Sunday, July 15, 2018

Acts of Mercy by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg

Rating: 3.5/5
Read Between June 23,2018 to June 30, 2018

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count: 247
Publisher: Tower Publications



First Sentence:
Do you want to check over the appointments,Mrs Augustine?

Nicholas Augustine, the president of USA, is exasperated to say the least . He doesn't know where he went wrong but for the past six months nothing seems to be right for him. Everything he tends to do is misconstrued by the media and he has to then give them explanations. The thing has gone so out of hand that even his party has lost all hope in him. Peter Kineen his opponent seems to spear head a campaign and the party seems to be supporting Peter.

Nicholas doesn't know what to do but he knows one thing that if wants to get re-elected he cannot afford a scandal while he's holding the office. He know the media would have a field day if anything like that happens. Media already believes that Nicholas has started crumbling to the pressures of Presidentship and another scandal would just give more fuel to that speculation.

Meanwhile, there is someone who wants to help Nicholas too. The mysterious stranger believes that a cabal is responsible for all bad that's happening to the president. The stranger wants Nicholas to retain the office of the President and is willing to do anything for it.

And then people start dying.

Who is killing these people? Who is this mysterious stranger? Will Nicholas be able to survive this final scandal?

These are questions that are troubling Christopher Justice, the secret service agent assigned to the president. Christopher inadvertently finds himself in the middle of these events and the onus is on him to prevent more murders and unveil the identity of the murderer.

Will he be able to do so?

Main Characters:
Nicholas Augustine : President of the USA
Christopher Justice : Body guard of the president
Peter Kineen - The guy who was spearheading a campaign against Nicholas. He wanted to be the next nominee for the post of President 
Claire Augustine : Wife of the President
Elizabeth Miller: Secretary of Claire
Maxwell Harper: Advisor of president
Ed Dougherty - Congressial liaison
Austin Briggs - the press secretary 
Julius Wexford - Attorney journal
Rachel Wexford - Julius Wexford's wife


I had got this book for Rs 10 from the daryaganj sunday market. (I had written a blog post about the books that i purchased from there. The post is in Hindi language and you can get read it by clicking here.) It's been more that two years from the day i purchased it. Since then  i it was lying on my shelf waiting for me to lay my hands on it. I came to it late but i must say the experience was such that i was thinking why i didn't pick it up earlier. But i like this feeling after i finish a book. And this thing happens to me most of the time. I purchase books whose blurbs interest me and then i keep them away in my tbr(to be read) pile. And when i pick them to read, it's usually been such a long time that i don't have any idea about the book. This helps me read the book without expectations and i have found that i tend to enjoy books more like this.

Anyway, that was all about how the book came into my life. I often think initially when i used to purchase a book there used to be a story attached to the process and that used to enhance the experience of reading. Now i purchase most of my books from Amazon and it definitely is convenient and cheap but in process i often think i'm loosing so many stories. I'm digressing here but then that's fun of having a blog, right. You can talk about anything that you want. :-p :-p


Coming back to the book it's an intriguing mystery. The fact that, the story takes place among the people, who are considered among the most powerful, also makes it fun to read. I don't know how the life of president would be but i could believe what i was shown by the authors. I found the characters believable. I liked Claire. She's a strong woman who knows how to prod people to do the right thing. I was reading the book and was thinking she should have been the president. Most other characters are okay. They are driven by their own desires and ambitions and so are plotting to fulfil them. The only character i didn't like was Maxwell and it was the way he treated other people. He's shown to treat people as if they are beneath him. The two main characters Nicholas Augustine and Christopher Justice are shown to be book lovers. Nicholas loves westerns and Christohpher Justice is shown to prefer detective fiction. I often like reading books with characters that like books. I get to know more about books that way and since i also have affinity for the books so i tend to feel more connected to them.


There is a mysterious character in the book and he's the one who tries to right the wrongs (as perceived by him, off course) done to the president. As a reader we are made aware of the stranger and his thoughts early on in the book. Any one who'll read his/her point of view will know that there is something wrong with him/her. We don't know who she/he is but we do know he/she is among the main characters of the novel and we are given the task to figure that one out. It made it more fun to read for me. I kept looking for the clues in the conversation and that was one of the reasons why i felt for the red-herring used by the writer-duo

I must say the writer-duo has done a great job in crafting this piece. As far as i'm concerned i like those mysteries in which the writer is able to make the reader think the way he wants to. The reader feels smug as he thinks he has figured the mystery and then the writer pulls the carpet from under him and leaves the reader stumped. I like that feeling of awe after finishing a mystery-suspense thriller. And i got this feeling from this book. So, if you are into mysteries and suspense then i think you'd definitely like this one.

The only thing that i didn't like in the book was how it concluded. I want to write about it but writing it more clearly would give the plot away. So, i would just say that i've never liked reading books featuring unreliable narrator. It makes the story more mysterious, there is not doubt about it, but then after the story ends it makes you think whether it happened that way or not. I know the above sentence may be convoluted but i don't know how to make my self more clear without giving up the plot.

In the end i would just say that i enjoyed reading this book. If you are into thriller and suspense then you should definitely try it. It succeeded in holding my interest till the end and i hope that would be the case with you too.

If you have read this book then do tell me what did you think of it. If you haven't then you can get the book from the following links:
Paperback
Kindle

4 comments:

  1. i do enjoy your reviews. specially of hindi books and your love for pulp literature. Good job. Keep it up. Are you reading latest from SMP, conman?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words. They do mean a lot. I have bought the book but will read a little bit later once the hype has died down. I had just read Hera Pheri by him and want to read it again.

      Delete
  2. विकास जी मेँ उपन्यास सिर्फ daily hunt par se khareed kar padta hu mujhe or kahin ki jankari nhi h please mujhe or koi site batayein

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. विजय जी, डेली हंट के अलावा kindle एप्प और जगरनोट(juggernaut) एप्प भी पढ़ने के लिए अच्छा रहता है। अगर आप कहानियाँ पढने के शौक़ीन हैं तो प्रतिलिपि में भी काई कहानियाँ आपको पढ़ने के लिए मिल जाएँगी।
      kindle का लिंक :
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle&hl=en_US
      juggernaut का लिंक:

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.juggernaut&hl=hi
      प्रतिलिपि का लिंक:
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pratilipi.mobile.android&hl=hi

      उम्मीद है आपको इनसे मदद मिलेगी.....ब्लॉग पर आकर टिप्पणी करने का शुक्रिया। आते रहियेगा।

      Delete

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