361 by Donald E Westlake

Rating: 3/5
Read between November 3,2017 to November 6,2017

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count: 220
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
ISBN : 0843953578
Series : HCC #9

First Sentence:
I got off the plane from at Maguire, and sent a telegram to my dad from the terminal before they loaded us into buses.

Twenty three year old Raymond Kelly was looking forward to life. He had just been made civilian by Air Force and he had his whole life to figure out what he wanted to do next. He's coming home after three years and he's happy.

Everything changes for Raymond Kelly when his father ,Willard Kelly, who had come to pick him up, is shot dead and he's left for dead.

After spending more than a month in a hospital, loosing an eye and getting a limp he knows what he wants most. He want the answers as to why he had to go through what he went through.And he has decided he'll not stop until and unless he gets the answers and takes his revenge.

But everything is not so easy as it sounds. There are people who don't want him in New York and wouldn't hesitate to kill him. Who are these people?  Who killed Raymond's father? Will Ray be able to get his vengeance?

Major Characters:
Raymond Kelly - 23 year old guy who has returned home from air force after a stint of three years
Willard Kelly - Raymond's father
Bill Kelly - Raymond's elder brother
Ann Kelly - Bill's wife
Betsy Kelly - Bill's daughter
Smitty - The guy who warned Raymond
Ed Johnson - A private detective
Samuel Krishman, Andrew McArdle- Former boss of Willard Kelly
Eddie Kapp - A former mob boss whose case Willard Kelly had fought
Arnold Beeworthy- A reporter who had covered Eddie Kapp's case and written about Willard Kelly
Sara Beeworthy - Arnold's wife
Ed Ganolese- The current mob boss
William Cheever- man of Ed Ganolese

It's difficult to say what i really feel about 361 by Donald E Westlake. The book starts of great as you see the protagonist being attacked and his world being shattered.It grabs you from there and you are looking forward to see how he takes it from there.But here after a four to five pages the speed and thrill begins to dwindle and doesn't picks up pace till the last 50-60 pages of the of the book. The middle of the the book is all about Ray investigating. He doesn't have an idea about who attacked him and  why he was attacked and so sets out to find the answers to these questions. This journey is not that exciting. They play cards to pass time, sometimes watch movies when they have to wait. The hints are hard to come by and if they come across something they often lead to dead end. There are times when i was waiting for some action to happen and wait was turning out to be longer that i liked but isn't that life. The story is very realistic as to how a real person will feel at that situation. He's assisted in his search by his elder brother Bill who's clearly not cut for this kind of situation. We see their conflicts and often i felt for the guy. He's not that type and should have been left alone. There are points in the middle that keep the interest of the reader. We get to know new facts which sometimes drastically change the situation and make you guess the direction in which the story will now move. They also make the protagonist think about what he's doing and whether he'd would be doing what he set out to do.

I liked Eddie Kapp's character too. He's a former mob boss and as you get to know about him you can get why he was where he was. Let's just say he's a mean, selfish bastard, which you have to be in the profession of his choosing.

On the whole i would say that i liked the book but would have liked it more if the middle part had more pace in it. If you just look for a pace and thrill in a  book then you can get disappointed. But if you like a good realistic stories then you'd like it.

If you have read this book then do tell how did you felt about it? If you haven't then you can get the book from the following link:


( View in hindi: उपन्यास की कहानी कुछ यूँ है। २३ वर्षीय रेमंड केली एयर फाॅर्स से सेवा निवृत्त होकर तीन साल बाद अपने घर वापस लौट रहा है। उसके सामने अपनी पूरी ज़िन्दगी पड़ी है और ये ज़िन्दगी उसे कैसे बितानी है ये सोचने के लिए उसके पास काफी वक्त पड़ा है। वो अभी खुश है और अपने परिवार से मिलना चाहता है।
उसको लेने के लिए उसके पिता आये हैं और वो उनके साथ घर जाकर अपने बाकी परिवार से मिलने के लिए उत्सुक है। तीन साल ने उसके परिवार में काफी बदलाव कर दिया है। बड़े भाई की शादी हो गयी है और एक बच्चा भी है। वो उनसे मिलने के लिए ललायित है।
लेकिन उसके सपने तब चकनाचूर हो जाते हैं जब उसके और उसके पिता पर कुछ अज्ञात लोग हमला कर देते हैं। इस हमले में उसके पिता विल्लर्ड केली की मृत्यु हो जाती है और रेमंड बुरी तरह से घायल हो जाता है।
जब एक महीने बाद उसे होश आता है तो वो पाता है कि उसकी एक आँख खाराब हो गयी है जिसे निकाल दिया गया है। टखने इतने बुरी तरह से चोटिल हैं कि उसे ताजिंदगी लंगडाना पड़ेगा।
वो सोच सोचकर परेशान है कि ऐसा उसके साथ क्यों हुआ? कौन थे उसे मारने वाले? उसके पिता पे हमला क्यों किया गया? अब उसे केवल जवाब चाहिए। लेकिन कुछ लोग ऐसे हैं जिन्हें उसका सवाल पूछना पसंद नहीं आ रहा है। वो किसी भी हालत में रेमंड को चुप कराना चाहते हैं। फिर इसके लिए उन्हें एक और हमला क्यों न करना पड़े।
क्या होगा इस टकराव का नतीजा? क्या रेमंड अपने सवालों के जवाब जान पायेगा?

उपन्यास की शुरुआत बेहतरीन थी और वो आपको कहानी में आप पूरी तरह इन्वेस्ट हो जाते हो। हाँ, कहानी के मध्य भाग में रेमंड अपने भाई के साथ मिलकर सवालों के जवाब जानने के लिए निकलता है। ये हिस्सा थोड़ा धीमा है क्योंकि उसके पास इतने सुराग नहीं है। जहाँ जहाँ सुराग मिलते जाते हैं उधर उधर कई बार उसे मुँह की खानी पड़ती है। वो पेशेवर जासूस नहीं है तो उसका नौसीखियापन भी झलकता रहता है। इधर कहानी के पात्र जीवंत लगते हैं।
उपन्यास के अंत का हिस्सा काफी तगड़ा है। कई मोड़ कहानी में आते हैं और कहानी इतने तेज भागती है कि बीच के हिस्से के अहमियत समझ आने लगती है।
एक अच्छा उपन्यास जिसे एक बार पढ़ सकते हैं। अगर आपको कहानी में खाली थ्रिल चाहिए तो थोड़ा निराश कर सकता है। लेकिन अगर कहानी में किरदार जीवंत चाहिए तो आपको ये पसंद आएगा।)

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