God is a Gamer

Title: God is a GamerGod is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 978-0-143-42139-9
Number of Pages: 310
Price [INR]: 299
Genre: Fiction/Crime

What happens when you cross gamer, banker, politician and terrorist with virtual money?

From the bestselling author of If God was a Banker comes the first ever bitcoin thriller. God Is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

Moving from Washington’s congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the Corporate boardrooms of Mumbai, this is Ravi Subramanian’s most gripping novel yet.

I have read Ravi Subramanian’s earlier books, The Bankster and Bankerupt and had enjoyed reading these racy pacy thrillers. So, was looking forward to his new book, God is a Gamer.

God is a Gamer is set across Washington DC, New York, Mumbai, Goa, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi and keeps moving back and forth between these cities. Multiple characters  are entwined in various plot lines involving banking, online gaming, bitcoins, investigations, BPO operations, love, lust and politics.

With short chapters, the story switches back and forth between these various sub-plots evenly, giving that complexity and tension that readers of a thriller crave for. So, there’s a senator who is assassinated in the US while in Mumbai, many customers become victims of a phishing attack in a large global bank. The CEO of this bank falls from the thirty-fourth floor of a building while another top official is killed in a hit and run accident. An ATM heist is committed in the US and a new online game revives the fortune of a gaming company. And then there’s the FBI, CBI and Mumbai Police working together to solve the murders and scams.

Interweaving all these sub plots is yet another plot (main?) which revolves around bitcoins, the new digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of the banking or financial institutions. This was something new for me and the detailed explanation of the bitcoin transaction process was insightful. However, how can one buy/sell these bitcoins and how is this virtual electronic currency converted into real cash, was not explained in the book. And that’s because, a few murders and crimes were committed to acquire these bitcoins in the story.

Having played FarmVille, the online farming game on Facebook, the discussions and the inside information shared in the book about Townsville, the new online game was both interesting and informative. The Confessions of the Hooker part either could have been explored a bit more or totally avoided, as it seemed a bit forced

God is a Gamer is a tremendously gripping thriller —almost addictive, till the near end. Towards the climax, it just lost its steam. The author avoided the most used axiom in story telling, “Show, don’t tell”, in God is a Gamer. Looks like to tie the loose ends from so many parallel stories, Ravi tells us the various connections and the relationships, pretty hastily! And this was kind of disappointing!

After having read the book and enjoyed it too, I am clueless about the title. I am not able to connect the God angle in this book.

The disappointment in the end is overshadowed simply because of the tight plot which keeps the reader engaged and hooked and impatient to turn the pages like a thriller should. God is a Gamer is an engaging and entertaining read!

Rating :

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

www.marryAghost.com

Title: www.marryAghost.comMarryAGhost
Author: Abhimanyu Jha
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN: 978-93-82665-19-9
Number of Pages: 246
Price [INR]: 195
Genre: Fiction

Oh…
You cannot go without me!
I know you are tired, but come,
This is the way.
– Rumi

Maahi has lost her way. The tired, desperate young soul who remembers nothing except dying next to sea waves and a strange golden-haired man.

Veeru is a young, happy-go-lucky entrepreneur who creates www.marryAghost.com, and gets pulled into an adventure when Maahi registers as the first ‘ghost’.

Asmita Burman is an old, half-blind professor who finds Maahi inexplicably, can hear and see ghosts, and knows way too much about them.

And then there’s D’Mello, a five-hundred-year-old ghost of a Portuguese nobleman also searching for Maahi, mysteriously appearing and disappearing.

Who will help Maahi get freedom by finding her golden-haired beloved in fourteen days before she gets trapped on earth, maybe forever?

Join the age-old battle between good and evil – a race between time, freedom and love that will eventually put the entire world in danger.

Ghosts and their world which is full of mysteries and unexplained phenomena fascinate and intrigue me. That their stories spook me at night is another story! The blurb of the book www.marryAghost.com promised a lot of excitement and thrill, so with great horror-laced expectations, I started reading this book.

The plot of the story is a novel one. A young entrepreneur Veeru, sets up a dating website www.marryAghost.com as a challenge. Maahi becomes her first client. Maahi has died recently and needs to find her way out into the oblivion within 8 days or else she will be trapped in this world in an intensely painful state for a long time. And the quest starts to find the man Maahi loved as that would help her finish her unfinished business on this earth. In the process, Veeru falls in love with the beautiful ghost, Maahi and they meet a 500 year old ghost of a Portuguese nobleman Mr D’Mello who is somehow related to her death.

I enjoyed reading most part of this book. Veeru and Maahi’s love story is tender and cute. Dr Burman adds to the intrigue. The way Maahi’s dream is decoded, the teleporting and telemorphing done by ghosts and that ghosts can experience emotions is interesting.

The story moves ahead with the sharing of point of views of Veeru and Maahi after every incident. While, it is a different style of treating a story and it helped explain their thoughts/intentions better but it was repetitive most of the time.

And finally when I read the last page, the big bubble of thrill and excitement burst, just like that, all of a sudden! It was a WTH moment which left a bad taste. I understand that a climax may not be the end of the story, the story can continue as a sequel in the next book, but in that book, the story has to resolve some conflict. www.marryAghost.com does no such thing. It just leaves the reader hanging with a three word phrase at the end. As promised on the blurb, there’s no ‘age-old battle between good and evil – a race between time, freedom and love that will eventually put the entire world in danger.’

www.marryAghost.com started with a lot of promise but left me disappointed as I kept the book down after reading the last page.

Rating :

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

Chapter 14 : The Redeemer

Team Writers’ Den

writers den

Read the previous chapters here – Game Of Blogs – Writers’ Den

The little chat that Cyrus had with the sub-inspector Duryodhan Desle in cell number 308 disturbed him. He had to get out of this police custody immediately. He requested Duryodhan to allow him to make a phone call.

As Cyrus made that one call, Duryodhan looked up and sniggered in his direction, before grabbing his paan from the drawer and made an attempt to look busy with some papers.

*             *             *              *                 *

JJ tapped her fingers on the table top, a habit she had when she was feeling restless, and glanced at her phone for the hundredth time hoping the clock would tick faster. But the time was moving at its annoying pace and the clock showed 3:30 in the afternoon . There was still no sign of the delivery boy.

Patience. Patience. She repeated. But then, while patience with hard work can move mountains, patience in idleness that she was convincing herself of, a few seconds ago, moves nothing, not even cobwebs. She took a deep breath in and opened her laptop to do something constructive.

The start-up page on the Google Chrome opened with her Facebook wall. As she checked her timeline, a smiling picture of Cyrus greeted her. Her heart did a complete somersault. She gave a wistful look at his picture hoping that he would join her soon. On an impulse, she clicked on his picture and saw his timeline. As she scrolled further down, she came across a link. http://cdslegalden.blogspot.in She opened the link and it led to a blog. Cyrus’s blog. An appreciative whistle escaped her lips.

The first post she saw…

Cyrus Blog

“Ok, so he has a blog! And writes about legal investigation cases “, she mused. Before, she could explore further, the delivery boy interrupted her, “Madam, your papers!”.

“At last!”, she muttered, before dismissing him with a curt nod of her head.

Immediately, she packed her laptop and the papers and rushed out.

*             *             *              *                 *

Duryodhan leered at her with a sick smile as he found that all the bail papers were in order. He shouted at the constable to bring Cyrus out from his cell.

JJ and Cyrus exchanged a look which was not lost on Duryodhan.

*             *             *              *                 *

JJ and Cyrus drank their coffee in companionable silence, until Cyrus finally broke the quiet. After all that she had done for him, he believed that it was time for him to come clean and tell her the truth. He cleared his throat and looked at her feeling all bashful and guilty.

“Actually, I have not been honest with you”, he stuttered.

It took her a moment to absorb it but she eventually lifted her right brow and looked back at him.

“I have been to the crime scene and have collected 3 pieces of evidence. I have a chocolate wrapper, a blank piece of paper and a thorn from the crime scene and Duryodhan knows about it. My instincts tell me, that these will lead us to crucial discoveries about the gruesome murder of lil’ Sophia.”, he explained.

“I have been thinking about these, since the past 3 days in that wretched cell but nothing is making any sense. I think we must consult the expert from Mumbai. His name is Aryan…”

“…Ahuja!”, JJ completed for him. He gave her an incredulous smile.

“Aah! So you have been snooping around my blog!”, he looked pleased now.

*             *             *              *                 *

Finding his address was a cake walk. As they reached his building, JJ stopped dead in her tracks. Cyrus looked at her with his eyebrows raised questioningly. After recovering from the initial shocked surprise, JJ found her voice and said, “This is where Tara stays too!”

He was about a head taller than her and had a clean short crew cut. He had distinct cheekbones and an angular jaw made him look devilishly handsome. He was lost deep in thought as he looked at the dull weather outside. JJ was busy admiring the man in front of her oblivious to the inner turmoil raging inside him. The man had aged right in front of their eyes. His earlier reaction of point blank refusal for taking up the case was a sharp contrast to the pensive looking man when they mentioned Sophia’s name.

Cyrus nudged JJ with his shoulder and gave her a withering look. He cleared his throat and said, “Please, Mr Ahuja, you must help us. If not for anything, at least for Sophia. She must have played in front of you…”

“Oh anything for Tara errr I mean, Sophia…. “, he stuttered and muttered, the overcast weather mirroring his mental state.

“Please, call me Aryan and tell me all that you know about this case”, his demeanour completely changed. He was all business.

*             *             *              *                 *

Read the next chapter of the story here

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Chapter 6 : The Vulnerables

Team Writers’ Den

writers den

Chapter 1: Mens Rea by Mahesh Sowani
Chapter 2: A Morning Star by Rohini Varun
Chapter 3: The Cursed One by Sreesha Divakaran
Chapter 4: The Vanquished by Aurindam Mukherjee
Chapter 5: The Insurmountable by Vinay Biradar

The story continues…

42% Complete…

JJ tapped her fingers on the table restlessly, as the file transfer continued to take its own sweet time. Her mind took her to the moment she had a chance encounter with Tara that night at News Today office. A casual chat with one of her colleague revealed something weird about Tara. Her curiosity was piqued and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. The search in the desk drawers did not reveal anything, so she looked at her computer.

While she willed the computer to reveal some dark secrets, Tara’s voice jolted her from her thoughts.

“What brings you here at this late hour? And what are you doing on my computer, JJ?”, she had asked. Her voice was smooth, like water calmly flowing over a smooth rock, though there was an icy glint in her eyes.

Beads of sweat trickled down the length of her body, as JJ struggled to stay calm.

“Of course, work. What else?” Did you like the “The Queen of Arabian Sea”?, she asked and hoped that Tara wouldn’t come and stand besides her, as she quickly closed the various open windows in the computer.

Tara was walking towards her desk, when a phone call distracted her. JJ gathered her bag, mouthed a bye and made a dash for the exit. Outside, she heaved a sigh of relief at her luck. Had she been there for a few more seconds, she would have seen Tara turning white into a sheet.

*             *             *              *                 *

Settling with a cup of coffee, she dialled his number. Cyrus picked up her call at the very first ring. Their relationship did not require the horrid nonsense of having to exchange pleasantries, so they got down to business, immediately. The 65 pictures captured by her DJI Phantom Drone were viewed and reviewed back and forth on their respective laptops.

A few pictures made her throw up while he squirmed in his chair. The body of the little girl, Sophia was discovered at a secluded area near railroad tracks. She had been bound, blindfolded, 666-lucisgagged, and stripped naked from the waist down. The child had been brutally tormented and it appeared that death came after hours of torture, having suffered injuries to her vagina and anus as a result of repeated sexual assaults. Something was carved on her forehead. Zooming the picture revealed it to be 666 which was cleverly concealed. It was the mark of the Beast. The blood had dried and blackened and encrusted around the symbol in haphazard patterns on her once beautiful face.

“Who could have done this?”, JJ asked, incredulously.

“The Lucifer’s army is at work. Looks like that the some new “initiates” are inducted in the army, with a baptsim in ‘blood and semen’ to make it all fine!”, explained Cyrus.

As she chewed on this revolting information, he felt the need to elaborate further, “Their rituals are based on the manipulation of energy and consciousness. They believe that blood contains the life-force energy, so drinking human blood is good for their inter-dimensional connection. They prefer young children because they are not contaminated like adults. Sex with corpses fresh or less is hailed as ‘divine’ too. Hard to accept isn’t it?”

“Sickos”, she said vehemently.

“Let’s get it cracking, lady. Will you work with me on this maiden case of mine?” He knew the answer, but he still asked. Was he feeling jittery at the enormity of task and the path that was laid ahead?

*             *             *              *                 *

She woke up from her nightmare with a start. Heart pounding in her ears, she tried to scream.

But when she tried to open her mouth, it was just not happening. Roohi’s nightmares were following her like a shadow. Sitting at the edge of her bed, Shekhar despised himself some more. He hated when his anger turned into tears.

*             *             *              *                 *

Read the next part of the story here by Archana Karkera

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Private India

an Title: Private IndiaPrivate India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Number of Pages: 470
Price [INR]: 350
Genre: Fiction

In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation – along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…

I have read Ashwin Sanghi’s Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key and enjoyed reading them. I liked the detailed the fast paced thrilling mystery in both these books which had loads of intrigue and insights along with a good dose of history and mythology. So, when India’s thriller writer Ashwin Sanghi collaborated with internationally acclaimed writer James Patterson (I have not read any of his books … have heard a lot about the various series though) to bring Patterson’s Private series to India, my expectations from these two bestselling authors together in this book were high.

It all starts with the murder of a woman strangulated with a yellow scarf and some strange trinkets in her hands. Private India, the world’s biggest detective agency is called in by the police to handle the case. And soon enough, there are more such murders in the city. All the victims are women and are murdered by strangulation with a yellow scarf around their necks and different religious and cultural symbols around them.

The agents at Private India get down to crack the case. In the process, they come across gangsters, a godman, corrupt cops and government officials who are involved in prostitution, betting, drugs, begging syndicate and even Pakistan’s ISI acting through the Indian Mujahideen who tries to plant bombs in Mumbai.

Apart from the description of high tech gadgets and techniques, Sanghi’s favourite subject of Hindu mythology and mysticism in the form of the nine avatars of Goddess Durga and their significance along with the Thugee cult during the British India finds a place in the story too, which made for an insightful and an interesting read.

Private India is a story that is action packed with the right amount of suspense and mystery. The needle of suspicion kept changing from one character to the other as the story progresses and that kept the intrigue and suspense alive. It is an absolute page turner as I finished reading it in a few hours.

The only gripe I had while reading Private India was poor or inappropriate word choices, awkward sentence structures and occasional lapses into bad grammar and incorrect (mostly missing) punctuation. All this was so much so that I had to re-read many sentences to understand what was being said.

But at the end of the day, what really matters is that the story kept me glued to it as the tension rose to a surprising conclusion. Also the large font size and nearly 100+ short chapters spread over 470 pages, made Private India an easy breezy read.

Rating :

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

Test Drive with Zest

Tata Motors’ new car Zest is just about to make its debut in the Indian market.

After seeing the looks and test driving the Tata Zest, I must say that the team @ Tata Motors has done a spectacular job, as the car not only has a grand stylish look but is also a step ahead in technology.

Tata Zest has contemporary youthful design. It has a design that reflects emotions. There’s a power bulge on the bonnet and sculpted and athletic body side with a signature Tata grille. The LED tail-lamps with homogeneous and wrap around looks along with projector headlamps are some new features that give it a distinct look.

Tata Zest

The interiors are modernistic and snazzy with a good leg, shoulder and headroom space. The dual tone look with beige and black color inside the cabin gives it an elegant look. There are accessory power sockets, cup and bottle holders, glove box unit through I feel that the car boot is a bit small.

This new car from Tata Motors is truly made to give a connected driving experience. It comes with an amazing and never seen before infotainment system. Zest comes with a Harman infotainment system which has a 5-inch touchscreen display. DSC_0299The music system supports AUX-in, Bluetooth, USB, SD card, iPod and FM/AM connectivity. So, howsoever you listen to your music outside the car, you can listen to it in the same way inside the Zest too. There are 8 speakers in car including both woofers and tweeters -installed at different locations throughout the car, each one producing its own sound to give a kind of concert quality of music.

At any given point of time 5 devices can be connected through Bluetooth in the Zest Infotainment System. The Infotainment System can be operated through voice commands. Through voice commands one can tune to FM stations by just saying, ‘Tune to 98.3 or FM Preset 3’ , play song in the Media by song name or album name or artist name. With voice commands even the contacts in the Phone Book can be dialed by just saying ‘Call Kshitij’ and SMSs can be read aloud too.  Even the Climate Control can be done by just saying ‘Set speed to 4 or set fan speed maximum or set temperature to 24’. The best thing about this voice command feature is that it recognizes Indian accent. The audio-visual driver assistance during reversing is an additional feature.

As a co-passenger during this test drive (Yes, I don’t drive!), I believe that Zest is a spectacular car from Tata Motors which is  a class apart with innovative features, connectivity and comfort.

Inside His Mind

Drabble

Is it lust or the thrill of exercising domination?

Is it because of their upbringing or their innate rage?

How do they rationalize their acts?

Does remorse and guilt plagues them ever?

Do they plan for it for days altogether or is it an impulsive thing?

And what about the selection of ‘objects’? Is it random or some specific preferences are considered?

How are the cries of helplessness and pain overpowered by sadistic pleasure?

If there’s one power that I’d like to have, it would be to read what goes on in the sick and demented mind of a rapist.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda for the prompt : What if you are blessed with a power to read others’ minds? Whose mind will you read and why?

Also linking this to July 2014 Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo

Masterstroke

My father believed that I would never make it big in life.

My mother never said anything but her silence said a lot.

Relatives and friends had trouble suppressing their smirks in my presence.

Ha! How much I’d love to see the look on their faces when they see me living in the lap of luxury…

And on television, today, as India’s Most Wanted!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time the entry must word Love and just 5 sentences to complete a story.

Linking it to January 2014 Ultimate Blog Challenge and NaBloPoMo

To read posts by fellow friends and UBC and NaBloPoMo participants, click here Jairam, Kajal, Kathy, Michelle, Nabanita, Richa, Suzy Que, Sheethal. Yes, we can do we with some more cheering and support. :)

wowbadge

Impossible is Nothing

wowbadgecooltext1108140704

I know at times, she hates me.

But she understands that all I want is to reach her maximum potential.

She realizes that it’s for her own good, because, there will never be a day when she will be free from it.

She knows why I push her to take an extra step or play that one more game of throwing the ball.

The other day, she saw me trip and fall down on the pavement as I lay there writhing in pain.

This time, she raised the bar… and walked towards me and hugged my weary but happy body.

cerebralpalsy-awareness

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time the entry must contain, ‘This time, she raised the bar…’

PS : Cerebral Palsy is a condition resulting from damage to the areas of the brain that control movement. It is not a disease. Depending on the type of Cerebral Palsy and the area of brain affected, a child may not be able to walk, move, talk, eat, or play in the same ways as other children. Cerebral Palsy treatment depends entirely on the needs of the person. A child with CP may require the assistance of a GP, a pediatrician, a physiotherapist, a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist, and/or an educational psychologist, along with a lot of support from family members. The aim is to help the child achieve as much independence as possible throughout his/her life.

Catch-22

wowbadgecooltext1108140704_thumb.png

He looked exasperatedly at the queue ahead of him. He would miss meeting the client for his sales pitch. The cascading effect of that made him grimace.

A faint ringtone brought him back from the anxious thoughts. As he took out his phone from the pocket, he speculated if the call was from the boss ‘reminding’ about his targets and/or impending pink slip.

The phone screen showed 38 missed calls in 10 mins! He wondered what was going on.

As his wife excitedly shared the news of a new life, he wondered if he was chasing misery or unleashing hope.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing prompts each weekend for Indian bloggers. This time your entry must contain, ‘38 missed calls in 10 mins! He/She wondered what was going on.’

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