Hello and welcome to No Wait Wednesday, where we spotlight a book that's ready and waiting on our New Release shelves in search of that one special patron to take a chance on it. We know that patrons don't like waiting on the holds list for that new celebrity-endorsed book, but if you take a peek at our collection - or just ask your local librarian - there's always a new discovery in several different genres to enjoy. Today we're going to take a look at The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas, the second in an electrifying police procedural set on the streets of Mumbai, India.
The novel begins with Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput arriving at the scene of a particularly grisly murder that occurred at the site of a Hindu temple. Soon, a video of the murder is posted on the social media feed of a Bollywood influencer, deepening suspicions that someone is being framed for the crime. While Rajput conducts the investigation and follows whispers of a sinister cult that ultimately might be behind everything, a monsoon pummels the city, further complicating the investigation. Rajput himself is caught in a stressful family situation, as his wife, confined in a wheelchair, is about to give birth, and he is also attempting to build a relationship with a daughter he only recently discovered he had. All of these plot threads, including corruption in Rajput's own police department, collide in a complex and satisfying conclusion. Biswas' writing style is atmospheric and propulsive, bringing the reader into the minds of not only the main detective, but several supporting characters, all the while keeping the clues and the action moving forward, so there's never any dull spots; think of an author like Michael Connelly, just with the volume knob cranked way up. While The Blue Monsoon is the second in Biswas' series starring Detective Rajput following 2022's The Blue Bar, this can easily be read as a standalone and a jumping-on point for new readers.
And, as a brief side note, it's interesting that location is so important to the mystery/thriller genre. No matter what sort of crime novel you're reading, where and when the story takes place is not only important, it's absolutely essential. Whether the novel is based in 1940's Los Angeles, the backwoods of rural Maine, a small knitting shop in coastal Scotland, or in the slums of Mumbai, place is always of cardinal importance. One theory is that the types of crime committed - and the circumstances in which they occur - can vary differently from time to time and place to place. Society, culture, religion, politics, race - all are vastly different depending on where (and when) the characters and the audience are. The exploration of those issues give authors a LOT of room for elevating a simple police procedural to something truly profound. Here, Biswas uses her story to reveal the larger scope of Mumbai where she brilliantly describes a clash of cultures, religions, and caste systems, where some people live in almost medieval poverty while others live in gleaming, well-protected high rises and use their wealth and influence to protect (and further enrich) themselves. This will be a fascinating eye-opener to many readers as they follow a flawed yet noble detective in pursuit of a twisted killer.
Thanks for reading and we'll see you next week!