Book Review: The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn

For some reason, I’ve always shelved reading books of Gillian Flynn. When I saw this short book from the author, I thought this would give me an idea on her writing style.

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Book Review: ABCs of Horror, by Anmol Rawat

I’ve read very few books in the genre of horror. But one aspect of the book that I feel makes a lot of difference is the ability of the author to get the reader to experience the scene, rather than just state it. That was what I was expecting when I took up Anmol’s collection of stories titled ABCs of Horror.

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Book Review: Chronicler of the Undead, by Mainak Dhar

There are few books that seem to mix two genres, or traverse the fine line between the two. I don’t mind that, as long as they do justice to both. I’ve read romantic thrillers, comical murder mysteries etc. The blurb of this book promised a mix of horror and thriller, while throwing in an aspect that isn’t explored in IWE (or at least, not to my knowledge) — the undead or zombies. It also helped that I had heard about the author from friends as a writer who was established in the genre of horror.

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Book Review: Khel, The Writings, by Vishal Goswami


Each genre has its own particular characteristics, I feel. A fantasy works best when magic is at the forefront and a mystery when it makes the reader interested to solve the crime along with the tale. The genre of horror works best when the words make the reader imagine the scene, rather than saying it directly. It is this that I look for when I take a horror genre book to read.

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Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman


Some things change, and some remain the same. Perhaps it’s the power of memories that help keep these things the same. It’s a similar feeling when the protagonist of this novel returns to the farm which changed things when he was a child. He finds himself walking back to the back of the farm, to a pond that the girl there had once called an ocean. And then, we go into flashback. To the day he had turned seven but no one attended his birthday party. To the strong dislike he felt for the man who had not just taken his room, but also accidentally killed his cat. To the things he had to compromise with his sister. And to that day, when going along with his dad to find that man dead, he met a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, who took him to see her ocean. But the Hempstocks aren’t what they seem. To escape from the new “housekeeper”, he goes back to the hempstocks, and another adventure unravels.

Gripping; I don’t think any other word suits this story better. From the start, till the end, it engaged me and made me hold on to every word. Trust me, imagining some part of this novel wasn’t easy at all; actually it was creepy, given that the description was quite vivid. The characterization is amazing. You feel what a seven year old feels. The resentment toward the people who seem to be suddenly entering his world; thinking who can be trusted and who cannot, his fears and his innocence; every little detail was quite spot on. In a way, could relate to the nameless boy too. It took me a couple of reads to understand the ending though.

This is a book to savor! That’s certain!

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author(s): Neil Gaiman Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9781472208668 Publisher: Headline / Hachette India
No. of Pages: 260 Price: INR 299

I own a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 7th August 2015)


Book Review: Alex, by Pierre Lemaitre

In many discussions with book lovers and friends, the aspect of a good horror novel that has been said as most important is its ability to make the reader feel the horror the character feels. And in my notion, the aspects of a good crime fiction or mystery are threefold, viz. the detective, the victim(s) and the motive. These three are in addition to the plot which has to move quickly. Would I classify this novel as a horror or a crime thriller, I do not know, because it has the aspects of both.


The novel starts off with the kidnap of the character, Alex by a man who was stalking her. He takes her to a warehouse, forces her to strip and enter a wooden cage with the sole objective being to watch her die. The kidnap is witnessed, and the police are alerted, leading to Commandant Camille Verhœven being assigned the case by Jean Le Guen. While the police try to make heads and tails of the kidnapping, the novel takes us to Alex’s predicament at the warehouse, her mental state and thoughts. When the police identify the kidnapper and try to capture him, he commits suicide by jumping into oncoming traffic. Alex somehow escapes. But all is not well. Alex turns out to be a serial killer, and now the victim is the suspect and the case takes a turn. Why was she targeted by the kidnapper, and for what reason did she become a serial killer?

The element of horror is done too well I feel. Reading the mental state, the fear of what is coming, the pain she feels, trapped in the wooden cage where she can’t sit or stand properly, the humiliation of having to defecate from that cage which hangs seven feet off the ground, it comes out vividly. And it is hard to imagine. Also, in the second part of the book, the method of Alex as a serial killer is also quite hard to imagine. The pace in both these parts is quite well done.

Camille Verhœven as the lead detective feels right. He’s a bit reluctant to take the case given his past, but perhaps that’s the best reason for him to be in charge of the case. He’s determined, works in his own unique way, finds the strangest yet most plausible of solutions and has this knack to identify the strangeness of a character by looking at a photograph. He’s also very vocal and confident of his solutions. I enjoyed reading this character, and am eager to go back to reading the first book in the series to see if the character is as interesting as in this book.

I do not know if the victim here is Alex or her many victims, but Alex as a victim of the kidnapper is well chosen. There’s a reason she’s kidnapped, and had it not been for the kidnapper’s suicide, the plot might have been gory for her. Why she becomes the serial killer is also quite well explained later, and her chosen victims make sense then. Her mindset as the serial killer is also neatly done. This covers motive as well, so the aspects of crime fiction work well.

What makes the book a little hard to digest is that the reasoning of Alex’s past and her motive to become a serial killer seems very hurried and that makes the ending to the novel very hurried as well. It makes it seem like the author just wanted to tie everything in a nice bow and get it over with.

This is a book that’ll stay in my favorites for a while. A wonderful crime fiction that I shall read again soon.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: Alex Series: Verhœven #2
Author(s): Pierre Lemaitre
Translator: Frank Wynne
Genre: Crime Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9781782067481 Publisher:
Hachette India / Maclehose Press
No. of Pages: 354 Price: INR. 399

Reviewed for Hachette India in exchange for a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 26th July 2015)