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Acute Nepali Disorder

Ben, a freelance journalist, was awoken by his secretary/researcher, Trish to the Mumbai Terrorist attack of 2007 and they both felt it was an opportunity for Ben to delve into the causes and motivations behind those responsible whilst the main line news media were engaged in reporting the on-going events.

On his first night in Mumbai, he was approached by a beautiful enigmatic Indian woman, Jaya who makes a reference to some private investigations Ben could undertake for her. The rewards were potentially huge and she was prepared to pay a very generous retainer just to get him interested.


Their conversations were interrupted by a minor assault on the hotel Ben was staying and he was left in limbo with her attractive offer as she disappeared.

Through an intermediary, Jaya arranged to meet Ben, a day after the attack when she outlined her proposal. She was the illegitimate daughter of the King of Nepal who was massacred along with nine other family members in 2001.

Ben agreed to the commission, partly because of the instant retainer, partly because of the potential huge payoff and partly because he found the story intriguing. However, Trish felt that the underlying motivation was Ben’s attraction to Jaya.

Ben had been given a list of eyewitnesses who were on staff duty on the evening of the massacre and began to question them one by one with little success. There were conflicting stories and all were suspicious of Ben’s intentions or fearful of repercussions. But he got enough encouragement to confirm that Jaya’s version of events was quite plausible.

However, the lack of a break-through in his investigations and a diversion of helping the girl fiend of a British Foreign Office official who was kidnapped impacts Ben’s mental wellbeing which is compounded by an earthquake that hits Kathmandu, causing Nepal to be cut off.

Worried by lack of contact, Trish decides to search for Ben just as he teeters on the edge of a breakdown when the man he was investigating decides to question Ben.

'Do you mind if I join you?'

Ben looked up at the beautiful, elegant woman in front of him and stared around the empty tables in the restaurant, motioning to her at the same time to take a seat.

Before he said a word, she cleared her throat and made Ben an offer he would never forget for the rest of his life.

'I will pay you one million euro if you can prove that my uncle murdered my father - the King of Nepal."

Before he had a chance to think of a reply the rat-a-tat of an AK47 spraying bullets all around the dining room, sent everyone diving for cover.  

When Ben looked up to survey the carnage, his mysterious companion had vanished.  

And so, another Ben Molina adventure begins taking him through the terror-stricken streets of Mumbai, to the slums of Kathmandu and the foothills of the Himalayas in search of the truth and his own peace of mind.

A.N.D.: Acute Nepali Disorder provides another Ben Molina thriller, exploring Ben's shifting perception of his place in yet another world as new events test his mettle and approach to life. 

The challenge begins when an elegant Indian woman unexpectedly sits at his table in a near-empty restaurant and issues a challenge: "I will pay you one million euro if you can prove that my uncle murdered my father – the King of Nepal." 

No sooner is this offer extended than a spray of bullets causes everyone to dive for cover. When he emerges, his mysterious companion has vanished, leaving only her tantalizing offer in his thoughts and driving him to take on a case that is as elusive as its instigator. 

India's culture and social stratas come to life as Ben hurdles down the streets of Mumbai, probes the slums of Kathmandu, and traverses the countryside in search of answers. 

Accompanying his journey is a mental process that draws readers on more than just an action-packed level as Ben moves from his initial freelance assignment to cover a terrorist attack in Mumbai to assume an active role influencing unfolding events. Unexpected enemies and allies coalesce with circumstances that drive Ben further into danger as interrogations, mercenaries, and kidnappings emerge. 

Mike Beetlestone develops an excellent interplay between action and psychological revelations. At no time does the reader find their attention wandering as Ben moves from one confrontation to another, handling situations that demand he adjust his usual ways of viewing the world and interacting with others: "Maybe I haven’t just saved her life, but I was here to protect her whether she liked it or not, even though she has been lying ever since we first met. I deserved some respect." 

As his curiosity leads him to the truth, Ben discovers that his journalistic skills have also involved him in a well-fabricated tissue of lies that unfolds to reveal surprising conclusions and connections based on historically accurate circumstances and Nepalese cultural inspections. 

The story is a work of fiction, but blends real events into the plot to gain a level of believability that reflects the country's poverty and struggles as well as Ben's emotional challenges in handling these issues. 

Libraries and readers seeking thrillers that go above and beyond action-packed will find the social, political, and psychological undercurrents supporting A.N.D.: Acute Nepali Disorder produce a thoroughly engrossing, reflective read. 


Mid-West Book Review San Francisco

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Ben, a freelance Irish journalist, has a woman approach him and offer him one million euro to prove that the King of Nepal was murdered by his brother. This woman, Jaya, says that she is the daughter of the late king. Despite his misgivings, Ben agrees to undertake this assignment and sets off on a potentially dangerous mission. Will he succeed and disprove the official events of that terrible night? Will he be able to avoid falling for the princess?

This book, besides having an in-depth and intriguing plot, has many dynamic characters. Ben's researcher, Trish, has such a unique relationship with Ben. He is cynical and cranky, though slightly in love with her. In Trish's mind, Ben is someone who needs to be kept in line. From Jaya, the benefactor of his work, to Jen, a woman whose boyfriend had been kidnapped, Ben has strong feelings about all the women in his life. He seemingly falls in love with all of them. This adds a dash of romance to the action-packed plot.

Overall, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. I thought the moving and unpredictable plot was engaging, and the characters were dynamic. I also believe that the book was professionally edited.  This book is perfect for those who enjoy murder mysteries, action, and hints of romance. There is strong language throughout, so sensitive readers should take note of that. However, if you are looking for a mix of murder mystery and political thriller with a dash of romance, this is the book for you!

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