Monday, February 24, 2014


Title : The Alexandria Link 
Author : Steve Berry

The end signals a change for me. Move on from Berry, it has became too predictable. 

Cotton Malone comes back to save his son's life, Gary. With the aid of his ex-wife, both try to find their son only to discover that the kidnapping is a ruse for something bigger. Something America, Israel and Saudi Arabia will die for. The truth of the Holy Land. 

The speculations on the Old Testament and the New Testament fuels the plot of this novel. All of the mysteries were said to be cleared by the contents of the long lost Library of Alexandria. Did Cotton saved the day?

Oh yes. As predicted. 

Wiki page on Library of Alexandria, for history readers. (Can't call ourselves buffs yet, eh?)

Rating : 7/10

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Title : The Laughing Policeman
Authors : Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

Professor's intro : Whomever had encounters with The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (which by the way is awesome!) should be more familiar with this book. 

So I read it. The Laughing Policeman is the 4th installment in the 10-book series by husband and wife team Sjowall and Wahloo. The background is Sweden, and  it is categorized as noir fiction. 

This being my 4th official noir fiction book, I kind of have an expectation and a basis of judging already, which in this case clouded my judgement far too much for my liking. 

But here it goes. 

A mass murder of 9 people in a bus happened on a dreary, rainy night. As the crime scene was "tampered" by 2 deadbeat cops who tried to get the first glimpse, the case was meeting a dead end. A team from the homicide squad was assembled, and as time crept by, additions were made from other precincts. All were puzzled by this big question, why on Earth is Ake Stenstrom, one of their own, was on the bus and subsequently was killed?

The uncertainty of everything brought all if them in circles, abandoning norms to second-guessing and pure trajectories. 

Was this case a result of an unfinished case that happened years ago?

Plot twist: the end was already in the beginning. 

Case solved. 

And my headache intensified with the names and places that I can't get myself familiar with. This is a big topic in class, i predict. 

Rating : 8/10

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Curiosity got the better of me. 

Why on earth did Professor Dienst assign the second best when we could read the best?

Having to make do with the resources I have, I turned to the screen. Maybe that was dear Professor's intention anyways. 

Although I said that Ripley's game (refer blogpost before) wasn't that noir, he was an interesting character enough to prompt me to understand his character more. Hence the movie. 

Having not read Talented Mr. Ripley yet, I was in for a surprise. This was the base for our character! How did he get rich, who was Dickie Greenleaf, and who Tom Ripley was before he is who he is in Ripley's Game. It was beautiful watching the preview of the book while knowing that this is about another book entirely. 

Putting both the movie Talented Mr. Ripley and the book Ripley's Game on the table, I suggest that we read the whole series (nicknamed Ripliad)!

1)Talented Mr Ripley
2) Ripley Under Ground
3) Ripley's Game
4) The Boy Who Followed Ripley
5) Ripley Under Water

Boy oh boy, looking at the last installment gives me shivers. (Watch the movie!)

And...that might be a good gift for my upcoming birthday,no?


Title : Ripley's Game
Author : Patricia Highsmith

This was more normal than I thought. 

Tom Ripley in this installment of the series has already enough money and happiness in the world to want to dabble in crime anymore. Until a request from an acquaintance came at a perfect timing that he can't refrain himself from suggesting the perfect murder. 

Using the powers of persuasion and threat of death, Ripley brought two strangers together to plan murders of some members of the Mafia. The plan backlashed somehow, and Ripley found himself changing from a spectator to having an active role in events. 

Mafiosi dead, Hamburg safe, money earned, and one regretted but inevitable death. Ripley tried to persuade himself that this death will definitely come in the space of few months, so it didn't matter. 

Ripley wasn't that noir in the first place for me to judge him. He was just taking chances and putting stuff together, great schemer he is. 

Definitely on the light side of noir, although the book cover and presence of garrots suggest otherwise. 

Rating : 8.5/10

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Title : KL Noir
Author : various

Taste of some local scene. 

One day I was discussing my crime fiction class to my friend, and as usual I get so hyped up trying to deliver a decent enough reproduction of the class' discussions. One thing led to another, and he offered to lend me his book titled KL Noir. For that I thank you, Syuk. 

I normally detest reading short stories. Might stem from the recurring memories of my mediocre jabs into writing while in school. Maybe.

I read this book in hope of a real noir fiction I expected it to be. Turns out that the stories were more fantasy and sci-fi than I wanted it to be. I know that one of the tenets of noir fiction (narrator as a grey area person) was drummed in hard by these authors, which I applaud. The most disappointing thing was the way they portray the fine line between surreal and reality. Reading the 2 novels I have for class before this, I can feel myself immersed in the role of the narrator, and I felt as strongly as how the character feels in the storyline. In these stories, I felt somehow detached, like I was looking over from afar, watching the events unfold while I am safe in my coccoon. Which should not be the case as I know my KL more than I know Harlem or Idaho, no?

I must also say reading them reminds me of my essays a long time ago. Obviously I wasn't as good as these people, but some sentiments stirred memories.  Too many big words, no strength in flow. 

Withstanding the lash of criticism from amateur me for this book branding itself as noir fiction, there are some of the stories that I suggest you guys check out. They bring out the dark side of humanity that is local to Malaysians. 

I will like to recommend this book as a dark phantasma-ish tome to whoever that likes the genre.

Link below is a paper on tenets of noir fiction.

My two cents. 

Rating : 5/10

Monday, February 3, 2014


Title : The Real Cool Killers
Author : Chester Himes

My second (and better) crime fiction book for class. 

Himes writes from Harlem, a colored neighbourhood where crime happens at a daily basis. The existence of whites in the area arose suspicion and hatred (note: this is the early years after Civil War), which led to an inevitable occurence that happens in a crime novel; crime. 

Galen, a twisted white was shot while running away from a herd of people. The question for the police department is; who shot him? The blacks? The Arabs? The police?

What about the motive? Why does a respected businessman has to be killed? 

Oh well. It is such a simple book, I love how it flows. 

But the end is unexpected.

As usual. 

After discussion in class, I like to point out one of the biggest idea that we talked about ; how this crime serves as a mask to cover up the real problem Himes wanted to address which is the racial discrimination among Americans back then. 

Rating : 9/10