Cover Image: The Blue Monsoon

The Blue Monsoon

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Member Reviews

Damyanti Biswas is back with the second installment of the Blue Mumbai series, The Blue Monsoon, and it is as engaging as ever.

Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is back to solve a sinister series of gruesome killings at the Kali temple. Walking the tightrope of anticipated religious unrest, tackling the traitors trying to weaken the case, and balancing it all with the care of his pregnant and wheelchair-bound wife.

The gritty police procedural continues to unearth the dark underbelly of Mumbai – caste politics and how it has permeated every section of the society, corruption, and how politicians use religious conflicts to their benefit.

I highly recommend the book. The book can be read as a stand-alone but do pick up the The Blue Bar too.

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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.

This story was non stop suspense. It opens with a gruesome death and many twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Mainly told from Senior Inspector Arnav's POV we also get a few POV's from his wife Tara, Sita and an unknown antagonist that may or may not be the murderer.

The author did a good job describing not only the city, culture and people but the author gives the readers an idea of the various social castes and how each caste is treated differently based on their social rank. Arnav has his hands full with a pregnant wife who is wheelchair bound and fighting depression and the fact that more bodies keep resurfacing.

This book had it all: Ritualistic Murder, Corruption, Religious Differences, Prejudice, Social Hierarchy differences, Betrayal and Deception.

Overall this was a page turner. You literally didn't know who was responsible for the heinous crimes being committed. With the numerous suspects and intriguing plot twist leading to an unexpected climax, The Blue Monsoon does not disappoint and is definitely a Thriller/Suspense Crime drama that you don't want to miss.

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A murder mystery, The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas (2023) is a police procedural set in Mumbai. Detective Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called out to a bloody murder in a local temple. He has to juggle his family commitments and his investigation, which gets complicated with a video posted online and another dead body found. A helpful list of all characters at the beginning of the book and a glossary of terms at its end is a useful addition for readers. Having not read the first in the series may have been a disadvantage in terms of knowing the characters' backstories. An enjoyable murder mystery with its atmospheric flooding rains makes for a three stars read rating. With thanks to Thomas & Mercer and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own, freely given and without inducement.

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THE BLUE MONSOON (Blue Mumbai Book #2) by Damyanti Biswas is an atmospheric and suspenseful crime thriller/police procedural pitting a Senior Inspector against a ritualistic serial killer in Mumbai, India during the monsoon season. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Senior Inspector Arnav Rajput is called to the scene of a brutal ritualistic murder on the steps of a Kaali temple. The desecration of the Hindu temple sets the city on edge. A video of the murder is uploaded onto the account of a Bollywood social media influencer which leads to many more threads of this tangled web of an investigation.

A second mutilated body is discovered, and Arnav finds himself not only searching for a killer, but also dealing with duplicity and betrayal in his own police station. He seeks the help of his old partner, Sita Haik and the two are thrown into the middle of the intricate plot of a killer.

I loved this second book in the series as much as the first, The Blue Bar. Ms. Biswas’ writing immerses the reader in the underbelly of Mumbai and in this book an added antagonist is the monsoon season. Arnav is a realistic character who has a strong sense of right and wrong, but he also must bend at times within a corrupt system. Not only does he have a difficult case to solve, but his paraplegic wife who is about to give birth finds herself in danger, too. All the characters are fully developed and play key roles in this intricate plot. The discussions between characters of the still prevalent caste system and subjugation of women in India was fascinating and educational. The crime plot is intricate and has many tentacles with several crimes and criminal enterprises overlapping. The tension ramped up continually to keep me turning the pages until a surprising conclusion.

I highly recommend this immersive crime thriller/police procedural with its unique setting and memorable characters.

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I was fortunate to read the eARC of The Blue Monsoon courtesy of Damyanti Biswas. It’s the sequel to The Blue Bar, which I read early this year. Both can be read as standalones but I would recommend reading book 1 first so you get to know the recurring characters better.

Although the plot is nothing new (serial killer on the loose, disfiguring and castrating the male victims and leaving them near the temples), the author did a great job integrating dirty politics, religious differences and the social injustices of the caste system into the story. I liked learning about Mumbai’s lifestyle and cultures and of course, the food! I also loved all the recurring characters especially Arnav, Tara and Naik!!! I enjoyed seeing how the characters evolved and changed 2 years after the first novel. Naik certainly felt more “human” to me this time around! She’s actually my favorite!😊 Add to this the atmospheric setting of monsoon in Mumbai — think pounding rain, gushing water and rising flood, and we have a truly suspenseful and engaging reading experience! I enjoyed both books, but I must say I loved book 2 better. Damyanti’s writing just keeps getting better and better! I would definitely read anything she writes!💖

Thanks again to the author for my complimentary copy of The Blue Monsoon. This is hands down 5 stars for me!

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I tore through The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas @damyantig in two days! This is book two in the Blue Mumbai series and is such an atmospheric read.

Set in Mumbai during torrential rains, Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called to a brutal crime scene (a male body is found dismembered on the steps of Kaali temple, a Hindu place of worship). Not long after, video footage of the murder surfaces online on the account of a Bollywood social media influencer. The city and police force are on edge. In the midst of this investigation, Rajput is struggling to find balance between his job and caring for her wife who is wheelchair bound and pregnant.

Wow. This is such a complex mystery, told with alternating points of view which I found fascinating. The descriptions of the setting transported me and when I had to put the book down, I had to take a few moments to remind myself that I wasn’t actually in Mumbai myself! Biswas also works in themes of caste and religious politics which I found thought-provoking as I followed the twists and turns of the mystery. I also appreciated the character list at the start of the book and the glossary and author’s note at the back. This book will be published tomorrow, October 24, 2023 and recommended to mystery/thriller readers!

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As you know by now I love crime procedural series. And if you do too or even just like them, this series needs to be on your radar. This is book two in the Blue Mumbai series and it’s great.

What makes it different from my other series is it takes place in Mumbai and the city is like a supporting character. It jumps off the page and comes to life along with the people and culture of the city.

A layered plot with twists and turns kept me on my toes and wanting more. The story is well written with deeply developed characters.

While this is book two in the series, you can read it as a stand alone but I highly recommend book one also.

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If The Blue Monsoon were food, it would be a feast for royalty. Biswas serves up main courses of thriller and crime made stunning by their placement in the exotic and chaotic city of Mumbai. But it is the side portions of caste culture, detective forensics, religion, misdirection, spirituality, and horror—to name a few—that make the book endlessly seductive.

This reader suggests readers unfamiliar with India take their time with the cast of characters on the opening pages and encourages them to take in the first chapters slowly to absorb every detail, because the author’s style and mastery leave nothing to chance. In the end though, we affirm that no matter the setting and culture, humans are alike in our beauty, passion, and criminality.

Thomas & Mercer and Damyanti Biswas provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for October 24, 2023.

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This was such an interesting murder mystery. The twists and turns kept me on my toes, and I enjoyed the different POVs. I hadn’t read The Blue Bar, and there were references to previous storylines - which just made me want to go read Book 1.

This was my first crime fiction set in India, and I enjoyed how that created a rich tapestry for the adventure. I didn’t look at the Glossary - some Indian words / concepts are skilfully explained in the story but I didn’t personally feel the need to go look up every new-to-me word as I think the context explained enough and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next.

So grateful that I got to be a part of the Let’s Talk Books promo and received an eARC NetGalley 🥰

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The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas is the sequel to her fantastic book The Blue Bar. This is another electrifying thriller that will knock your socks off. It is a well written book by a very talented author. It is fast paced with great characters. Damyanti Biswas brings this book to life with her very vivid descriptions. She puts you in the book along side her characters… can feel and smell what she writes. You will be on a roller coaster ride of emotions that will keep you reading and unable to put this one down. It is filled with deep dark secrets, betrayal, murder, and lies. This is a tense, complex mystery that is both intriguing and captivating. I highly recommend reading this one, you will love it. Ms. Biswas also gives us a List of Characters and a Glossary of Terms that is extremely helpful when reading this one. Kudos Damyanti Biswas, you did not disappoint with this one. Loved it!!

Thank you NetGalley, Thomas and Mercer and Damyanti Biswas for another fantastic book to read and review. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
#netgalley #thomasandmercer #damyantibiswas. #thebluemonsoon. #arc

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The Blue Monsoon is book 2 in the Blue Mumbai Thriller by Damyanti Biswas.
TBM is an absolutely gripping crime/detective thriller.
This story had me forgetting all my priorities and doing nothing but reading this.
This one pulled me in right away and I was thoroughly captivated by the intricate plot and the interesting characters. I love how all of the characters were realistic.
I thought Damyanti Biswas did a great job describing the setting and made me feel like I was there right alongside the characters. The writing style throughout this book is really amazing and the plot is extremely well thought out.
A fast-paced police procedural with an intriguing storyline that keeps you engaged and at the edge of your seat until the last page.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the opportunity to read this ahead of its publication date in return for my honest review.

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crime-fiction, thriller, suspense, spinal-cord-injury, pregnancy, cultural-differences, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage, caste-system, relationship-issues, relatives, religious-differences, religious-practices, religious-symbolism, family, family-dynamics, friendship, India, ritual-killing, social-justice, multiple-murder, noir, unputdownable*****

Due to my cultural ignorance, I kept stopping the read to investigate things I wanted to know more about. One theme is the pregnancy of the wheelchair bound wife of Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput of Mumbai. The murder investigation involves a murder with ritualistic brutality and involves many inroads into the cultural realities of Mumbai. I couldn't really put the book down, but I find that I can't condense the story. I loved it and hope it will be in audio format soon!
I requested and received an EARC from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. Thank you.

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The Blue Monsoon is the second book of Damyanti Biswas in the series. Just like the first book "The Blue Bar”, this one too grips you right from the start.
The author describes the city perfectly, with all its glory and misery. The incessant rains, a murder victim dismembered on the steps of a Kaali temple, caste systems at war, all come together to make this book difficult to put down.
This book like the previous one is hard hitting. You can feel the tension and angst in her writing . No sugar coating here. The depth of research that has gone into writing the book is evident in the authenticity of the scenes. The social constructs of the city and it’s underbelly is shocking but undeniable.

A great story of duty and betrayal; an absolutely must read if you love thrillers.

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⁉️: What are some books that you think should become television or film adaptions?

Earlier this year, I was so excited to receive the second installment of @damyantig’s 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝐵𝓁𝓊𝑒 𝑀𝑜𝓃𝓈𝑜𝑜𝓃. I can see this series becoming a popular movie or television series as the novels kept me at an edge creating an atmosphere making the city of Bombay the central character of the novel. As I turned each page, I kept on getting drawn into the tensions taking place within the city, and I couldn’t keep it down.

The novel is centered on a ritual murder that occurs at a Mumbai temple, Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called to the crime scene when he finds a dismembered body on the steps of a Kaali temple. There are symbols of tantra cult etched into his flesh. The desecration of a body in a Hindu temple causes tensions within the city, and forces Arnav to divide his responsibilities between a wife who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy and a man on the run who may kill again. The video footage of the murder is uploaded to the social media platforms adding an unexpected twist, as caste politics come to ahead.

I loved @damyantig’s first novel in the series, 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝐵𝓁𝓊𝑒 𝐵𝒶𝓇 was one of my favorite thrillers for last year. Her second novel, 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝐵𝓁𝓊𝑒 𝑀𝑜𝓃𝓈𝑜𝑜𝓃, lived up to the expectations and exceeded them because it explores so many complex and nuanced issues regarding themes of casteism, police procedural, difficult pregnancy, and religious politics.

While calling attention to caste and religious politics, Biswas also crafts strong and independent women through Sita Naik and his Arnav’s wife, Tara. The drama that was taking place reminded me of latest web series that I have seen such as Dahaad, which also featured a lower caste indian cop in pursuit of social justice. I think these issues are pertinent and this novel is a solid 5 star ✨ from me! This thriller, crime series releases on October 24th!

Thank you @damyantig and @ThomasandMercer for the gifted arc!

#BIPOC #BIPOCauthor #DamyantiBiswas #TheBlueMonsoon #TheBlueBar #Indianauthor #SingaporeAuthors #shnidhi #thriller #thrillerbooks #Crimeprocedural

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This is not a review- review. It contains spoilers for books one and two.
This is the second in the series after The Blue Bar. The main factors I liked in book one have been negated in this one. While the police procedural and the case are good, this one amplifies the caste stereotypes and paints a one-sided picture. I’m tired and sick of it.
Heck, even in the series, did Arnav’s sister get saved from being r*ped because of her caste? Did she get justice because she was a savarana? Why did she have to commit suicide?
The book has been written for the target audience (not just West but the self-proclaimed activists who benefit more from caste than everyone else; they will lose the most if the issue ceases to exist).
I don’t know whose choice this was, but this is disappointing on many levels. There’s quite a bit of research, as mentioned at the end of the book. It explained why the content is like this.
Maybe I should be glad the list didn't include a book that calls for stoning a community (Brahmins) to death. It's by an author who agreed that she did not report sexual harassment by a senior professor because he belonged to a 'lower' caste. The elite and 'intellectual' community always protect their own, no matter how horrible the crimes. In fiction, of course, it’s the others who do this.
Even if I ignore the overdose of caste and focus on the plot, a couple of aspects made it hard to enjoy this one.
First, there’s Tara. I really tried to empathize with her. For an independent woman to end up in a wheelchair and depend on others for basic functions can be beyond frustrating. She would be angry due to the helplessness she feels. However, she soon loses my support. There’s stupid; then there’s stupid. Tara manages to join the latter category. And what’s with that self-righteous attitude?
Then there is Sita. I love a smart, efficient, and honest policewoman. She has a greater role in this one, which I appreciate. However, her constant pining for her married boss grated on my nerves. Mention it once or twice, but not so often that it begins to define everything she does!
Never mind that she is married, too (even if her hubby is an A-class prick). It shouldn’t make her seem like someone who goes the extra mile only because she has a thing for the guy. How am I supposed to interpret her theory around switching her devotion from Hanuman to Maa Kali? She can worship any god or goddess. Why make it an issue?
It reminded me of a young maid who embraced Christianity when she was five months pregnant. Apparently, someone did the same and gave birth to a son. The poor gods must have a spreadsheet with multiple access rights to track all this!
Though I expected an over-explanation of things, it gets a little too distracting. Why would Arnav think of how a person would fill their car’s fuel tank in another country while the employees in the petrol bunk (gas station) do it in India? Makes no sense. The limited third-person POV makes it hard to read minute explanations. People don’t think that way.
Still, I appreciate that the content related to kids is kept to a minimum, and there isn’t anything graphic. Even the other descriptions are provided only as much as necessary for the plot.
Thank you, NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and the author, for the eARC. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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This upcoming release gets five thrilling stars from me. Here is why:
💙 The world of Mumbai come to life with temples, factories, police stations, chawls, and monsoon flooded streets.
💙 Richly drawn characters like Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, his wife Tara, and the indefatigable Sub-Inspector Sita Naik (my favorite).
💙This is a sequel, but worked well as a standalone.
💙 The well-paced plot moved at a a breakneck pace and kept the pages turning.
💙 Includes a list of characters, a glossary (look up words like chawl there), and informative author's notes.
Thank you to Thomas Mercer and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

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When a mutilated body, with a cult tantric symbol, was found in a sacred Mumbai temple during this gloomy and depressing monsoon rain, it is just the beginning of a series of horrific and harrowing investigations for Senior inspector Arnav.

When the body count of the same MO increases, and the fierce torrential rain further complicates the investigations, Senior Inspector Arnav is racing against time to catch the killer before more harm is being done!

Damyanti Biswas has said that sequels are tricky beasts, but she has outdone herself in THE BLUE MONSOON, the sequel to The Blue Bar! THE BLUE MONSOON is gripping, tense, spine-chilling, and the suspense intensifies as I turn pages until the end! The excellent Biswas also gives me an insight into Mumbai's corrupted political and police system and the unsavory caste system.

I enjoyed THE BLUE MONSOON tremendously, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a dark, twisty and gripping thriller! Now, I am looking forward to Biswas’s next thriller!!

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I was ecstatic when the author reached out with the ARC for The Blue Monsoon! While it's the 2nd book in the Blue Mumbai series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

I read this book over a few days that absolutely had no rain. And yet in my mind it must have been raining when I was reading this. Biswas' depictions of the monsoon were that strong. Since the book takes off with a ritual murder at a Mumbai temple, the strength of the depictions also enhance the gruesome details. As Detective Arnav is thrown into the high profile investigation, he also tries to balance his wife's pregnancy. Biswas didn't hold back at all in this novel. I admired the depth it went to regarding the caste and power systems in India while not missing a beat from the non-stop action.

Thank you so much to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the eARC of this high-paced thriller!

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The Blue Monsoon was a powerful, complex procedural by Damyanti Biswas. It transported me to India and its culture and customs. The setting of this gritty, bleak, and suspenseful crime drama is the city of Mumbai during the season of torrential rain, with the potential for drenching the evidence at crime scenes, washing out roads, and interrupting phone connections. The relentless weather makes the complicated crime investigation even more difficult.

We are quickly introduced to numerous characters, some referred to by several names. The author has helpfully provided a list of characters and any alternate names at the beginning of the book. This is always awkward and time-consuming to navigate with a Kindle. I solved this by keeping the list open on my iPad while reading on my Kindle. This was only necessary briefly as the characters were so well-defined and distinct that there was no tendency to confuse them. There was also a helpful glossary of unfamiliar Indian words at the end of the book.

This was a gritty, compelling, and complicated tale of murder, police corruption, religious strife, politics, social hierarchy and stratification, vast wealth amidst extreme poverty, class differences, caste, bigotry and prejudice.

Senior Inspector Arnav Sing Rajput is a kind, honest, dedicated police officer. His high-caste position prevents him from fully understanding the plight of those born into the low caste. He regards any distinctions as a thing of the past. When a badly mutilated and castrated body of a man is found at a Hindu temple dedicated to Ma Kaali, Arnav investigates this shocking murder. A tantric symbol has been carved on the body. He must navigate a tangled web of secrets, greed, resentment, betrayal, revenge and depravity. He investigates with his trusted officer, Sita and by informers on the fringe of the law. There is a mole within the police department leaking police work, and a horrific photo of the victim at the temple is uploaded to the website of Chita Varli, a social influencer with many followers.

Sita is a female police officer with a low-caste background. As a woman in a male-dominated police force, she is ignored and undervalued, except by Arnav, who admires her work ethic. Their efforts lead them to dark, disturbing crimes involving child pornography and human trafficking. Highly positioned Officer Desai is manipulating evidence to protect his high-caste peers and may be taking bribes.

Arnav must work to solve the crimes, and two more bodies with similar mutilations are found near Hindu temples. He is dealing with issues in his private life. His wife Tara is seven months pregnant and in a wheelchair following a spinal injury. She is headstrong and bored and, against advice, starts volunteering at a charity for children. This is next to a wig factory that has become the focus of interest because of its connection to the victims and suspects.

Tara receives threatening messages and further injures herself on one of her outings. A Mafia don and his goons have come under suspicion. His girlfriend, Zoya, is Tara's best friend. Tara is back in hospital, and her doctor has disappeared. Also, among those under suspicion is the social influencer, Chita, the temple priest and his tantric nephew, the manager of the wig factory, and the leader of a political movement pressing for more rights for those of low caste. The case is solved in a complex and surprising conclusion I never anticipated. Will a connection be found among any of the suspects and/or the crimes driven by another individual?

It is recommended to any reader who enjoys challenging police procedurals and crime fiction within an informative cultural setting, a vivid sense of place and characters who come to life on the pages. I wish to thank NetGalley, the publisher and author of Damyanti Biswas, for an early copy of the book. I have already purchased and downloaded the previous book in the series. Publication is due on October 24th.

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I enjoyed the first book of this detective thriller series set in Mumbai when I read it earlier this year, and I've been looking forward to read the sequel. I do love a good story with an international setting, and it's not often that I get to armchair travel to India... Add a healthy dose of murder and a focus on personal developments in main character Arnav's life, and I was very excited to start reading The Blue Monsoon. I can't deny that it turned out to be a very solid sequel indeed!

There is no doubt that once again Mumbai is the star of the show. The Indian setting is what brought this series on my radar in the first place, and both books have more than delivered so far. There are so many vivid descriptions of both the city itself and the local culture and customs, and it really helped giving some insight in what life in Mumbai is like. There is a useful glossary in the back to help with the unfamiliar terms, and you will also find a complete list of characters you can fall back on if you don't exactly remember who everyone is and/or where they stand. I do recommend reading the books in order though, because you will be missing out on important character background otherwise.

The plot in The Blue Monsoon is both complex and intricate, and it was interesting to see everything slowly coming together. There is a lot of focus on politics and religion as well as Indian culture; while intriguing, I did feel it ended up overpowering the plot in points. In fact, I'm positive it ended up affecting the pace as well, and it took me a lot longer than expected to actually finish this story. Part of this might just have been the reading slump talking, but the pace did seem a lot slower than in the first book. I can't deny that this sequel goes out with a bang though, and things definitely speed up towards the ending.

It was great to meet up with main character Arnav again, and I really appreciated the focus on his personal life as well as the police investigation itself. This balance really enriched the plot and it gave everything that happened even more impact. There is no doubt that the case in The Blue Monsoon ended up hitting very close to home! That said, I could have done without the love triangle vibe and Sita pining for Arnav... It kind of put a damper on things for me, but then again I'm always allergic to love triangles.

If you are looking for a complex, vivid and well written detective thriller where the Mumbai setting really jumps off the page, I can recommend both Blue Mumbai books. Armchair travel and murder; what more can you ask for?

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