Atomic Number Sixty

sixty-minute-reads

Atomic Number Sixty (Sixty Minute Reads Book 1) by Dave Johnston (Short Story/Thriller)

Atomic Number Sixty is the first installment in a series, with each book meant to be read in one hour. In sixty chapters, it documents the countdown, minute by minute, of a bomb set to go off in the basement of City Hall. That bomb is attached to hostage Holly Holloway, who is strapped to a chair. In each one-minute chapter, Holly relates either her situation at the moment or the history of how she came to be there. Her fun, wise-mouth observations made Atomic Number Sixty a light-hearted story that had me chuckling even in the face of pending doom.

This very clever approach to story-telling is unique and entertaining. In addition to the story itself, the idea of one-minute chapters keeps the reader willing to read “just one more” until the book is done, and completing a book in one hour feels like an accomplishment. That said, this is not even a novella, but a short story with an abrupt ending that felt a little too pie-in-the-sky and seemed to come out of nowhere. Since time and space limitations were self-imposed by the author, one expects him to deliver a satisfying, believable outcome within those limitations.

I think it will be interesting to see where this series goes. Book 2, Massacre of the Sixty, is due to be released in early to mid-December, 2016. At that time, from December 11 through December 15, Atomic Number Sixty will be free to download on Amazon as part of the launch celebration. However, at its current price of 99 cents, this fun little book is worth the investment.

Grandma gives Atomic Number Sixty four stars. 4 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews Books received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hillstation

Hillstation

Hillstation, by Robin Mukherjee (General Fiction)

Smart, funny, thought-provoking, entertaining — I found Hillstation by Robin Mukherjee to be a delightful treat that kept me chuckling and made me sorry to see it end.

The main character and narrator, Rabindra, is a young man of twenty-two who has never left Pushkara, the remote mountain town in India where he was born. As the second son in an upper-class Brahmin family, he is constantly being compared — unfavorably — to his older brother who has been to England and is now the village doctor. To make matters worse, Rabindra’s best friend, Pol, is a low-born in the Indian caste system, making him forbidden company for a Brahmin and an added source of irritation to Rabindra’s father. Both Rabindra and Pol long to leave Pushkara, their goal being to marry English brides and move to England. When an itinerant troupe of British entertainers end up in Pushkara by mistake, Rabindra and Pol believe the young female dancers have been sent by the gods in answer to their prayers. The confusion this creates for all concerned makes for a very entertaining story.

As a fan of Sonny in the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” I especially enjoyed the main characters’ flowery Indian-English speech patterns characterized by unnecessarily complex, and often humorous, sentence structures. As Rabindra himself explains to the newly arrived British girl of his dreams, “For your information, our prodigious facility in the English patois is consequent upon historical circumstances. Several generations ago, there came to reside among these fragrant peaks a gentleman in receipt of an education from a most illustrious establishment, far away from here, in which English was the prescribed means of linguistic intercourse. Being of a pedagogic inclination, he established our first school…” and so on. To which she replies, looking at her travel companion, “I thought you said they spoke English.”

The story has its unexpected twists and turns, the tongue-in-cheek humor is consistent throughout, and the characters are well-developed and fun. The book provides a glimpse of life in a remote Indian village and offers the opportunity to reflect on what might happen if one attempts to transcend one’s limitations.

Grandma gives Hillstation five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a copy of Hillstation from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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