• Winging It On Wit: Review of Tales From A Vending Machine November 21, 2013

    This one's a bit of a mix. Our protagonist Hasina is a salesgirl at an airport beverage stall with an unsympathetic boss and a thirst for wider horizons. Home doesn't offer much opportunities. Her father's shop is not doing well and her mother, who seems innocuous to begin with, later...
  • Taut, fast-paced, violent - Uninvited is not just an airport thriller November 21, 2013

    The setup could be the premise for a modern sitcom: Our protagonist is Hesketh, a tall, dark, handsome social scientist with Asperger's Syndrome, who's recently parted ways with his "bi-curious" girlfriend Kaitlin after her affair with his female colleague Stephanie. The two remain closely connected by their mutual love for...
  • Bapsi Sidhwa proves love is anything but blind June 7, 2013

    Bapsi Sidhwa slips into several skins in this collection of short stories. A young Gujarati wife crossing continents and cultures to her new husband in the US, an American wife in Lahore seeking companionship - and perhaps more - from a Pakistani minister, a conservative Parsee mother trying to convince...
  • The Masala Murder's got its recipe right December 4, 2012

    The cover blares bright lights, big city, mysterious women and plenty of mirchi. After that movie-posterish promise though, the first few pages seem a bit dry. ...
  • 'Lovetorn', an Indian Cinderella in Los Angeles November 23, 2012

    Bareilly to Beverly Hills is the journey sixteen-year-old Shalini Agarwal makes when her father moves to a new job in Los Angeles. And that journey, along with the changes it brings for Shalini and her family, is what Kavita Daswani's 'Lovetorn' is about. This book reads like the script of...
  • The Angel's Share is Rang De Basanti on cocaine October 8, 2012

    If you've spent time in hostel, consider your college friends the best you'll ever make, and get nostalgic about the person you used to be ten years ago, this book is going to touch a chord. If you've done your share of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, it'll probably make you...
  • 'Not Dead Yet,' more than meets the eye August 4, 2012

    Detective Superintendent Roy Grace returns in Not Dead Yet with marriage on his mind- he's about to become a father as well. Of course, distractions get in the way of domestic bliss in the shape of transatlantic rock stars, murder cases, court appearances, budget cuts and police rugby matches. Born-in-Bristol...
  • 'Hour of the Wolf', a WhoCantStopReadingIt August 4, 2012

    My first Hakan Nesser and I'm hooked. A young boy is killed by a hit-and-run driver and with his death begins a spiral of violence in the fictional location of Maardam. One of the victims is the estranged son of Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, venerated to mythical proportions by the...
  • Sweet Sixteen (Yeah, Right!) is more of an Oh, No! June 25, 2012

    Vibha Batra checks all possible teen-lit boxes: hunky teen hero, hormonal teen heroine, rain dances, Facebook status updates, iPod playlists, inconsiderate parents, stern principals, careless punctuation. Unfortunately a good plot is one thing that seems to have slipped through the cracks. Batra's writing is easy-breezy, her characters convincing if caricatured...
  • Tirumurti's 'Chennaivaasi' is a charming read June 8, 2012

    The disclosure first: The narrative trigger for this book is the relationship between a Tam Brahm boy and a Jewish-American girl. Substitute Bengali-Agnostic for Jewish-American and this could be my love story. Well, almost. I can't boast of shifting continents and cultures in an attempt to win over my in-laws,...
  • 'Edge of Desire' mirrors growing frenzy in politics May 25, 2012

    Tuhin A Sinha's protagonist Shruti Ranjan, at first glance, could be any of us. A newspaper journalist in a live-in relationship with a TV reporter, she agrees to an arranged marriage after discovering her boyfriend is involved with her best friend. So far, so cliched. But this is not going...