Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Night is Dark from Street to Street

Ramabai C. Trikannad

A couple of years ago, I reproduced two of my late grandmother's poems Love Ageth Not and How Long? Here is another, which, in my opinion, reveals a different side to her writing. The Night is Dark from Street to Street is mildly noirish, though I'm sure she never meant it to be. She mainly wrote about families, parenting, relationships, and faith and prayer, often with humour.

Ramabai C. Trikannad, writer and poet, was inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, Peter Cheney and Erle Stanley Gardner, and P.G. Wodehouse. Some of her other favourite authors and poets were Shaw, Wilde, Keats, and Shelley. She loved the Classics. Together, they influenced most of her simple yet lucid writing published in 1940s and 1950s, in now defunct publications. I have them all—a treasured gift from her eldest son and my uncle.

The night is dark from street to street
I grope with my hands and feel with my feet
I think longingly of my house
Awhile the empty streets I roam.

A cosy fireside, a well earned rest
A wife — an angel of the best
All these I left in heedlessness
'tis too late now to make redress.

So on I trudge the weary track
It is no use now looking back
Ah! Who's there? A step behind me
A hazy form I dimly see.

I see it stealthily advance
I vow to fight and take my chance
"Hullo!" 'tis Swami, "How do you do?"
"I have run out of tobacco too!"

Step by step we walk very fast
The tobacco shop light gleams at last.



© Ramabai C. Trikannad

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dead Imagination

I published this short story on my blog on September 2, 2011, and felt like sharing it again. Not many read it the first time. I wrote it off the top of my head one afternoon. I hope you like it.


The young man boarded the last train out of Churchgate station and took a window seat. He looked at his watch, 12.55 am. In another five minutes he would be on his way home, way up north of Mumbai. He was alone in the first-class compartment. He pulled his rucksack close to him and looked out of the window. There was nobody on the platform either. He glanced at his watch again, almost one. He reached inside his jacket, felt the white envelope, and closed his eyes.

“Give me everything you've got. Your wallet, your watch, your phone, your bag…everything,” a gruff voice said.

The young man looked up and stared into the barrel of a crude pistol held unsteadily by a filthy looking mugger with bloodshot eyes. He reeked of cheap country liquor.

“Now!” he barked.

“Go to hell,” the young man said.

“Well then, I'm just going to have to shoot you,” the hoodlum said menacingly.

“Go ahead. You don't scare me.”

The mugger pressed the gun barrel hard into the young man’s cheek, twisted his face and rammed it against the paan-stained window grill.

“Brave but stupid, aren't you?” he mocked. “I'm going to kill you and take everything, even your pathetic life that no one gives a shit about.”

“Shoot and get it over with,” the young man croaked.

The hand behind the gun shook before firing…once, twice, thrice. The young man’s head jerked back and his face disintegrated.

The train moved out of the station.

Red nails dug into the young man’s shoulder.

“Wake up! You fell asleep over your sandwich and you spilled ketchup all over the front of your shirt,” the girl said. “You better clean up fast, the boss wants to see you.”

“What?”

“Are you deaf? Didn't you hear what I just said? The boss wants to see you!”

“Why?”

“How the hell should I know?”

The young man stood up, brushed his shirt with paper napkins, and walked into the office of the resident editor.

“Close the door and take a seat,” the boss said. “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“No, thanks. You wanted to see me?”

“Yes, I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your services have been terminated with immediate effect. I'm sorry, kid.”

The young man came wide awake. “What? Why? Wha...wha...what did I do?” He stammered.

“I don't know, probably nothing. The board passes the sentence, I execute it,” the boss said and tossed a white envelope across the desk. “Sign one copy and hand it back. I'll give you a good recommendation. You'll be back in the newsroom in no time. Just not this one.”

“What?”


© Prashant C. Trikannad, 2011

Saturday, 23 July 2016

New fiction previews: six mysteries and thrillers

I'm always curious about intriguing titles and covers of novels I read about online. They often convey little which makes them interesting. The only way to find out is to read them. And that's not always possible. I came across these six mysteries and thrillers, published recently or to be published soon, on Twitter, and thought I'd feature them here. I hope to read them someday. Have you read any of these novels?

Falling Suns by J.A. Corrigan

Falling Suns, the debut novel of short story writer J.A. Corrigan, is "a psychological thriller for fans of Belinda Bauer, Mark Edwards, Clare Mackintosh—a dark and brooding tale about the horrors that can lurk within a family."

Blurb
Ex-DI Rachel’s small son is missing. Then his body is discovered. Her cousin Michael is found guilty of his murder and incarcerated in a secure psychiatric unit.

Four years later, now divorced and back in the police force, Rachel discovers that Michael is being released to a less secure step-down unit, with his freedom a likely eventuality. Unable to cope with this, she decides upon revenge, assuming a new identity to hunt him down and kill him. 


However, as she closes in on her target, her friend Jonathan, a journalist, uncovers some unnerving information about her mother and others in her family and begins to suspect that Rachel’s perception of the truth might not be as accurate as she thinks — that she might be about to murder the wrong man.

The 320-page book has been published by Accent Press (July 14, 2016) and sold by Amazon Digital Services.



The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10 by New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ware, is a suspenseful and haunting novel set at sea.

Blurb

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…


With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

The 352-page novel has been published by Gallery/Scout Press.



The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet

Jacqueline Diamond's 101st novel The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet, a Safe Harbor Medical Mysteries Book 1, is a mystery series featuring an obstetrician who investigates deaths affecting his patients. It's a spin-off of her seventeen-book Safe Harbor Medical romance series, previously published by Harlequin.

Blurb

Dr. Eric Darcy is on the trail of his patient’s killer.

The mother of triplets stuns the young obstetrician by claiming there was a fourth baby, a quadruplet stolen from her at birth years ago. Is there a deadly secret hidden in an old medical file…which has just disappeared?

When someone murders his patient, Eric believes the police in his small town are dismissing a vital clue. Then the bodies start to pile up. Never imagining his own life might be in jeopardy, the widowed doctor turns amateur sleuth, partnering with his private investigator sister-in-law. Don’t miss this fun cozy mystery with a touch of medical thriller!


Readers of USA Today bestselling novelist Jacqueline Diamond’s Safe Harbor Medical romances will love this spin-off series. Mystery fans will welcome the return to the genre by the author of Danger Music and The Eyes of a Stranger.

Diamond says, "Writing has always been my passion, and fortunately, I never run short of ideas. As a result, my one hundred published novels cover a range of genres, including Regency romance, science fiction, fantasy, romance, humor and mystery."

The 202-page is published by K. Loren Wilson and sold by Amazon Digital Services.



Child Not Found by Ray Daniel

Child Not Found by Massachusetts-based crime fiction writer Ray Daniel, is the third suspense novel in his Aloysius Tucker mystery series.

Blurb

For Aloysius Tucker, taking his nine-year-old cousin Maria sledding is all about frozen toes and hot coffee in the warming house. It shouldn’t involve chasing after Maria as she’s led into a long black car by a stranger in a Bruins jacket. But by the end of the crisp December morning Maria is gone, her mother is dead, and her father?mafia don Sal?has been arrested for murder.


Sensing blood in the water, would-be successors to Sal’s criminal empire square off, agreeing on nothing but the idea that Sal’s blood relative, Tucker, needs to be eliminated. Searching for Maria through sub-zero days and nights, Tucker persists even as his relentless efforts draw him into a deadly crossfire between every power-hungry crook in Boston.

The 384-page novel has been published by Midnight Ink.


Doubt by C.E. Tobisman

Doubt is appellate attorney C.E. Tobisman's first novel in her new series featuring Caroline Auden.

Blurb

Meet Caroline Auden. The closer she gets to justice, the further she gets from the law.

When Caroline Auden lands a job at a top Los Angeles law firm, she’s excited for the challenge—and grateful for the chance to put her dark past as a computer hacker behind her. Right away, her new boss asks her to find out whether a popular GMO causes healthy people to fall ill. Caroline is only supposed to dig in the trenches and report up the ladder, but her tech background and intuition take her further than planned. When she suspects a link between the death of a prominent scientist and the shadowy biotech giant, she cries foul and soon finds herself in the crosshairs. The clock is ticking and thousands of lives are on the line…including her own.


Now this rookie lawyer with a troubled past and a penchant for hacking must prove a billion-dollar company is responsible for thousands of deaths…before they come after her.

The 348-page novel is published by Thomas & Mercer (August 1, 2016) and sold by Amazon Digital Services.



Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe is New York-based author Walter Mosley's fourteenth novel in his Easy Rawlins series. His novel Devil in the Blue Dress was made into a film of the same name starring Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle.

Blurb

Life for Easy Rawlins is surprisingly...easy. He's living off the proceeds of his last case, trying to keep out of trouble. Of course it's not going to last.

Because Easy's old friend Mouse knocks on his door. Mouse is one of the deadliest men in America. And Mouse wants a small favour. He wants Easy to help a man he says is wrongly imprisoned, a friend of Charcoal Joe.


Charcoal Joe is a mythical figure in the LA underworld—he pulls all the strings but keeps out of sight. Reluctantly, Easy agrees—he owes Mouse his life. But this is no small favour. It's going to be Easy's deadliest investigation yet. It's going to take him from the beaches of Malibu to the shadiest stretches of Sunset in a frenetic adventure through a wild and unrepentant city.

The 320-page novel is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and sold by Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.



Note: I have sourced the images of the authors and covers from the websites of the authors and publishers, in some cases via Google Images.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Unscheduled break

I probably won't be blogging the rest of this week as I'm recovering from viral fever, mainly throat infection and headache. It's the headache that bothers me more than the sudden bouts of coughing and feverish feeling. But nothing that rest, plenty of fluids, and the doc's medicines won't cure. I will try and utilise the break to read provided my eyes don't water. Incessant rains have brought relief from the scorching Indian summer and with it monsoon ailments too. Right now, viral fever and jaundice are in the air while malaria and dengue can't be far away. It's the same story every year. Too many people with too many bad habits. Well, you live and you don't necessarily learn.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Drabble #6: A story in 100 words

“Where is he?” the monk asked softly.

“In the Caribbeans, Master,” the disciple bowed.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Master.”

“It doesn’t matter where he is, anyway. You may leave now.”

The monk closed his eyes and slipped into a trance.

At that moment, some 8,000 miles away, master criminal Billy “Sabretooth” Butcher was walking his dog on the beach when he felt a constriction in his throat and dropped dead.

The monk opened his eyes, balled his hands into fists, and hissed — “Justice!”


Note: For the previous five Drabbles, click here.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Preview: The Sign of Fear by Robert Ryan, 2016

The Sign of Fear (2016) by Robert Ryan, the London-based author, journalist, travel writer and screenwriter, is the fourth book in the Dr. John Watson at War series, where Sherlock Holmes' friend and sounding board plays detective. The previous three novels are A Study in Murder (2015), The Dead Can Wait (2014) and Dead Man's Land (2013). Many of his novels are set in World War I & II. I haven't read any of his books but every one of them sounds interesting.

© Simon & Schuster UK
Here is a synopsis of The Sign of Fear.

The skies above London hum with danger. And in the Channel enemies lie in wait...
 

Autumn, 1917. London is not the city that Dr John Watson and Sherlock Holmes once bestrode like giants. Terror has come from the sky and Londoners are scurrying underground in fear.

Then a twin tragedy strikes Watson. An old friend, Staff Nurse Jennings, is on a boat-ambulance torpedoed in the Channel with no survivors. And his concert-going companion, Sir Gilbert Hardy, is kidnapped.

Then comes the gruesome ransom demand, for Sir Gilbert and four others, which will involve terrible mutilation unless the demands are met.

Help comes from an unlikely source when Watson finds himself face-to-face with his old ruthless adversary, the "She Wolf" Miss Pillbody. She makes him a remarkable offer and so an unlikely partnership is formed - the enemy spy and Sherlock Holmes's faithful companion, a detective duo which will eventually uncover a shocking case of state-sponsored murder and find Watson on board a German bomber, with a crew intent on setting London ablaze. 


The book has received good ratings. Reader Keith Currie had this to say about the book at Goodreads:

© Goodreads
"This is the fourth in the Doctor Watson series and maintains the very high standard of the earlier novels. The bombing of London is the focus here, as well as a train load of migrant Chinese workers who appear to have contracted a mysterious disease. This is a much darker novel than the others, which did have their own harrowing moments. Be aware also that there are about three or four plot lines going on at the same time. I did wonder if the momentum could be maintained throughout, but the author succeeded admirably, if rather depressingly too."