Author- Geetha Madhuri, Cynthia Vincent Daniel
ISBN Code- 978-81-928937-8-5
Publisher- Half Baked Beans Publishing
Price- Rs 225
Cover Design- Manoj Nath
Purchase on- Amazon
Columbina is a part of the twin-novella book from authors Cynthia Vincent Daniel and Geeta Madhuri (Frozen Summer). This review is of the part- Columbina which is a thriller novella set in the North American continent and curiously doesn’t seem like the work of a non-native writer.
I came into contact with the author recently through Blogadda’s Game of Blogs initiative and I am so glad that I did. This short novella, in such a short span, does so many things so beautifully that it almost falls into the league of full-fledged 400 page novels. The characters are established, the backdrop is set, the inner turmoils are highlighted and racy twists are also given.
The work doesn’t rely much on the shock and awe strategy and the plot is dealt with sensitivity and maturity. The emotional intelligence of the author helps create believable characters which are usually amiss from such thrillers.
The plot has two clear protagonists- Martin and Anna. But this is where the hero-heroine stereotype ends. There is a murder mystery in the backdrop of eerily beautiful island Alcatraz which is also known as the World’s most cruel penitentiary.
The writing is easy on the eye and the author has steered clear of heavy metaphors and long sentences. The emphasis is clearly on the language’s readability than its literariness. The cover art does justice to the ingredients in the novel and instead of cars and running men, there is an introspective feel to it. The author leaves no loose ends and that’s a relief.
The vivid imagination of the author shines through in some of the scene, specially those of graphic encounters. The author has also done her research before writing about things like the lunar calendar and the Alcatraz. It just took me three hours to finish the novel but the story has lingered on with me since then. Very few pieces of fiction have that ability and Columbina is definitely one of those.
About the author-
Cynthia is an avid blogger (blogatcythia.blogspot.com) and loves to travel. On her blog, she writes short stories, book reviews, movie reviews, social commentaries and many more things. She is also a keen reader and loves books. Like a true Indian, she loves the art of story-telling and has trained herself in the same. The aforementioned novella is testimony to that fact.
3 stars ***
While Columbina is a work that involved research, Frozen Summer is much like a Telugu Masala entertainer movie. Geetha Madhuri has woven a gripping tale of two women struggling in weird situations. The story relies on extremes. There is extreme evil, extreme docility, extreme everything.
The language is simple and the backdrop of the story is very Indian. It is a tale set in Hyderabad and you feel like you’re watching a Telugu movie when you read it. It is a breezy read and the choice of words has been kept quite simple. The crisply drawn characters are the highlight of the story and it can be rated higher than Columbina on the entertainment factor. Columbina scores in the plot and storyline department though.
The cover art is again the same black and white effect as Columbina and it succeeds in giving a racy theme to both the stories. It is marvelous how both the authors have succeeded in completing their complex plots in so few pages without compromising on the quality. There is enough detailing to help you empathize with the protagonists. The cliched plot twists can be forgiven for the entertainment value they provide.
About the author–
Geetha Madhuri is an IT professional in Hyderabad. She is also a writer by hobby and has written a short story – The One And Only Purpose in the anthology- Time’s Lost Atlas. She is on twitter as @DGeetaMadhuri
2 and 1/2 stars. **1/2