Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Monsters, Inc

Nah, this is not a review of the film. Its more like an attempt to take a look at the various morbid books about killers I have enjoyed. Its one of my favorite genres, actually - the sort of books where an FBI team/sleuth and one or more serial killers play mind-games with one another.

Think serial-killer, and one of the most common images that comes to my mind is Hannibal Lecter. The author, Thomas Harris, has written 5 books in 30 years, 4 of them about Lecter - talk about obsession! Though I didn't enjoy the latest one all that much, 'Red Dragon', 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Hannibal' pretty much make up for anything he may (not) write in the future. Hopkins has pretty much personified the role (and Kamal did a pretty good take on Lecter in 'Abhay' too), so I'd love to see what young Ulliel does to the character in the latest sequel.

Dennis Lehane is one of those authors whose books I regularly wait for. IMO its only a matter of time before he develops the sort of following, say, a Michael Connelly has. 'Gone, Baby Gone' was his first book that I read, and it just blew me away. Ever since, I have been an ardent fan. His investigators, Patrick and Angela, are great, great characters (his other books like 'Mystic River' are pretty awesome too). I just can't wait to get my hands on his next book.

Connelly, of course, can be depended upon to provide an enthralling read most of the time. In Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb, Connelly has a set of great personalities to weave his tales with, and he seldom disappoints. I really have to thank my friend for introducing me to Connelly (I still consider 'The Poet' one of the best thrillers I have read); she seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth ever since her marriage, though.

The Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child is not morbid, but the character itself is so enigmatic that the first few books (especially 'Still Life With Crows') great reads. Pendergast is obviously modeled upon Holmes, but he has a few additional quirks of his own that make him pretty endearing.

Cody McFayden has a great first book to his credit - heck, he got even a morbid veteran like me hooked. Agent Smoky Barrett - even the name has a peculiar ring to it, doesn't it - is as flawed a character is as they come. I mean, she's an ex-FBI agent who's been raped, and what's more (worse), has had her daughter raped in front of her. Her trauma and recovery, even without the cat-n-mouse hunt, makes 'Shadow Man' a great read.

I've grown weary of the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver. However, there's no denying that some of his books - especially 'The Bone Collector' and 'The Vanished Man' - are compelling reads. 'The Devil's Teardrop' is not a Rhyme novel, but its a terrific book too - about tracking down a criminal through handwriting analysis.

For the more discerning reader, I strongly recommend 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' by Lionel Shriver. Its a repelling, neverthless strangely fascinating book, as you try to unravel the motivation of a schoolboy to commit mass murder. The book is structured in the form of letters from Kevin's mom, who loathes him, to his dad, who dotes on him. Its a pretty long book, but a great book.


Mahadevan said...

i really dont know how to appreciate, more so, comprehend this post. write about movies da idiot boy!

i heared pacha kili muthu charam is nice, and i also heard its a remake of Derailed. true?

Ranjit Nair said...

Yeah, its adapted from 'Derailed' - but from the book by James Seigel, and not the movie, according to Gautham.

I watched the first half...felt that Sharat couldn't come out of his Nattamai image entirely. And the villain is the long-haired, Gautham stereotype from KK and VV all over again. And Jothika sucks in a masala item-song kinda thing, I have to say! Maybe too much expectations from me, or maybe the second half will make up - dunno!