A ritual murder at a Mumbai temple exposes the city’s dark secrets and ravages the personal life of a detective in this sequel to The Blue Bar.
Amid incessant rains pounding down on Mumbai, Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called to a shocking crime scene. A male body is found dismembered on the steps of a Kaali temple. Drawn into his flesh are symbols of a tantra cult. The desecration of a body at a Hindu place of worship puts the city on edge and divides Arnav’s priorities: stopping a fanatic from killing again and caring for his wife who’s struggling through a challenging pregnancy.
Then video footage of the murder is uploaded onto the account of a Bollywood social media influencer, triggering twists in the investigation Arnav didn’t see coming. Caste systems at war. A priest under suspicion. And an anonymous threat that puts his wife’s welfare at risk. When more bodies are found, the savagery of the city begins to surface—and Arnav fears that no one is safe from a bigger storm brewing.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Blue Monsoon!
I had a great time with The Blue Bar last year so I was looking forward to diving into this sequel, heading back to Mumbai and finding out what my favourite Indian police inspector and his family had been up to. For the record, I do think The Blue Monsoon could be read as a standalone, although it probably packs a bigger punch if you’ve read its predecessor.
As I said last year, it was the setting that drew me to this series. If you want to visit India without actually getting on a plane, this is the way to go about it. I felt like I was actually there (although I was glad I wasn’t: I don’t like regular rain if I have to go out in it so I probably wouldn’t fare well in a monsoon 😅) I fully expected to be immersed in the setting, to practically feel the damp and smell the rain, and I wasn’t disappointed. An unexpected treat was the fact that it almost became a bit of a locked room situation since due to the rains and floods, communication was down at a crucial time. The story is inextricably bound to the country it’s set in. Not just the monsoon, but the caste system and its repercussions, the kinnar, … It makes for a lush story that enlightens and enriches its reader, without ever sounding pedantic.
The Blue Monsoon includes a character list, and I and my brain fog did have to refer to it a couple of times. So yes, I did get turned around every once in a while, especially at first, and it did require my full attention, but then I got settled in and reading became effortless.
The Blue Monsoon is an intricately woven police procedural and it’s only at the end, when it all comes together, that I realised just how meticulously plotted it is and just how big a punch it packs. It’s not just about the cases either, emotion is never far off. The Blue Monsoon is a tale of revenge and betrayal. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but how can you tell who is friend and who is foe?
I had a great time with The Blue Monsoon, and if you’re in the market for a police procedural off the beaten track then you should definitely check this one out.
The Blue Monsoon is out on 24 October 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.