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Book Nook - 04-06-2019

Tuesday, June 04, 2019
By Deepa Gahlot

There are Lit Fests taking place all over the country, but the community of readers is dwindling. Still, passionate book lovers would like to know what others like themselves are reading. This Book Nook suggests some books, but would also like to connect with serious readers, or even casual airport book browsers. Do write in about books you have loved or hated and why. The best entries will be shared on this page. Please send your recommendations to adc.booknook@gmail.com

Cannibal Clayton
This new John Sandford book, Neon Prey, 29th in his bestselling Prey series, is not for the squeamish, featuring as it does, a cannibal as the villain. It is also a bit offensive, that characters comment on his bad breath, but joke about his peculiar fetish.

Sandford’s hero, US Marshal Lucas Davenport, gets involved in a case that would turn the most hardened stomach. Cops on the trail of loan shark Roger Smith’s hitman, Clayton Deese, find a whole lot of bodies buried behind his house adjoining a Louisiana swamp. As they scour the area for graves, under the supervision of local FBI agent Sandro Tremanty, they are horrified to find that Deese ate parts of his victims.

The man is sharp enough to give the cops a slip, and gang up with his half brother, Marion Beauchamps, who breaks into the homes of the wealthy in Las Vegas, and robs them after threatening, or inflicting, terrible violence on the hapless residents.

Davenport, accompanied by his regular deputies, Rae Givens and Bob Matees (who provide most of the wisecracks in the books), goes on a manhunt to capture the ruthless and elusive criminal, who, after joining his brother’s home invasion team, is doubly lethal. Beauchamp’s crew includes a pretty blonde, who goes by the name of Genesis ‘Geenie’ Cox, with more brains and guts than all the men put together, Davenport included. (One suspects she will turn up in future Prey books.)

The pursuit of Deese, that includes plenty of narrow escapes on the part of the gang, gets Davenport and Tramenty angry, exhausted and frustrated; even Deese’s boss, fed-up of his constant blackmail, would be happy if the revolting man was caught, or better still, killed.

Neon Prey is fast-paced and gripping thriller, even though the brutality inflicted on characters—a kidnap victim in particular—is distressing; more so because Sandford treats it so casually.

Neon Prey
By John Sandford
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 400

 

Excerpt Of Neon Prey
Lucas had an office in Minneapolis, but didn't work out of Minneapolis. He worked out of Washington, D.C., and reported to a bureaucrat named Russell Forte. The relationship was purely notional.

Because of the political arrangement that brought Lucas to the U.S. Marshal's service — he was a deputy U.S. Marshal — he was free to pick his own cases. There was a caveat: if a Washington politician called for help, he was bound at least to listen. The arrangement initially created some dissension within the Minneapolis office, but that had mostly gone away. The U.S. Marshal for the Minnesota District, Hal Oder, had been warned to keep his hands off Lucas, and he did, though he didn't like it.

If that were to change, Lucas would quit; and he'd proven valuable to a number of powerful politicians of both parties, so his protection was unlikely to go away. Not that he completely trusted any of them — even the best politicians were, in his mind, sneaky, unreliable motherfuckers. While he did occasional errands for them and sometimes took cases for the Minnesota District, his main occupation was chasing down hard-core killers.

Not any killers. Because of the way the federal law enforcement bureaucracy divided up tasks, he was mostly limited to killers who'd already had some contact with the federal court system. He didn't have the back-up resources of the FBI, but that was okay. Chasing down fugitives was more a matter of street work than technical processes, and that was what he was best at.

He was happy, as much as he'd ever been inside a law enforcement unit. Being a vigilante would be even better, but, of course, was both expensive and illegal.

He and Weather talked in the morning, and a bit later, he called Russell Forte in Washington.

"I've gotten some rumblings that the Davenport machine may be cranking up," Forte said. "I looked into it and while the FBI might not necessarily actively seek your help down there in New Orleans, they probably wouldn't drive you away with nunchucks."

"Bob and Rae?"

"Absolutely. Bob sent me a note yesterday saying that you might call and begging to get in on it, poor bastard," Forte said. "Listen, this guy, this Deese, the cannibal. Man, it would be nice if a marshal were to nail him. The PR would be, like, galactic."

"So I can pack my bag?"

"Yes. The FBI guy in charge of the site is named Sandro Tremanty and my friends among the FBI say that he is competent, which means he's probably on his way up. Try to treat him as an equal."

"That's not realistic, but I'll try."

 

SHORT TAKES
“Can you forget your true love?” asks Kulpreet Yadav’s new book, The Last Love Letter. “Akash is devastated when his wife Nisha dies of cancer, leaving him all alone to raise their fouryear- old daughter, Sara. He finds it impossible to deal with the void in his life, and coping with the demands of being a single parent makes the situation worse. The crisis affects his professional life as well, which, too, takes an unexpected turn. Subah is a painter who started hating men ever since she was dumped by her boyfriend for another woman. She runs an NGO that helps women whose lives have been ruined by abusive men. When Akash meets Subah their lives change forever, but Akash is ridden with guilt as he finds himself getting closer to Subah. Can he be in love with two women at the same time? The Last Love Letter explores the contours of broken relationships and the meaning of commitment in modern India. The book discovers that love is neither about control nor surrender but a blessing that can only be experienced by listening to the heart.”

The Last Love Letter
By Kulpreet Yadav
Publisher: Rupa
Pages: 242


Bela Raja’s Sparks Of Genius is about “How to Raise a Confident, Thinking Child.” Says the summary, “The most important gift you can give your child today—for their tomorrow! In this world of cut-throat competition, what can you do to give your child an edge? Would you like your children to be ready to face the future with confidence? Would you like to ensure that they are successful in whatever path they choose? How can you help them make the right decisions when faced with choices that are so diverse? Sparks of Genius is a detailed and well-researched account that will enable you to help your child grow into a thinking, feeling individual who is confident and empowered. It is packed with essential insights highlighted with examples to help you develop a deeper understanding of Security, Communication, Motivation and Movement—the four cornerstones that make a good thinker. In order to excel, what is most important for a young child is to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn, as well as the ability to ponder rich, meaningful questions that illuminate a whole new world of possibilities. Essentially, teaching your child how to think, rather than what to think, may be the most important gift you can give your child today—for their tomorrow. It is a gift we are losing in the mad rush of modern existence, and it is up to you, as sensitized parents and educators, to ensure it is passed on to your children.

Sparks Of Genius: How to Raise a Confident, Thinking Child
By Bela Raja
Publisher: Rupa
Pages:165



The synopsis of The Secret Life of Organizations states, “Universities may teach you many things, but they often neglect to tell you the key unwritten rule of career success: that doing well in your workplace is as much about knowing how your organization functions as it is about understanding your job and yourself. In The Secret Life of Organizations, expert HR professionals Shalini Lal and Pradnya Parasher tap into decades of experience and observations from working with prominent firms across the world to steer you through the fascinating inner life of companies as they answer these questions and more:

* How do you effectively transition from student life to a high-stakes work environment?
* How do you navigate hidden patterns of corporate culture?
* How do you capitalize on your personality to be most effective at work?
* How do you prepare for the unknowns of a fast-evolving work environment?

Sharp and effective, this enlightening guide to overcoming early challenges at the workplace gives you an insider view of what makes organizations tick, and helps you take the smart path to the top.”

The Secret Life of Organisations
By Shalini Lal & Pradnya Parasher
Publisher: Hachette India
Pages: 216

 
In Ajay Monga’s Skin Deep, “A fiery news reporter, Simran went undercover as a contestant in a pageant to expose the dark underbelly of the beauty business. But little did she know that she was being used as a pawn in a much bigger game. A seemingly acquiescent girl, Sania fought against patriarchal forces within her family and community to fulfil her dream of becoming a model. A media baron’s daughter, Sunidhi was at a vantage point in life but she frittered it all away with her entitlement. On the other hand, Shikha, who came from a humble background, used her body as a currency to get ahead. In a world that has commoditized femininity and idealized only one body type, Skin Deep is the story of four girls with diametrically different views about beauty and how their lives get inextricably enmeshed. They all get a rude awakening when a shocking incident reveals how the big bad world of ‘glamour in the buds’ breeds cradle snatchers, who are ready to devour anything.Inspired by true incidents, Skin Deep shines a light on the ugly truth behind the facade of beauty and glamour…”

Skin Deep
By Ajay Monga
Publisher: Rupa
Pages: 278

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