Book Review: Intermingled (A Retribution Series Novella) by Smita Bhattacharya

About the Book:

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A novella with the quirkiness of Japanese mysteries and lingering suspense that grows with every page.

Paul, Krishna, Gloria, and Varsha have nothing in common. Only that they have time on their hands to take Spanish language classes and are free for an hour after it to hang around in a café. Over the course of three months, the four grow close to each other, sharing the joys and tribulations of their lives. Paul is lonely after his wife’s death and wanders about the city, collecting plants. Krishna is rich, lazy, and spoilt; he is trying to woo Gloria. Gloria has a traumatic past and a penchant for gore. She also has a stalker whose attention she seems to enjoy. Varsha is the cliché of a hassled homemaker, the hour spent at the café a respite from her daily drudgery.

But none of them is ordinary. Each hides a dark secret, and in unexpected ways, gets entangled in each other’s lives. Chaos ensues.

This book is rated R; not appropriate for readers under 17 years of age; contains elements of violence, drugs, and sexual abuse.

Part of the Retribution Series of Novellas.

About the Book:

Intermingled is a novella that takes the reader on a journey into the lives of four main characters: Krishna, Paul, Gloria and Varsha. All of them attend Spanish language classes and this is where their bonds start to form. As we discover more about each person, their lives, their habits, different incidents that bring out who they are, an element of mystery gets added that drives the plot. Each character has their own story to tell but the way their lives get tangled together forms the crux of the story.

Smita has crafted a very unique story where the reader has the choice to like or dislike the characters. Though a little slow and sometimes confusing, the story gets better and better as you keep reading as the plot keeps you guessing until the very end. Just when you think you have figured the story out, a twist is brought in that once again changes the direction of the story. This is one of the highlights of the story. Secrets have a way of coming out and when they do, they can change the lives of the people involved.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella even though it is dark and somewhat twisted. The writing is magical and considering that Smita has a wonderful way with words, this is definitely worth a read!

P.S.: Take heed of the trigger warnings before reading the book.

 

Book Review: Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya

About the Book:

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★A spine-chilling techno-thriller novella★

Five went up the mountains. None returned. And it wasn’t the cold or the climb that killed them.

At fifteen thousand feet, an army rescue operation finds buried underneath snow dunes five trekkers, dead in their campsite. One of the dead is Indian movie star Kirti Pandit. Another is her boyfriend, and the rest are her entourage. No one can say how they died. It could’ve been due to intense cold, perhaps the sudden snowstorm, or merely altitude sickness. Only, their symptoms were unusual. The snowfall hadn’t been heavy, and they hadn’t climbed up too high. So, what actually happened?

A page-turning techno-thriller novella set in the Himalayas, Snow Fever retraces what happened in the last days of their climb. In the end, it wasn’t the cold or the altitude that killed them, but a force beyond their imaginations. And ours.

★Part of the Retribution Series of Novellas★

My Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I do not usually read short stories. I don’t always understand the plot or enjoy the quick reads. But, Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya has changed my opinion completely!

We follow Kirti Pandit and four other people as they embark on a trek in the Himalayas. Kirti is a famous movie star and the rest are a random miscellaneous group of people including her boyfriend. The story is told in about seven chapters, complete with a prologue, epilogue and a chapter in each character’s point of view. This style of writing intrigued me from the very beginning and had me hooked from page 1. The author describes the setting and the beauty of the Himalayas very well. I assume she draws from her own experiences from the treks she has been on (something to be confirmed with Smita at some point!).

This group of people have secrets that none of us would have imagined and we discover them one by one as the story progresses. We also follow the group as we retrace their steps in the time leading up to their deaths. Or was that murder? Who knows? Or maybe someone does! As readers, we do not know what is happening until the end when Smita hits us with a twist that will have us reeling from shock and then understanding of this ingenious plot.

This is indeed a spine chilling quick read that packs a punch indeed. In this short story, Smita delivers a powerful plot that is filled with intrigue and suspense until the very end. The author has a way with words that takes what could have been a simple and straightforward plot and turns it into a thrilling read. There is so much more to this story than what is obvious and it is all wrapped up nicely for us in this amazing Novella. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially to appreciate the way the book is written!