God is a Gamer…….. a review

Ravi Subramanian is the author for best-selling thrillers and he has not disappointed his fans. God is a gamer is an absolute page turner guaranteed to keep you engrossed and on your toes all through till the end. It has a whole range of everything…… terrorist attacks, murders, suicides, hit-and-runs, espionage, ATM heist, cyber crimes, online phishing, money laundering, illegal sites, online crimes, politician and underworld nexus etc. This is my second Ravi Subramanian book so when I started the book I knew what to expect and I was not disappointed. I read the book cover to cover non-stop in 7 hours……

The book takes you to the fascinating world of Bitcoins for use as alternative currency for online transactions. What follows is an interwoven series of events spanning across New York, Washington DC, Mumbai, Goa etc. The book starts with the assassination of US senator and close aide to the US President, Gillian Tan in Washington DC, on his way to a meeting with the US President for the use of Bitcoins as a legal form of currency. A phishing scandal in New York International Bank in Mumbai has disturbed the peace of the banking world and has put the job of Swami, head of retail banking on line. Meanwhile Josh Connelly in New York is preparing for a major ATM heist using the TOR browser and making online transactions on “Cotton Trail”, a website for all illegal activities like narcotics, prostitution, banned substance even paedophillia which is accessible only through TOR and making payments for all of these via Bitcoins.

The book is about Aditya and Sundeep…… mentor and close friends of Swami who are floundering with their gaming business. The death of a top banker and aspirant for the post of RBI governor Malvika puts the whole plot in a frenzy with the CBI and FBI joining hands to solve the various interconnected crimes. The job of solving all this falls on the FBI officer Adrian, Tony and Dan and CBI officer Kabir.

The story also revolves around Varun and Tanya. Their love and romance puts the story in a lighter note. While Varun helps his father Aditya’s floundering gaming business to get back into track, Tanya tries to come to terms with the mystery surrounding the death of her mother Malvika and suspects the finance minister’s hand in her death.

The book is beautifully interwoven with lots of twists and turns in the plot. I was very fascinated with the whole bitcoin theory….. the first I heard of it….. also using the concept of downloading Bot malware while updating the gaming programs into the plot was a genius. Gillian Tan’s wife Nikki, daughter Gloria and White house head of staff Mike Hendricks keep the plot twisted and confused. The thriller ends with the hooker’s blog connecting all the dots to complete the picture. I kept wondering about the tag line “Is revenge a crime”…….. I understood it only after I finished the epilogue.

What I liked about the book was the pace in which it moved. It kept me glued to the book asking for more. The chapters are very small so for a person with a short attention span this is god-send. I was totally flummoxed reading the epilogue. It turned the story round totally and gave the whole book a totally different angle. The book is very informative….. I had no idea of the .onion pseudo domain host sites that can be accessed only through TOR browsers. Using hotel key cards for an ATM heist and hacking into the bank servers to increase the withdrawal limits made me realise we are totally not safe at all times and that cyber crimes have reached our door steps….. we better wake up and take note. All in all I was transported to a whole new online world of cyber crimes which I had no idea about. It was an absolute revelation. My knowledge barely covered phishing and hacking….. The events took the concept of cyber crimes to a whole new level.

The cover of the book has the white house in the background and the Bitcoin logo. The pictorial depiction of the black clouds moving towards the White House in view of a whole new kind of sophisticated criminal genre in the form of Bitcoins being used to finance crime is a new challenge for the whole world and therefore very apt for the theme of the book.

What I didn’t like about the book were the number of characters in the book that kept increasing with every chapter and often I lost track of them…… some of them were totally unnecessary. The book moved too fast from Washington DC to New York to Mumbai to Goa and back so I wasn’t really able to connect to the characters or empathise with them. The prologue was absolutely unnecessary and was not part or in any way connected to the main plot. Some of the events in the book were totally not necessary. The dramatic end where the FBI and CBI are revealing the killer reminded me of CID’s ACP Pradyuman and Salunkhe and I kept waiting for Daya or Abhijeet (Shome) to do some door breaking ūüėÄ (LOL ).

The book is a gripping thriller and absolute value for money. Must read for all!!!

Thank you Blogadda for the autographed copy of the book it was an excellent read.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Daddy….. the birth of a Father……. a review

daddy

Tuhin A. Sinha’s latest book Daddy….. The birth of a Father came to me via PR Pundit. This is the first time I am reading a Tuhin Sinha. The book is a non-fiction book for childcare written by a hands on dad. This is the first book that I have read that is a comprehensive and pragmatic account of¬†childcare and parenting from the father’s viewpoint. The book covers the dos and don’ts of child care from the time the parents know of the pregnancy, the ultrasounds, what to expect when pregnant, all of it from the fathers perspective¬†to the birth of the child to the challenges of a hands on father with a newborn upto the age of 2 years when the child leaves for pre-school.

In today’s urban life of nuclear families with little or no support system we often find ourselves at a juncture of balancing the home and workplace. In the past this has been a job which has been exclusive to the woman. She gives up her career or has to balance both. In the process even though she tries hard it becomes impossible to justify both and she ends up feeling guilty. Sharing of responsibilities is so essential in the modern day fast life. ¬†Today we see more and more women returning back to work soon after the maternity leave, and more and more fathers opting for a flexible job timings so that they can be with the kids and take an active part in their initial days. This is a joy that was not an option for fathers in the past because it was “a woman’s job“.

Daddy is Tuhin Sinha’s personal journey of becoming a father and all the challenges that he and his wife have gone through in this process. The book depicts this role reversal and the challenges that the couple have faced. The book also takes into account the experiences of many other fathers with similar predicament and the result is a beautiful compilation of childcare from the father’s point of view.

The book also has write ups by a child psychologist and pediatricians simplifying some otherwise scary aspects in the life of a newborn. Tuhin Sinha has simplified childcare and has shown that you¬†can be loving and doting parent without being overly obsessed about it. I have come across many parents whose obsession with children take childcare to a whole new platform…… which is absolutely not healthy. Tuhin balanced his utter total love for his baby without being obsessed about it. The “helicopter parent syndrome” was dealt with very nicely. Especially considering the fact that ¬†parents hate being told that they are so.

The balance of extended family with grandparents and parents taking an active part in the child’s upbringing was dealt with very beautifully without stepping onto each others foot. The happy and secured upbringing for the child is an essential factor and including the grandparents and using their experience to give an all round development to the child was highlighted.

What I loved about the book is the simple language. The chapters were not too long and the anecdotes kept you glued to the writing. He simplified the mammoth task of child rearing and got you to enjoy it. He has amply justified the nuances of stay at home fathers and removed any stigma that has been associated with it. I found this fact refreshing. The pictorial references for swaddling a child, massage, bathing the child, burping the child are really a nice addition. The pragmatic approach to things that will happen and the practical way of handling them is something nobody else will tell you. The chapter on nannies in the Indian context was very informative.

Relationship of new parents post birth of a baby was a unique addition which I liked. The fact that life does not only have to be about the baby was endearing. The inclusion of a list of illnesses and a table of what to do when it happens was a good addition.  The chapters come with a short summary  at the end of it which lists the content of the chapter which in turn could serve as a to-do list for most fathers. The references from other fathers has helped give the book a well rounded approach and made the book sort of a handbook for fathers to-be. The dreamy and emotional letter in the end was a fabulous end to the book.

The cover pic of the two hands was beautiful. As a photographer I loved it. It clearly showed the love between the father and the child with the child grasping the finger of the father….. ¬†The personal pics in the inside covers makes Neev Tanish very real to the reader and also makes it a pictorial depiction of Tuhin’s personal journey.

What I didn’t think necessary was the lengthy prologue. The book is complete by itself….. the Bollywood connection to justify it was not required…… it was trying to validate the book. The effort was obvious…….The experiences of the common hands-on-dads made it more approachable because the book by itself is a beautiful rendition¬†of the relation of father and son and love comes through to me as a reader. All in all a good read and full value for money. A must buy for fathers starting a family and must gift for would-be mothers to gift¬†their clueless husbands.

Tuhin’s ¬†sensitivity of the whole what to expect when you’re expecting and later bringing up the child was so beautiful that I personally think all would-be mothers should be shoving the book down their hubby’s throats…. I know I would…….. “Kuch seekho”!!!

Thank you PR Pundit for the excellent read.

Private India…… a review

PRIVATE INDIA LR

I received this book as part of the BlogAdda Book review program.¬†This book is a culmination of two great minds. Our very own Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson of the Private series fame. It’s an absolute page turner thriller and promises to have you glued asking for more. The collaboration has the protagonists of both the authors coming together to solve this absolute interesting maze of events.

A series of serial killing rocks the city of Mumbai. The women murdered are strangulated with a yellow scarf. The ¬†murdered victims are the movers and shakers of Mumbai. They belong to different walks of life ranging from a doctor, to a journalist, to a singer, a politician, a principal, a judge, an actress……. with nothing in common among them on the face of it. The only common factors are the yellow scarf used for killing the victims and a series of trinkets placed around them. What ensues is a chase with a body found at every corner. ¬†The story is also of the troubled head of Private India, Santosh Wagh who lost his family in an accident. He is entrusted with the investigation of the serial murders. He and his team of investigators Nisha, Mubeen and Hari Padhi look for clues only to reach a dead-end at every corner. The entry of Jack Morgan fastens the pace of the investigation with all fingers pointing to the Attorney General who is embroiled in the killings at every stage.

Sanghi’s penchant for mythology comes through with the interesting trivia about the thuggee cult and the navratri festival, making Goddess Durga an important part of the story. Mumbai is the central theme where the book is based. So the author takes you everywhere from Malabar hill to cuffe parade to Mira Road.¬†The book has a little of everything criminal in Mumbai…….. the nexus between the police officer Rupesh and the underworld don Munna and Godman Nimboo baba, the corruption between the politicians and the judiciary, the betting racket angle, the bollywood angle, the maimed child beggar angle, child abuse, prostitution and political nexus and of course the terrorism angle……. just about everything criminal in Mumbai.

The cover of the book has this lovely picture of the gateway and the Taj hotel together in one frame, taken in magic hour. I particularly loved that shot also the pic of the bandra sea link at night is beautiful and it does show the Indian connection to the Private series…… very apt.

What I loved about the book was the small chapters. It kept me glued without letting me lose focus of the plot. Also the pace at which the book moved was fast enough to not let me lose the plot. Mumbai being one of my favorite cities and having lived there for a decade, I identified with the plot and the investigators. The trivia about the thuggee cult was totally new to me. Also the trivia about the various sects in India who were listed by the British as the killers was something I had never heard of. Being a Bengali, Durga and navratri are my favorite festivals so the significance of the nine avatars of Durga used in the book in this manner was well imbibed and a revelation. This is the first time that i have read Hindu mythology being used in a thriller in this way.

What I didn’t think necessary in the book was the terrorism angle……..¬†the Indian Mujahideen angle and the Pakistan and ISI angle could have been avoided as it did not contribute to the main plot in any way. The Nimboo Baba character was also unnecessary. The book was long winding and some of the details regarding the Mumbai serial bomb blasts was¬†totally¬†unnecessary though I must say that it is the first time that the serial blasts in the Mumbai locals has been highlighted. Usually it is only the Taj attack that people talk about.

All in all the book is a great read and value for money.

I want to thank BlogAdda for the excellent read…… it was wonderful!!!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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