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June 10, 2018

Book: Rage Of Angels by Sydney Sheldon

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:13 am

imageEqually famous as Master of the Game, this book ranks very high on Sydney Sheldon’s books. Expertly crafted with the unique style of storytelling that the author has perfected, it holds you in its thrall until the very end.

 

The first scene, where Robert Di Silva  is trying to nail Michael Moretti the mafia boss and it all rests in the hands of one mobster, Camillo Stela, who has agreed to testify against Michael. Jennifer Parker, a rookie law assistant, gives an envelope to the witness in a break – the envelope that was handed to her by Robert via an assistant to give to Stela –  and all hell breaks loose from that moment on. What she delivered was a dead canary with the neck broken and the case, along with Robert’s hopes of being elected governor on the strength of the victory in this case, both end up in smoke. Jennifer wanted to be a lawyer like her dad from a very young age and this was a devastating blow to her that her official career was over a mere four hours after it started.

 

When she tries to survive by the lowly act of issuing subpoena, she is informed that disbarment proceedings are to be launched against her by a livid Robert Di Silva. He asks a top attorney in town to personally take care of it. He gives it to Adam Werner, who is his son in law angling for the District Attorney post. After Adam checks everything out, he recommends that the proceedings to disbar her be dropped, much to the anger of Robert.

 

She devises clever ways to serve difficult subpoenas.

 

When she takes up an impossible case to defend a murderer, she finds to her horror that Robert de Silva himself comes to court as a prosecutor, to crush her once for all. She triumphs and is noticed by Michael Moretti.

 

She also has fallen for Adam Warner and has constant sex with him even after knowing that he is married already, despite her mother’s life being earlier ruined by her father’s infidelity. Meanwhile Michael is thinking of hiring a young lawyer for the Family and increasingly thinks of Jennifer.

 

She gets a paternity suit decided in her favour by undoubtedly questionable means, which may not stand up in a real court! (Was DNA evidence not available when the book was written? God, is the book that old? )

 

There are episodes obviously put there as fillers: they do have a twist but have absolutely nothing to do with the story itself. For instance, the nice woman whom the daughter and the son in law had admitted to an asylum that Jennifer is determined to release; the accident victim from a truck company – the company having almost gotten away with the crime.

 

Main story? Adam is surely in love with Jennifer but stands for the Senate and can have no blemish in the past including any affairs. Michael Moretti is intrigued and increasingly drawn to Jennifer.

Adam’s wife tricks Jennifer into believing that she is OK with Adam marrying Jennifer and when Jennifer finds herself pregnant, also reveals that she is pregnant. Now Adam is trapped into the marriage and Jen has the child in a faraway place.

 

Michael Moretti charms her in a dinner one evening. When her son is kidnapped by a vicious murderer who is enraged about her, she calls Moretti in desperation and he pulls all the stops to get him back. So starts her relationship with Michael, alienating all her friends and well wishers. One by one they leave her.

 

She connects with Adam and instantly has sex with him, throwing consequences to the winds. But Joshua’s head injury, when they return back, causes him to die, she completely loses it.

 

She then loses her son Joshua and Adam learns that she is the Mafa’s counsel as well as the fact that she has a son, both of which devastates him. This is done by the testimony of the previous lawyer of the mafia who, when he realizes that Moretti wants to kill him, goes straight to Adam Warner and spills the beans.

 

Moretti wrongly suspects and kills his loyal deputies until he realizes that Nick Vito lied to him saying he had killed the lawyer. Jennifer is arrested in Singapore.

 

The events gather frenetic pace where Michael finds out that Jennifer was the girlfriend of Adam and thinks she has been betraying him all along and his plots to kill both Adam and Jennifer and how it all exhilaratingly ends.

 

Great story. Well told. Lightweight but who cares? All Sheldon’s stories are lightweight.

 

8 / 10

–   –   Krishna

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January 26, 2018

Book: The Sky Is Falling by Sydney Sheldon

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:51 pm

imageYou can get lost in Sydney Sheldon’s books. I admit that he is an old author and is not as sophisticated in his storytelling as, say, Dan Brown (Whose Angels and Demons, just to cite one example outshines most of Sydney Sheldon’s book) but there is a raw power in Sydney’s storytelling and if you pick up The Master of the Game, for example, or The Rage of the Angels, it is really hard to put down as he takes you on an emotional roller coaster that seems to whisk you away at top speed until the book end. Unfortunately, this book is not one such. Mind you, this is also interesting and racy but does not reach to the heights of the two books named above, for example. What is the story?

 

Dana Evans is a .TV reporter who covered Sarajevo war and was traumatized by it too. She is in love with Jeff Connors, an ex-sports star who works for the same company as Dana. Matt Baker ran the department but Elliot Cromwell owns the whole organization, having bought it recently from the previous owner. Jeff’s ex-girlfriend is a gorgeous, intelligent and brilliant conversationalist, Rachel Stevens. Gary Winthrop, a billionaire who donates a magnificent amount to a university is brutally murdered and we learn that his entire family a political First Family, was wiped out in different incidents.

 

Her adopted and disabled son Kemal, lives in perennial doubt that he will be sent back and is taunted by classmates and therefore rebellious.

 

When she tries to probe the killing, she is firmly told to desist. She finds one chink in the impenetrable armour and talks to an ex-employee who had filed a suit against the father. She is stunned to see that this secretary lives in a palatial mansion like a millionaire, but refuses to talk about the lawsuit at all, looking very frightened when Dana mentions the subject suddenly in a meeting.

 

After a couple of days, in an apparent attack of conscience, Joan Sinisi, the employee calls her from a public phone in an apparent attack of conscience, and never turns up for the rendezvous. Dana is stunned to learn that she ‘accidentally’ fell from her own balcony to her death. Marcus Abrams is the detective in charge of that investigation.

 

She is tracked at every step by persons unknown. We realize that her house is bugged and her rental car is too. When she realizes that the ski accident of Julia Winthrop and the car accident of another son is also suspicious, she realizes she is in dangerous territory.

 

Meanwhile, Kemal’s new housekeeper seems to be a dream come true.

 

Overall, this is strangely tedious for a Sydney Sheldon story. Yes, the narrative style is there; the superficial descriptions of everything and the suspense building is done. But unlike his other – and better – books, this is all about a reporter following a story and someone desperately trying to thwart her efforts. Where are the stunning twists we saw in The Master of The Game or The Rage of the Angels, just to name two?

 

Well, she finds three people who describe Winthrop as a monster and have motive enough to seek revenge on the whole family. She hears of a Russian situation and heads to Moscow. Finds (purely by accident) and destroys the tracking device embedded in her pen in Moscow airport.

 

After being stonewalled in Moscow by commissar Sasha Shdanoff despite his brother Boris trying to drop hints, she is about to give up when an envelope arrives with a promise to reveal all, and asking her to come back to Moscow with little trace of this to anyone. She goes. Meets the surprising person. And has an enormous plot revealed by that person for a promise of help in smuggling the person out of Russia before that person is killed.

 

She is too late to save him  (OK it is a man) and is now openly the target of assassins.  The twist of who the evil kingpin is as well told as in other books by Sheldon.

 

The last few pages are vintage Sheldon, with everyone trying their best to kill Dana and she successively outwitting them each time.

 

But the entire action is placed in just the last few pages and a hurried ending needs to be arrived at, so this whole thing is not as exciting as his other books are.

 

5/10

 

–  – Krishna

April 30, 2017

Book: Master of the Game by Sydney Sheldon

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:51 pm

imageEven on a re-read, even after all these years, the story simply sparkles!

 

We have reviewed Are You Afraid Of the Dark and The Sky Is Falling by the same author earlier.

 

Starts with Kate Blackwell’s ninetieth birthday. She remembers her long life, and the story is fully in her reminiscences.

 

Awesome storytelling. What else do you expect from the master of the storytelling game? Starts with Jamie McGregor trying to strike it rich and going from famine stalking England to South Africa to make his fortune, alone, a nineteen year old boy.

He happens to somehow go to South Africa and meets Solomon Van der Marwe, his big African slave Bantu and his daughter Margaret and manages to get himself equipped with spending almost all his money (he had told Solomon how much he had). He goes and almost dies but manages to find diamonds, comes back rich, only to find that he does not own a thing. Solomon had tricked him into signing a contract that gives him everything!

 

When he protests, he is beaten up and left in the desert for dead but Bantu rescues him and they make a plan to just take the diamonds in an extremely heavily guarded island.  They go in a raft against all odds but reach the island with the raft smashed up. They collect the islands and the way they exit with no raft or an apparent  way to exit is wonderful.

 

He comes back to destroy Solomon Van der Marwe but also destroys his daughter Margaret in the process. She wins his grudging admiration with the boy and he is forced to offer her marriage to keep his son with him. He never offers her love, sadly.

In a drunken stupor, he gives Maggie a girl, Kate, and when in a mine one of his supervisors kills a native, his son is killed in revenge and Banta saves Kate from a similar fate. Jamie gets a stroke in agony and dies. Maggie runs the empire and brings up Kate with David’s assistance and Kate is determined to marry him! She is a wilful but a genius child.

 

When David falls hard for Josephine O’Neill, daughter of Tom O’Neill who has invented a way to revolutionize food industry and agrees to move to San Francisco to marry her and take care of the new company, Kate is crushed. But his plans fall apart when a major food conglomerate buys off his idea and he stays back in Kruger Brent. Did Kate have somthing to do with that reversal?

 

The twists in the story are incredible. How the young lady twists and plots and outwits them all is great to read. (Even the third time)

 

David marries Kate and discovers that they disagree on how to run the company. For instance Kate forces the company to make and sell armaments to the First World War, which David is vehemently opposed to.

 

When Kate suddenly finds she is pregnant and gets a son named Anthony, she is ecstatic but David dies in an explosion in South Africa. Her son Anthony wants to be an artist and has no interest in running the business which is Kate’s life. She manipulates him by sending Dominique to be his girlfriend to keep an eye on him and gets a master critic criticize his work to get him to give up painting and get back into running the company and his heart is simply not in it.

 

He hates his mom and how she still maneuvers him into marrying exactly the girl she wants for him is brilliant. The book reads well even the second time but it is really all fluff. The story is told straightforward, like a children’s tale and there are no subtle layers there. It is all anchored on sudden twists and surprises and it definitely works at that level. But then this can be said of all of Sydney Sheldon’s works.

 

She finds out that Marianne, the wife of Tony may die in childbirth and decides to hide it from Tony as well. All of her schemes are exposed to Tony on the same day that he learns that Marianne dies after giving birth to twins, Eve and Alexandra. He shoots his mother and goes plumb crazy and has to be lobotomized to keep him calm.

 

Eve is the evil one and tries to kill Alexandra several times from the tender age of five, and every time Alexandra narrowly escapes. Several times over.

 

When Eve goes wild with men and seduces a long time friend of Kate, her gig is up and she is cut off with a tiny allowance. She plots revenge and meets a gorgeous hunk of a man called George Mellis with a vicious temper. Perfect. She plans to “give” Alexandra to that man.

 

The scheming evil of Eve comes out well even in this fluffy narration. The plan is set in motion and Alexandra is hooked hopelessly by George Mellis. Marries him too.

 

George and Eve plot to take all the money of Kate after killing Alexandra. When Kate hears that Eve was near death and “out of concern” for her grandmother, wanted to keep it secret, she has a change of heart and takes her back in life. George knows that he may be written out of everybody’s life and wants to go ahead and kill Alexandra anyway, and the plot turns are brilliant.

 

When George Mellis takes Alex out on the boat to execute his evil plan anyway, knowing that if he did not, he himself would be sidelined by Eve, he is outwitted and outplayed completely by Eve.

 

The ending is exhilerating too. How Alexandra finds happiness, how Eve ends up, how Kate keeps planning tirelessly for the best of the company – it is all written brilliantly.

 

Sure, this is fluff. But good, absorbing, fluff.  8/10

– – Krishna

March 22, 2012

Book: Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sydney Sheldon

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 2:44 pm

In this book, the late Sydney Sheldon has stayed the course in narrative styling but has missed out on one of his trademarks. Let me explain further.

This is the story of Diane Stevens and Kelly Harris, two women so unlike each other, and living so far apart, that it is only the common thread of their husbands getting killed while working on a secret project for the same organization that  could have brought them together.

This is also the story of the young, very bright, and ambitious Tanner Kingsley who joins his equally bright brother Andrew in setting up Kingsley International. He is frustrated that his brother places the welfare of people (the nerve!) over profits that could be made, and when a freak accident renders his brother unfit to lead the organization, grabs the chance to take control of it.

There is something nasty in the death of the two husbands, who worked for the same Kingsley International and the two women, the blond Diane and the African American Kelly go up against the might of the entire army of toughies who are determined to prevent them from discovering the truth or even living…

The story has all the ingredients of the Sydney Sheldon’g twists and ingenious plans of escape by the clever women but lacks sparkle in two ways. First, it seems to be a rehash of many of his earlier works, and second, the usual bombshell at the end is very, very weak.

It is a racy read, nonetheless, and should entertain you if you go in with no great expectations.

I will give it a 5/10

— Krishna

January 23, 2012

Book : The Sky is Falling by Sydney Sheldon

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:42 am

Well, another typical Sydney Sheldon. After losing some of his verve
(mental block?) in novels after his peak, (witness the sequel to
Other Side of Midnight and Sands of Time), Sheldon seems to be back
doing what he does best from the Best Laid Plans onwards! He
has ‘done it again’ in this thriller and is sure to delight die-hard
fans of Sheldon (I am not one).

The story is a typical ‘woman triumphs against all odds’ story and
is another in the successful formula perfected by Sheldon. This time,
a reporter is on to the planned murders of a political family and
tracks it down with a pit-bull like tenacity that is the hallmark of
any of his heroines. It is unfortunate that you start to suspect the
most unlikely characters because you are trained to, having read all
his earlier books but still the fun is all there.

If you are looking for another Sheldon in the typical mould, go
ahead and read this. You will not be disappointed.

Let’s say a 7/10, shall we?

— Krishna

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