Tag Archives: thriller

A Mumbai Thriller

It all starts with Fluffy’s violent death. The book is a tour de force, not just because of its length (960 pages). The characters are special and I was as fascinated by Sartaj Singh, the hard-working, likeable, but corrupt policeman as I was by Ganesh Gaitonde, the flawed and violent villain. Their personal stories are very complex and deeply linked to the city of Mumbai, its social strata and the layers of power. Knowing the ‚right‘ people can be crucial for police and thieves alike. I read the book in English – well – and Hindi. The author kindly provides a dictionary on his website, which is extremely helpful, even if you just want to doublecheck that your knowledge of Hindi swearwords is 100% up to scratch. One linguistic aspect really surprised me – I thought only Germans used the word ‚Handy‘ for mobile phone, but it is mentioned at least twice here.

I understood Ganesh Gaitonde best through his relationship with Jojo Mascarenas, a woman who runs a very lucrative „business“. And this relationship made me like him in a way and then fiercely dislike him in the end. As for Sartaj Singh: His corrupt dealings and his occasional violence seem natural in the environment he operates in, yet his conscience frequently makes itself heard, particularly when he reminisces about his dead father, who was also a policeman. It almost feels as if his actions are under constant scrutiny by a higher authority that doesn’t approve of unlawful actions.
Then there’s the guru – and the secret service, particularly Anjali – and the Pakistani intelligence officer that takes up knitting as a hobby to calm his nerves – and Mary, Jojo’s sister. They all have their own fascinating story and all these threads are woven into the complex fabric of Sacred Games. Give it to your friends for Christmas – or treat yourself. But be warned: It’s addictive! I didn’t want it to end and it still lingers in my thoughts.

Das Buch gibt es übrigens auch in der deutschen Übersetzung von Barbara Heller & Kathrin Razum.

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Two (Crime) Stories

I listened to John Lanchester when he read from his book Capital and knew I had to read it. It is about London after all – or rather about a street in London. It tells the tale of several families and their sorrows and joys in 2008. Their lives are disrupted by postcards, followed by nastier messages.
The book is also about suspected and real criminal activity, fraudulent and destructive behaviour, love in various forms and great despair. The „hurly-burly of family life“, as the author puts it, is presented to the reader without judgement. The double entendre of the title stayed with me throughout the story – and on a recent visit to London, I was wondering whether it would always be the place of choice for those who have made this city truly great – its people from all over the world and their creative approach to life.

A friend recommended the other story  to me. Luckily, one of my favourite London bookshops had this little gem in stock. Dag Solstad’s Professor Andersen’s Night is a fascinating study on solitude, inner monologues, their sometimes rather destructive and misleading nature and on friendships and how they evolve over time. I think it’s a novella. Would you agree?


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Just a quick note to say: Ratlines by the Northern Irish writer Stuart Neville is a GOOD read and hadn’t been on my book wish list for nothing. After reading a review in the Saturday edition of the Financial Times on 25 January 2013), I was intrigued by this story that travels between Germany’s, France’s and Ireland’s past and the present. But then I forgot about it for a while, until it caught my eyes on my way back to Berlin at Dublin airport. It’s not your ordinary crime thriller, since it uses quite a lot of historical facts and blends them with the fictional (and sometimes not so fictional characters). The main character Lieutenant Albert Ryan has a tough job to do and some difficult decisions to make, testing his integrity and makes him wonder what loyalty means. There are lots of twists in the story and yes, there’s love, too.  Or something like it. I know now what the title means. Do you want to find out, too?

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Herbstzeit – Krimizeit?

Diese Frage kann ich eindeutig mit „ja“ beantworten. Wenn die Tage länger werden, gruselt sich’s schöner. Und wenn der Krimi dann noch mit gutem Essen (meistens) und mit leckeren Weinen von der Mosel aufwartet, ist er in 2 Tagen „verschlungen“.

„Teufelsfrucht“ von Tom Hillenbrand ist eine schöne Einführung in die Welt der Gourmetküche und warum nicht immer alles Käse ist, was so aussieht, riecht und schmeckt. Außerdem lernt man ein bisschen Letzeburgisch, streift mit dem Antihelden Xavier Kieffer durch die Kasematten und wird beim Lesen richtig hungrig. Enjoy!

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