Monthly Archives: September 2013

Moth Smoke

Moth Smokeby Mohsin Hamid

I read a review of this book a while back and, interested as I am becoming in Asian writers, decided to give it a go. 

Set in Lahore, Moth Smoke tells the story, though several voices, of Daru Shezad. Daru is a well-educated Junior Banker. So far his life has been fairly easy, mainly due to the respect people had for his father. He seems to have everything, but he soon learns just how fragile his way of life really is. 

Losing his job is the start of a journey that leads Daru on a much darker road. He falls in love with his best friend’s new wife, starts selling drugs, gets hooked on heroin and becomes involved with a criminally minded owner of a rickshaw business. 

But Daru is not a bad guy. He is trapped by a system that is corrupt and based on family ties rather than ability. He is also weak, and makes poor decisions. 

The road that Daru finds himself on is lonely and dark and the end is inevitable, if unexpected.

I found myself having a great deal of sympathy for Daru, even when I knew he was making terrible mistakes. We all reach points in our lives when we have to make decisions that we know will change our futures, and we don’t always get it right. IN Moth Smoke, Mohsin shows us what can happen if we get it wrong. More importantly, what happens when we can’t see the mistakes we have made and don’t do something to correct it.

Very well written and well observed. An insight into life in a country I know almost nothing about. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be adding his second book, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” to my wish list.

The Best A Man Can Get

the bedt a man can getby  John O’Farrell

John O’Farrell has an unnerving way of shining an all too bright light on the inner most thoughts of, if we are being honest, most men. 

Advertising jingle writer Michael Adams lives the kind of double life that I think many of my contemporaries would appreciate. Telling his wife he needs to work through the night, or visit clients in the far distant north, he escapes babies, nappies and commitments to the North London flat he shares with three other men. 

It all seems perfect. But can it last?

Well, obviously not! Eventually the lines between his two different lives begin to fray and he has to face the harsh realities of missed mortgage payments and a pregnant wife.

Told with great wit and sympathy, this book pops open the lid on how many men feel today. Despite how it sounds, Michael is not really as selfish as you may think. He loves his family and believes that his actions are for the best. 

When he eventually realises his mistake it is too late and he faces losing everything. And so as the bank close in he must work harder than ever before to get his life back on track.

I really enjoy John O’Farrell’s style. He is funny, enlightening and very easy to read.

The Watcher

The Watcherby Brian Freeman

This book was recommended to me by the same person that introduced me to Martina Cole and Karen Slaughter, so I was expecting something sinister, gritty and dark, but what I got was so much more.

When journalist Trish Verdure returns to her home town to try to solve a thirty-year-old murder, she opens a veritable Pandora’s Box. It is a murder that has haunted Lieutenant Jonathan Stride for decades. Not only was the victim his girlfriend’s sister, but he also let the prime suspect escape. 
But not everyone is happy with this new investigation, and someone is doing everything they can to persuade Trish to end her investigation. With no known witnesses, too many secrets and an ever shifting line up of suspects, it begins to look like the case will remain unsolved. 

But all is not as it seems. Past and present clash in this gripping tale of secret loves, tormented pasts, grief and corruption makes compelling reading.

I often find that crime thrillers give the reader no chance of working out who did what. Either that or they are so predictable that they are boring. Not so here.

All the clues are there, but the story is so well structured that I was left with some doubts right up to the end. And the final twist is a killer! 

In “The Witness”, Brian Freeman has created characters that are totally believable and realistically flawed. The book has great pace and I didn’t want to put it down once I had started.

It is a great book with lots of action. I must keep an eye out for more.