Cover Image: The Blue Monsoon

The Blue Monsoon

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Member Reviews

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 an amazing read and gripping all the way to the end. Loved the characters, the locale and the information on a culture I knew nothing about. I can't wait until the next story!

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I have received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Blue Monsoon is the second book within the Blue Mumbai Series. In this, you are still following Senior Inspector Arnav and the current crime he is trying to solve. There's so many twists and turns throughout this book that it's so hard to keep track of who was or wasn't a true suspect. With social media, dismembered bodies, and so many threats lurking in the shadows, it was hard to follow the pieces before the big reveal.

Or maybe that's just how I felt when reading this book the first time around. I don't even want to mention how I felt the second time around. With a storm brewing over the city, each chapter held me in a grip because I just wanted to know who did it. I also wanted to see if I could remember who did it.

In the end, I still really enjoyed the heck out of this series and the challenges the characters went through. The big reveal still got to me, so spoiler: I didn't remember who was behind it all. I definitely need some mystery thrillers today and this didn't disappoint one bit.

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Certainly an improvement upon the previous instalment, and also less deliberately brutal. Biswas' prose is more measured, more thought-through in "The Blue Monsoon", often leaving the reader to fill in the gaps between her descriptions rather than spelling it all out and making it feel too in-your-face.

The narrative is just as interesting, though I do wish she stakes out a different location in her next because unlike what she did with Delhi in "You Beneath Your Skin", her engagement with Bombay is at par with her contemporaries, which basically means it's more of the same, and not written much differently.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

The Blue Monsoon is the second book in the Blue Mumbai thriller series by Damyanti Biswas, and it delivers a gripping and gritty story of crime, corruption, and caste in the city of Mumbai.

The protagonist, Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, is faced with a series of ritual murders which appear to be linked to a mysterious tantra cult. As Arnav tries to unravel the clues and catch the killer, he also has to deal with his wife's high-risk pregnancy and an anonymous threat to his family. The author paints a vivid picture of Mumbai, with its contrasts of wealth and poverty, tradition and modernity, violence and beauty. She also explores the complex and sensitive issues of caste discrimination, religious extremism, and social justice, without being preachy or judgmental. The characters are well-developed and realistic, each with their own flaws and strengths. The plot is fast-paced and suspenseful. The Blue Monsoon is a thrilling and immersive read that will appeal to fans of crime fiction, especially those who enjoy stories set in exotic and diverse locations.

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(3.5 stars)

This is a strong sequel to The Blue Bar and a great thriller. I hope we'll have more books in this series! 🤗
It was a very informative read concerning all the social commentaries, especially in regards to India’s cast system which I was very much unaware of. The author succeeded in making everything flow so that it never felt info dumpy. And the setting of this book was amazing, having it taking place during the monsoon added a layer of tension that kept me on the edge of my seat!
I just found the pace to be a little too slow in some portions of the book, and I think Tara’s character arc took a toll 🥺 I also don't like the fact that the only trans character of this book ended up being one of the bad guys…

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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
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for giving me an advance copy.

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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Blue Bar was such an incredible debut, but WOW! What a sequel!! I loved the realistic descriptions, the multiple POVs, and especially the creepy killer’s POV. The plot is dark and compelled me to sit and read more. The suspense, police procedural, and twists were excellent. I loved traveling back to the streets of Mumbai with Senior Inspector Arnav!

I highly recommend reading The Blue Bar, which is the first book in this series prior to reading this one just so you can get a better understanding of the characters. If you do want to read this book as a standalone, @damyantig included a character list at the beginning of the book as well as a very detailed glossary of cultural terms.

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In Book 2 of the Blue Mumbai Thriller series, The Blue Monsoon, (Thomas & Mercer 2023), Damyanti Biswas hits another homerun. Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput finds himself helping his new wife Tara deal with attacks suffered in the prior book that placed her in a wheelchair when he is called out on a particularly nasty murder--this one the mutilation of a man’s body on the floor of a Hindu place of worship. Not only is his face shredded, but his genitalia is sliced away, clearly indicating this is not a random killing. There are few clues though lots of conjecture, swirling around the man's social status in Indian society, the location of the murder, and that there are missing expensive necklaces that only the priest had access to. Politics and societal rules demand Arnav solve this quickly, despite that the evidence isn't clear or sufficient. 

There is so about this book that makes it fresh and unusual. Readers get a glimpse of Indian police procedurals, different from any other country (not good or bad, just different), the influence of gods and goddesses in common people's lives, and the weight of Indian castes on everyday events, something an American (like me) don't even know exists. To emphasize these points, the book is written from several perspectives--Detective Arnav's, his wife Tara's, and his co-policewoman who has a crush on Arnav despite that she's married.  Overall, another excellent addition to a series where each book places readers in the wet, steamy world of crowded corrupt Mumbai so deftly, we feel that we live there.

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I listened to the audio for this and I was blown away. Everything about this story captivated me and held my attention. The author has done a fantastic job of weaving together the details in a way that had me incredibly invested in what was going to happen.

The audio narration was also exceptional and added a great deal to the immersion for me. This was a mystery thriller set in Mumbai and I really loved that about it. I loved the depth of the story as well. It was intricately connected and multi-layered and I appreciate that in a book. I also loved the cultural element because I could feel the author’s connection to it and it felt genuine and well rounded as a result.

This was my first experience with this author’s work but I will definitely be reading more in the future. 5 stars well deserved.

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The sequel to "The Blue Bar," titled "The Blue Monsoon," is a captivating read that stands on its own but beckons readers to delve into the characters' backgrounds. Arnav finds himself grappling with challenges in both his professional and personal spheres. His wife, now in a wheelchair and expecting, adds a layer of complexity to his life. Simultaneously, Arnav is drawn into a harrowing crime scene investigation, where a man has been brutally mutilated, with body parts left at a temple's steps.

"The Blue Monsoon" not only meets but surpasses expectations by delving into intricate and nuanced themes such as casteism, police procedural matters, the challenges of a difficult pregnancy, and the intricacies of religious politics. The narrative skillfully navigates the complexities of these issues, providing a rich and engaging exploration.

As the story unfolds, it sheds light on caste and religious politics, while also presenting strong and independent female characters in the form of Sita Naik and Arnav's wife, Tara. The novel intricately weaves together these elements, creating a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I was recommended The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas and I’m pleased that I was able to have the opportunity to read and review such an engaging novel.

The mystery pertaining to the grisly initial crime is engrossing and I was trying to guess the perpetrator as the pieces eventually came together. The villain is not a simplistic black-and-white caricature of evil and I appreciated how the plot illustrates that circumstances and misdeeds can create both heroes and villains alike.

I enjoyed reading about Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, his wife Tara, his daughter Pia, Sub-Inspector Sita Naik and the family, acquaintances and coworkers that inhabit their world. They are fascinating characters with flaws and motivations that felt authentic and even relatable given certain situations.

I really enjoyed how accessible The Blue Monsoon was to me both as a new reader-as I had not read the previous book in the series, though I may do so-and as someone who is not well acquainted with the cultural and political aspects of Mumbai.

The discrimination pertaining to the caste system, the corruption within the police force, anti-Muslim sentiments, misogyny and transphobia all play a role in the Blue Monsoon. At times it was a little difficult to keep reading due to how despondent things seemed, but I pushed onward as I felt that the inevitable resolution would be worth it.

Damyanti Biswas’ writing also flows in such a captivating manner that the information presented didn’t feel like exposition and I honestly believe I was able to become a bit more-educated while also reading a gripping novel.

Thank you very much to NetGalley, Thomas and Mercer and Damyanti Biswas for allowing me to read this wonderful book in exchange for my honest review.

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In this sequel to The Blue Bar, Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is drawn into a deeply disturbing murder investigation when a desecrated body is discovered at a Hindu temple in his jurisdiction in Mumbai. Speculation swirls around the identity of the suspect after a video of the body was leaked on a popular local influencer's social media account. Is the mafia don lover of Arnav's wife Tara's best friend involved? Arnav urgently vets likely suspects as the body count increases and the relentless rain of monsoon season washes away valuable evidence and impedes progress on the case.

I went into this novel without reading the prequel; however, it works as a stand-alone novel. There are background details that I was curious about, but they are not essential to understanding this plot.

The Mumbai setting, cultural details, and the dichotomy of wealth and poverty added to the plot's depth and tension. Arnav and Tara's relationship dynamic is relatable as she struggles through a difficult pregnancy while her husband works long hours. The diverse characters, including wheelchair-user MC Tara and transgender representation, provide unique perspectives to the story.

If you're looking for a fast-paced thriller with police procedural detail and family drama in the mix, The Blue Monsoon is for you. You'll want to curl up under a blanket for an afternoon as Inspector Arnav strives to solve the case while the rains saturate Mumbai.

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This book grabbed my attention from the first chapter. Chief Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput has a bizarre ritual murder to solve that’s intertwined with his family, friends, religion, Bollywood, Mumbai’s caste system, and the mafia. I appreciate that the author included a cast of characters with short descriptions at the beginning, it was helpful to keep names and relationships straight. If you like police procedurals that delve into the lives of the characters, I think you’ll really enjoy The Blue Monsoon.

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I got the first in this series to read but haven’t had time, so I’m checking out here out of courtesy. I’ll buy a copy when I get through the first one.

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A brilliant sequel to a thrilling series, The Blue Monsoon was a nail-biting, hair-raising, serial killer read.

Senior Inspector Arnav Rajput is called in when a mutilated body is found on the steps of a temple. With temple jewellery missing and the temple priest a suspect, the police have their work cut out for them - oscillating between a ritualistic killing and a mafia crime as the cause of the murder. With the murders growing in number and viciousness, Arnav and his team are in a race against time to stop the killer before one of them become the next target.

The plot is set two years after the events of the previous book with Arnav and Tara now married and expecting their second child together. As with the prequel, the tone of the writing brings to life the sights, sounds, and smells of Mumbai. The Indian monsoons play as prominent a role in this narrative, as the main antagonist themselves, warring for dominance as they both wreak havoc in the lives of the other characters. Through the plot, the author also explores the horrors of the caste system - an evil that is very prevalent but not talked about enough in the Indian society.

I loved the complexity portrayed by each character - the antagonist's escalating rage, Arnav dealing with the married man's conundrum of work-life balance, Tara's mounting insecurities due to her incapacitated condition; Sita Naik - fighting crime, misogyny and unrequited love; and even a conscientious underworld don - all together made for a roller coaster of a plotline.

Overall, I am in love with this series and I need more - that's the review.Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer for providing a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a dark crime thriller/ murder mystery that brings to the surface the truths of the caste system and various beliefs among people. It is horrifying but true and resonates very deeply. The story is gripping and pulls the reader into a rain filled journey through Mumbai as Senior Inspector Arnav tries to uncover the person or persons behind a string of murders which seem to have some religious connection as well as suspected underworld connections. This book follows the characters introduced in Book 1, The Blue Bar, but can be read as a standalone like I did. There are some brief references to events in the first book, but they eventually make sense as we read through The Blue Monsoon.

What can I say about the characters? They are diverse, interesting, intriguing with so many different shades and layers. It takes time to peel back each layer and author Damyanti does just that. It's very hard not to develop a connection with each of the characters, each of them playing an important part in driving the plot. Tara is an example of the kind of strength we can only strive towards while Pia is your typical teenager who has been through something traumatic but is still able to move past it enough to live a normal life. She is surrounded by love and care and that is beautiful. I also formed a deep respect for Arnav and his way of thinking, the respect he has for people as well as his no-nonsense attitude. These are just some of the characters in the story and being the main ones, I have focused on them. The supporting characters are many and have their own purpose for being in this story. Each of them add a new layer to the plot as it progresses and reaches the climax.

The author has indeed done a lot of research to write about the police procedurals, religious and tantric beliefs, caste system and how people are treated as well as the lives of people in Mumbai, especially those who cannot afford most luxuries. It is devastating to read about their plight and life, but it's something I believe we can learn from, especially their determination and drive. Another aspect is Tara's condition and paralysis, how it affects her and those around her, her insecurities, the love of the people who care for her. The author has taken time to focus on these as well as each of the specific relationships in the book. There is a layer to all of it that remains with us even after finishing the book.

Having talked about the characters and various themes of the story, I would also like to comment on the author's style of writing. The story is very well-written with a flow that will pull the reader in. The words seem to just flow off the page and into the mind of the reader, painting pictures of the events as they unfold and giving us enough perspective to imagine the characters as they move about or interact. This is truly a masterpiece of storytelling and a book I truly enjoyed despite the themes involved.

I highly recommend this book for all fans of Crime Thrillers and Murder mysteries. The Blue Monsoon is one for the shelves and TBRs, this is a must-read!

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Fantastic read!! I've read all Damyanti books and enjoyed them. The author has a beautiful and captivating writing style. She sweeps you to exotic Mumbai in this procedural case. One of the reasons I love her books is because the author connects the reader to the cultural and we explore the traditions of Mumbai. I've never visited but felt as if I was there by the vivid descriptions. She gives minuet details while solving a gripping, complex case.

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I loved the first book in this series, The Blue Bar, a lot last year so when @damyantig reached out and asked if I wanted to read an arc copy of The Blue Monsoon, I quickly responded yes please!
The first book in the series had me hooked with Arnav Rajput’s investigation of a serial killer in Mumbai. I couldn’t wait to see the direction @damyantig would take the sequel, especially how she left things for some of the characters.
In this book, Arnav is again investigating unusual homicides, and soon has assistance from Sita Naik, one of my favorite characters from The Blue Bar. Sita’s loyalty and sense of justice is back, fiercer than ever, and with a well-deserved promotion! I loved that she had a much bigger role and voice in this book.
This book tackles the complex and deeply rooted issue of the caste system without being overwhelming or hard to understand.
@damyantig includes a glossary of terms at the back of the book for people who might be unfamiliar with some of the Indian phrases, but I thought she did a great job with including context clues in this book and The Blue Bar so I didn’t need to refer to the glossary.
The immersive writing puts you there in the heart of Mumbai and chills you with the onslaught of the monsoon - the definition of atmospheric writing!
Multiple POV lets you view the investigation and its related threats from multiple angles, giving the reader a slight advantage over Arnav. Just a slight one though, because Arnav is a highly skilled and intuitive detective and works relentlessly to keep his family, friends, and city safe.

Posted to Instagram @rolandreviews - Nov 2, 2023
Posted to Goodreads @Katie&Roland - Nov 8, 2023

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Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called to a disturbing crime scene, when a badly mutilated body is found on the steps of a Hindu temple. The police are baffled, and there is little evidence go on, other than the arcane tantric symbols inscribed on the body. Whispers of the sinister crime are causing unsettled feelings in Mumbai, and this edginess explodes into fear when gruesome pictures of the murder appear on the social media feed of a well known Bollywood influencer.

Hampered by the incessant monsoon rains, a lack of resources, and the desire of his superiors to calm the mood of the public, Arnav feels under pressure to solve the case as soon as possible - it does not help that he is distracted by the fact that his wife is heavily pregnant. As the bodies start to pile up, and the investigation points to a possible link with organised crime, Arnav finds the safety of his own family under threat. Can he solve this bizarre case before death comes calling at his door?

The Blue Monsoon is set a couple of years after the bloody events of Damyanti Biswas' first gripping Blue Mumbai thriller The Blue Bar. Arnav is now married to his childhood sweetheart Tara, who is still suffering from the disabling injuries she sustained in the serial killer case that brought them back together. Arnav is trying to get his head around becoming a husband, and father to Pia, the daughter he did not know he had until he was reunited with Tara, and the impending birth of the baby that Tara is carrying - and when a complex case drops in his lap, he is torn between his responsibilities as a family man and those of his job.

Biswas contrives a seriously twisty case for Arnav to negotiate in this second book, that weaves his private and professional lives together, and goes far beyond the dark desires of an individual like the Blue Bar case. Instead, this story revolves around cold-hearted revenge, tied up with the prejudices associated with tradition and strict social boundaries. Interlaced through a fast-paced investigation, that has all the chaotic drama you would expect from a police force dealing with the challenges of solving crime in urban melting pot like modern day Mumbai, Biswas works threads about deeply held religious beliefs, and the ingrained strictures of a caste system that still holds sway. It is an intoxicating, and often bewildering, combination, that I found rather eye-opening. Throw in a bit of gory bloodletting, wide-spread corruption, horrifying exploitation, blind-siding betrayal, and all the emotional turmoil present in Arnav's family life (and that of his colleagues), and there is a lot to keep you busy!

My favourite person in this tale was Sita. Her intelligence and sheer guts were key factors in making this book so engaging, and her determination to succeed in her law enforcement career was admirable, despite all the obstacles she had to surmount as a woman in a man's world. I was also pleased to see that Tara's character is fleshed out much more in this second book, and that she carries her side of the plot well in the story.

If you are looking for a series that really gets into the nitty gritty of life in an Indian city, then Blue Mumbai is definitely for you. I have very much enjoyed the way Biswas blends a gripping crime story with a glimpse of Mumbai life in a way I have not seen before, and I hope that there will be a book three!

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I’ve read police procedurals based in the UK and in the US but never based in India. It was a great read!

I feel like I learnt a lot about culture and religion even though it is a fiction novel.

I wish I had read the first book in the series before I read this one as I would have had more of a background on the characters and events that are mentioned but it does work as a standalone.

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