A 622 page turner from the master story teller Nelson De Mille in “The Gold Coast”.
John Sutter is a pompous New York attorney specialising in family matters, with a beautiful wife Susan and living in her family mansion in Gold Coast. One of the last remaining mafia dons Frank Bellarosa buys their next door mansion and their lives change inexorably thereafter.
Both John and Susan are drawn to the magnetism and the charm of the Italian mafia don and they become like pawns in his world of things. There is a pending murder investigation against Frank for which John agrees to become the attorney for the day to secure bail on the same day as the arrest, in fact before lunch time. John being not a criminal lawyer had to agree because Frank helped him in an IRS investigation into John’s financial affairs.
Large pages are devoted to the interplay between John and Frank and the irretrievable break down of the marriage between John and Susan. Nelson has built up the story very well and carried it through and through admirably for 622 pages, because with a long book like this, invariably the reader tends to start yawning, half way through. Nelson’s writing is magnificent, its throbbing with excitement and pulsating with the joy of bringing somebody’s story to life. Goodreads 5/5
A breezy fast paced thriller from Chris Ryan “The Watchman” is a about an SAS operative being recruited to take down an MI-5 agent who had infiltrated into IRA and who had gone rogue.
Alex Temple is described as a daring commander with guts and intelligence aplenty to first lead an ambush into Sierra Leone to rescue two British TV news agents who were captured by rebels in that country. Immediately after that mission, he is called back urgently to tackle another menace – that is somebody was brutally murdering MI-5 officers one by one and it was feared that Joe Meehan who was the British agent who had been infiltrated into IRA was the man behind it.
A deadly game of cat and mouse, more deadly murders, some intelligence work, some deception, some sex, later it all goes down the wire. Of course there is a suspense at the end, as it has to be, to explain these dastardly killings.
Chris Ryan has written well with a fast paced narrative like an unputdownable novel. Goodreads 5/5
A 1994 thriller starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman among others, written and directed by Luc Besson.
Leon (Jean Reno) is a professional hitman. Matilda (Natalie Portman in her debut) is a 12 year old living in the same building as Leon. Matilda’s father gets caught in the drug business with corrupt DEA officials knocking him and his entire family out leaving her all alone. Leon tucks her into his house saving her from the police bosses.
Slowly they start jelling with each other, an unusual couple, he a hitman having no social skills and not even knowing how to read and she a smart kid with brains and wanting revenge for the death of her little brother. He teaches her the ropes and she teaches him to read and write. Strange.
It all ends up in a huge bust up with the police knocking down on the doors and several people getting dead and the whole neighbourhood coming down. Jean Reno and Natalie Portman have done good roles for their part, Natalie too good for a 12 year old kid. Good movie to watch for a time pass.
Brilliant book by Frederick Forsyth “Dogs of War” set in the murky world of mercenaries being used to topple governments where mineral stakes are high, very high.
Zangaro, a fictional African country is in the middle of it, some platinum reserves having been discovered there, with a corrupt president at the helm, ethnic clashes, broken down army, no economy to speak of. In comes Sir James Mansion a wealthy mining businessman smelling riches aplenty and his two handpicked assistants, Endean and Thorpe to do the dirty job for him. Endean tasked with finding mercenaries who will carry arms to the country, do an ambush and kill the president and ransack the place to tithers.
Forsyth does a detailed narrative of the reconnaissance part of the operation from recruiting friends to the mission, to procuring the necessary arms, equipment, boats, arranging everything legally, well almost all of them. Most of the narrative is dwelt on the preparation part of the operation.
And when you expect the operation will run to plan, Forsyth springs a surprise at the end. Cat Shannon, the English mercenary is in the thick of the things, does a meticulous job of planning the operation down to the last hour, minute with precision. This one is cult classic for the ages.
Re-read “The Day of the Jackal” the brilliant cult classic book by Frederick Forsyth. I had read this way back in college days, and re-reading it bought back memories.
Jackal aka Chacal aka Charles Calthrop was a professional assassin hired by OAS to kill Charles de Gaulle, the then French President. This had Forsyth brilliance written all over it. Jackal is a thorough professional in all the preparations he makes and the back up plans he has in hand and his quickness and ruthlessness in executing a job were all brilliant. Claude Lebel the detective on the French side charged with the task of bringing Jackal to boot while there was a leak in his ministries.
Forsyth has not mentioned what happened to Jacqueline the mistress of one of the French government officials after her leak was discovered. Nor of the three OAS men who brought Jackal into the picture. So in the end nobody knows, not even the British establishment what was the real identity of Jackal. Goodreads 5/5
Another one of those bustling, hustling crime thriller from the master writer James Hadley Chase. My all time favorite, i have probably read more books of him than anybody else. This time it is Chester Cain, a small time gambler and fast gunman who has made some neat bucks and come to Paradise Palms for a much needed vacation. The reception on arrival stuns him somewhat and his criminal instincts tell him something is wrong. Proved right, he is framed for the murder of a local politician in his hotel room, with the girl Clair who has been assigned to him. One thing leads to another, political rivalries, corrupt police man, Cain makes a getaway knowing that they will come after him fast and hard. He finds some mutual friends who don’t like the political leaders and willing to help him. Jail breaks, fighting, gun shooting, daring do, you name it you get it all in a Chase thriller. Chase always writes on the underdogs of the society and his narrative skills are par excellence. This is one unputdownable book. Goodreads 5/5
Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Maureen O’ Hara, Robert Newton, Charles Houghton among others. The film is set in 1820 and Pengallan (Charles Houghton) is a head of a gang which wrecks ships off the coast, kills the sailors and robs all the jewellery in the ships. This has been going on for some time. Mary Yellan (Maureen O’ Hara looking beautiful and undoubtedly the star of the movie) comes to Jamaica Inn, to visit her aunt. Unknown to her, uncle Joss (Leslie Banks) is the one who helps Pengallan with his ship wrecking business. In comes James Treheane (Robert Newton) an undercover cop who has infiltrated the wrecking gang. Mary gets involved with James, and it all comes down to a big fight at the next ship wrecking attempt, which fails because of Mary. Pengallan is quite a character with his arched eyebrows, funny accent and all but the star of the movie is undoubtedly Maureen O’ Hara. She looks beautiful throughout the movie and does enough to keep all eyes on her.
The Liberators by James Pattinson, is a story of a revolution gone wrong. Harvey London is famous for doing odd jobs which require much skill and daring. In one such job, he is left bloodies and penniless when he is offered a job to transport a revolutionary leader to the coast of Anagua, a fictional country in Latin America bordering the Caribbean. He is a accompanied by Pete, a tough young man. They have to face hurricane winds and rains while on the way, lose their boat, get into a dinghy which also capsizes, but miraculously survive to find themselves on the shore of Anagua but in hostile territory. There one girl Anita helps them to navigate through rough country with hunger, starvation, deprivation, fight with enemies pulling them through in a city Oxaca which unfortunately is denuded by a volcano and earthquake. The conquistadors move to another town but spies within their network wreck their supplies of arms & ammunition which was essential to their hopes of winning the war. After untold misery and fight, these three people find themselves at the gate of the revolution, when the unexpected happens. The narrative by James Pattinson is nice, it is quite fast flowing, though some words used are quite archaic. Goodreads 4/5
James Pattinson (1915-2009) was a prolific British author with more than 100 thrillers to his name.
Death of a Bogey by Douglas Warner is a brilliant, fast paced, riveting story about the death of a detective’s son who is a budding policeman and the father’s quest to seek revenge on the gangsters who did this. He manages to bring them to the court, but the absence of a key witness spoiled the case and they manage to walk away scot free. This book is set in the 40s London underground with gangsters looking to wrest control from each other. One of the gangs then bust a bank cash van with gold bullions and stash it away somewhere. How Detective Paul Raven, wrecks his revenge on both the gangs and busts the mobs and recovers the money is the rest of the story. The narrative is quite brilliant and fast moving.
Wikipedia does not give any entry for Douglas Warner, but the book cover says he was a journalist in 1932 and since 1954 he has been writing and travelling with occasional journalism in many countries including Italy, Spain, Australia and Ghana. Back in England in 1959 he met Detective Superintendent John Gosling and collaborated with him in a study of vice in London, called Shame of a City. His previous experience as a journalist among crooks and prostitutes helped him enormously when he came to write his highly successful thriller novels.
Sad that his books are out of print, and not much is known of him as a writer, no entry anywhere, but would love to get more of his books to read.
James Hadley Chase was one of those authors whose books usually lasts not more 170 to 180 pages (sometimes 220 pages) and each page is bustling with fast action. Murder, suspense, drama, police work, are all found in plenty in each of his books. And since Chase was born in India he usually has at least one reference to India or Indians in his books. This time in “Want to Stay Alive?” it is a Seminole Indian out in Paradise City who is out to make a fast buck killing a few rich people in an exclusive bridge club thereby spreading panic and making the remaining club members quake in their boots and release some monies to escape the brutal murders of their fellow members. The plan works fine and he starts getting busy, but a couple of murders too many heats up the place for the police to get into action. Poko Toholo the Seminole Indian a nut case having a sick mind has a couple of bedraggled dirty, sweaty, smelling couple to do some of his dirty work but somehow the plot unravels for each of them. A fast paced buzzing book, which is what is expected from James Hadley Chase.