On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession.
After years of dancing in Mumbai’s bars, Tara Mondal was desperate for a new start. So when a client offered her a life-changing payout to indulge a harmless, if odd, fantasy, she accepted. The setup was simple: wear a blue-sequined saree, enter a crowded railway station, and escape from view in less than three minutes. It was the last time anyone saw Tara.
Thirteen years later, Tara’s lover, Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, is still grappling with her disappearance as he faces a horrifying new crisis: on the city’s outskirts, women’s dismembered bodies are being unearthed from shallow graves. Very little links the murders, except a scattering of blue sequins and a decade’s worth of missing persons reports that correspond with major festivals.
Past and present blur as Arnav realizes he’s on the trail of a serial killer and that someone wants his investigation buried at any cost. Could the key to finding Tara and solving these murders be hidden in one of his cold cases? Or will the next body they recover be hers?
Hi and welcome to my review of The Blue Bar!
The Blue Bar kicks off a brand-new series and is the first Blue Mumbai Thriller. And there you have it: my first reason to pick up The Blue Bar: its setting. Regular visitors of my blog will know I like to diversify where I’m reading, and since I’ve read very few books set in India, the setting in Mumbai is what drew me to The Blue Bar. It did precisely what I’d hoped it would do: it transported me to Mumbai and, without overwhelming me, offered me loads of information about the city, the country and its people, religion, geography, culture, you name it, it’s there and I loved it. The bit that appealed to me most turned out to be what I enjoyed most about The Blue Bar.
Obviously, I had other reasons for wanting to read The Blue Bar, I mean have you read that blurb?! It sounded to me like a rather dark police procedural, and that’s actually what it is. Is India Noir a thing? If not, it should be and this book should be its poster child.
The Blue Bar is told from four different perspectives. One is police inspector Arnav, our protagonist / hero who swept me off my feet a little bit, I liked him immensely. Another remains unnamed for the most part of the story, it is a dark person with a dark past and an even darker present, they were terrifying.
The Blue Bar is an intricately woven slow-burning serial killer thriller that offers well-rounded characters with well-built backgrounds against a well-developed backdrop of the city of Mumbai. It didn’t grab me right away, I did need some time to get used to this world it transported me to and the people in it, but it did keep me interested from the start, and once everything and everyone started to feel a little more familiar, I flew through it. I would definitely recommend The Blue Bar to fans of crime thrillers and police procedurals, especially those looking for a unique setting.
The Blue Bar is out on 1 January 2023 in digital formats, audio and paperback.
Many thanks to the author for sending me a widget, to Thomas & Mercer and to NetGalley. All opinions are my own.