Novels

In the recent past, I read several fabulous books that were self-published. In this post, instead of discussing my books, I would like to share my list of top 4 self-published books by Indian authors. I highly recommend these books to all book lovers.

1. Bastard Hearts – Ambarish Ray (2017)

I was intrigued by the title of Ambarish Ray’s classy debut novella. When I started reading it, half-expecting a love story, I was in for a big surprise. The gripping prologue and the Goa setting pulled me in and the story that followed established just how appropriate the title was.

As the author says, “Bastard Hearts has three people in it. And the third one is you”. Ray succeeds in building an uncanny bond between his reader and the two key characters in the book through his persuasive writing and brilliant storytelling. The reference to ‘ticker tape eyes’, quirky names like ‘ASAP’, and love for Harold Robbins are just a few examples that made visualizing the characters a delightful experience.

I sailed along with ASAP, the protagonist, empathizing with his internal conflicts and enjoying his impromptu conversations with Donna (while trying to resist my seafood cravings!). But when I tried to guess what they would do next, I was stumped! The twists and surprises make for a refreshing, riveting read. The finer nuances in Ray’s writing reminded me of Kahlil Gibran and Albert Camus.
My favorite quote from the book: “His thoughts drifted back to thinking about his thoughts. The alien ones that came without being called for and refused to leave even when asked to.”

2. Some Hearts Run Wild – Jeevan Gaikwad (2018)

Jeevan Gaikwad’s absorbing debut novel ‘Some Hearts Run Wild’ is a compelling tale of love, friendship, dreams, and self-discovery that will tug at your heartstrings and keep you glued till the last page.

At the heart of this novel is an intense love story that is fresh and appealing. However, this is not a munching-on-a-quick-burger kind of speed-read romance. It is more like a leisurely three-course meal where you savor each bite and look forward to the next. The author’s writing style is elegant and powerful. At some places, the emotional subtleties brought back memories of Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Glass Palace’ and Rohinton Mistry’s ‘The Family Matters’.

While there are several key characters to keep you engaged in this brilliantly written book, the one person I cannot get off my mind is Urvashi Dutta, the protagonist. Urvashi is spontaneous and fiercely loyal. Youngsters at the crossroads of life will find her character very empowering.

All the other characters are relatable and their stories have been beautifully interwoven in this novel. They evoke a sea of emotions – joy, hope, love, anger, abhorrence, fulfilment. The author’s choice of metaphors to depict situations throughout the book is commendable. There is poetry too, and the conversations between some of the characters is worth reading multiple times. Overall, a great debut!

3. No Regrets – Shreya Upadhyaya (2018)

I loved reading 'No Regrets'. I bought this amazing book as part of a combo deal of two books by the same author. This is Shreya Upadhyaya’s second novel, but the first one that she self-published.
The story revolves round Arjun, a simple young man with unique dreams. After all, how many of us dream of becoming a truck driver? The hyperactive, good-natured Arjun did, in his childhood! He would tiptoe out of his house at night to sleep in a truck and often plead with truck drivers to hitch a ride. A concerned father, worried about his son’s choices in life, sent him to a hostel. But the prankster Arjun made his hostel life colorful and entertaining too! Reading about Arjun’s mischiefs, romance, and fun times in the hostel was a real treat!

The author beautifully builds the story to show how Arjun handles his failures and transforms his frivolities as he was growing up, while maintaining his trademark childlike cheer.

As Arjun shares his story with Akira, the love of his life, the reader can visualize the myriad of experiences that helped Arjun evolve with time. The book takes the reader through many beautiful, lesser-known places and I enjoyed learning about them. The highlights of the book are its unique characterization and captivating storytelling.

4. The Magician – Sonia Rao (2019)

Sonia Rao’s engrossing debut novel about love, lust, loss, and longing is a complete page-turner. I was glued to this ‘magical’ book right from the first page!

The book follows Sasha, Shantha, and Nilima as they meander through a series of unnerving challenges that life throws at them when they are least expecting it. There is an element of mystery built in the narrative which makes the book even more interesting. I would like to applaud the author for handling three protagonists and weaving in complex subplots in the story so effortlessly and making each of them relevant to the central plot. The writing style is lucid and builds an instant connect with the reader. I almost forgot that this is the author’s first novel.

The Tarot card readings and Shantha’s character add a whole new dimension to the book. Fashion designer Sasha’s mechanisms to cope with a loveless marriage and her quest for true love have been portrayed beautifully. Nilima’s character reminded me of a friend who suffered a similar loss and so I found her very relatable.

Without revealing more about the book, I would like to say that there is a little bit of Sasha, Nilima, and Shantha in all of us and that’s why these characters will stay etched in my memory.

Book Trailer:

About the Author
Moitrayee Bhaduri is an author, screenwriter, and content specialist. Her first book, The Sinister Silence (Srishti Publishers, 2015), is an edge-of-the-seat murder mystery that introduced the feisty private detective Mili Ray. Her second book Who Killed the Murderer? (TreeShade Books, 2019) is a fast-paced psychological thriller that revolves around the murder of a TV actress in a beauty parlour.
Moitrayee also writes screenplays for TV and freelances with IT firms as a content consultant. Before switching to a full-time writing career, she worked with organizations like IBM, Deloitte, and Oracle, among others, in various writing and people-managerial roles, for 15 years. An alumna of Loreto College and Jadavpur University, Moitrayee also has a certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.
Moitrayee enjoys conducting writing workshops for children and adults, encouraging them to cultivate a habit of reading. She is passionate about music, enjoys reviewing books and films, and loves dogs. Currently, she lives in Kolkata.

Contact the Author:
Blog * Facebook *  Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads 

Giveaway Details:
3 paperback copies of ‘Who Killed the Murderer?’ for Indian residents

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