Cover Image: The Blue Monsoon

The Blue Monsoon

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This author is now on my auto buy list. The imagery. The lyrical snd devastating narrative. The top-notch suspense. Characters I love abd enjoy.
Grab a copy - you are going to love it!
Blurb from Goodreads - 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.

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Wow! What a fabulous read. The atmospheric setting - Mumbai - cracking pace and rich characters, made for a impactful story. I liked the focus on Arnav's relationships with his family and colleagues. The author had a unique story structure, multiple POVs, short chapters. What a ride! Highly recommend.

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After a run of mystery murders set across the Western world, it was really good reading one set in chaotic Mumbai. The elements of the stories combined so many things peculiar to the East like the caste politics which would be unheard of in the West though the Karen’s of the world are doing their best to change that.

A ritual murder a body carved up, mutilated found on the steps of a Kaali temple is enough to set animosities between races up. When the first is followed by others Inspector Rajput has a full on investigation on his hands, with moles in his office, traitors everywhere and his own home rife with secrets.

This was a page turner - a powerful social media influencer, caste politics at the station itself, personal threats to his wife and the case turns up clues, victims and suspects alike.

Excellent detective skills, in a fast paced environment this was a fantastic read.

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When I read the character list at the beginning (not having read The Blue Bar) I thought I’m never going to remember who all these people are. But as you start reading it soon becomes clear.

The story takes place in Mumbai, during the monsoon season and it’s constantly pouring with rain. It opens with the discovery of a man’s body, horrifically disfigured and certain body parts cut off. The body is found on the steps of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kaali, thereby desecrating a place of worship. Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput of the Mumbai Police Force is called to the scene – he was the main character in The Blue Bar. His wife Tara is in a wheelchair after being shot trying to protect their teenage daughter Pia.

However, I have to admit that Sub-Inspector Sita Naik is probably my favourite character. She’s so brave in both a world and a police force dominated by men, many of them corrupt. Followed by forensic officer Surat Tambe, with his long white beard and eccentric ways. Forensic pathologists are always eccentric in books, but I guess they have to be with the job that they do.

The fourfold caste system features highly in The Blue Monsoon. It’s very well explained by the author, so we can really understand its implications. Of course, it’s long been illegal to discriminate in India, but that doesn’t stop people from still using it against others. It was based mainly on the profession you were born into eg teachers and priests, rulers and warriors, landowners and merchants, or skilled workers like ironsmiths and weavers. The untouchables, now known as the Scheduled Caste, were outside the hierarchy, and often persecuted and segregated.

The corruption in the police force is deeply shocking. At one point a senior officer accepts a bribe in exchange for allowing a victim’s body to be cremated before it can be identified, in order to spare the family shame and destroy their business and their standing in the community. Whaaat? And he’s not even fired, let alone prosecuted.

The imagery of the Remy Virgin Hair Factory (the name is explained in the story) is so well written. The long hair used for wigs hanging up to dry on the roof. It must appear terrifying – like faceless heads, their tresses blowing out behind them.

I never expected the outcome, it was a real surprise to me. This is a marvellous book – I read way into the night. It has so much depth and religious and political background, compared to the usual police procedural.

Many thanks to @lovebookstours for inviting me to be part of #TheBlueMonsoonTour and to NetGalley for an ARC.

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I could not put this book down. I loved the first book in this series, and I loved this one even more. Biswas has absolutely outdone herself.

This is the second time we've gone into the Mumbai police scene with Arnav and his crew. Last time, he almost lost the ones he loved, and his gritty, rule-following policing. This time around, he and the ones he loves are threatened again, including his soon-to-be born child with his new wife. This is all set among the atmospheric backdrop of monsoon season flooding and grisly murders, making it an absolutely page-turning thrilling read.

Sometimes, when you read a sequel, it is disappointing. But on a rare occasion, I enjoy the sequel more than the first and this is one of those. Following familiar characters is like checking in with old friends. Though, I guess it would be more like a parasocial relationship, but maybe we just won't go there.

I always enjoy learning new things about different cultures in my reading, even when it's reading for fun. I still haven't read many books about Indian culture, but I have read some about the caste system. Being from the Southern United States, I am very familiar with one of the other big examples of people thinking their better than other people because of some arbitrary reason - chattel slavery. Learning more about that through school and personal education, references to India's caste system are actually quite common. An unfortunate thing to have in common.

I really loved the storyline for Arnav's right-hand lady cop friend Sita in this book. She is a strong female character, and I felt like she grew a great deal in this story. I really hope to see more stories in this world and more of her especially.

I look forward to reading more by the author, including her first book, which is on my far too long TBR list. She told me the other day that one has even been picked up as a television series. I would absolutely love to see more of Arnav's world.

Who's It For?

If you love thrilling, gritty police books that keep you turning the pages well into the night, this is absolutely the book for you.

Content Warnings: There are several topics covered in the book that some readers may find disturbing, including, but not limited to Pregnancy, childbirth, Graphic Violence, Sexual Assault, Adult Situations, Adult Language, Police Corruption, Transphobia, Homophobia, Child Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Infidelity, Mistreatment of Differently Abled People, and more.

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Brilliantly written, this story will stay with you for a very long time. This is a genre I never thought I would read and I would dive into another book right now if there was one available.

Set two years after the events in book 1, this is the continuing story of Arnav and Tara, their daughter Pina and all the challenges that have overtaken them since book 1. Add in brutal murder [THAT was some descriptions I never needed to read], revenge, hatred that has simmered for years, and you have one heck of a story that just has you holding your breath until the reveal [where I learned, along with the characters, just WHAT the heck had been going on, and boy-howdy, is it a DOOZY] and will stay with you for a very long time.

Very well done.

Thank you to NetGalley. Damyanti Biswas, and Thomas & Mercer for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas is a medium paced thriller set in Mumbai. The book is the second instalment of Blue Monsoon Thriller Series but can be read as a standalone. Right from the first page the atmosphere is dark and heavy and the thrill hits our body and mind. The only loophole for me were the relation between few of the characters in the beginning. It confused me a little bit but, after that it was a thrilling ride. The mystery deepens and it takes you on an exciting journey of murder and superstitions. No one knows what is right until you reach the climax.

The book also focuses on the personal and professional life of a policeman which equally contributed to the plot. The haunting atmosphere and the mystery was just enigmatic and readers are definitely going to enjoy the book. Now, after reading this book, I am going to read the first part also. Definitely, the book deserves 4 stars and my recommendation. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an opportunity to be a part of the blog tour.

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‘The Blue Monsoon’ is an exciting and engrossing tale that kept me up to the wee hours, as I was determined to finish it! This is the second in the series, the follow up to ‘The Blue Bar’ but it can be read as a stand-alone very easily as that is how I can came to this series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and all the background information required is supplied by the author. I will be going back to read the first book though as I loved the setting and the characters.

When a ritual murder at a temple in Mumbai occurs Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is called in to investigate what has happened. A male body has been found disfigured on the steps of a local Kaali temple. Drawn into his flesh are the symbols of a tantric sect. The desecration of a body at the temple puts Mumbai on edge. Arnav is divided by trying to catch the murderer and looking after his disabled wife, who is currently pregnant with their second child. Then when video footage of the murder is uploaded to a Bollywood influencer’s social media, the case takes a very unexpected turn!

This is set in a gritty and dark India, a city under a deluge and one where tensions are rising. I loved how the author wasn’t afraid to highlight the differences between those who had and those who haven’t and how they survive even on the same street. I instantly felt as if I was back in Mumbai and I loved that! The characters were well formed and all had their own distinct voices, especially Arnav, Tara his wife and Sita his work colleague. They all came across as strong characters and they manage to project a light on social issues in India. Being disable in India is hard - society isn’t set up to help those who become or are born disabled, especially if you are poor. Sita makes us examine the patriarchy that is still prevalent in Indian society.

It is clear that the author has done her research when it comes to the caste system in India, with a lot of academic texts mentioned in the afterword and the use of a sensitivity reader on the topic as well. The caste system is a very nuanced subject and is ingrained in Indian society despite some progress since independence from the British. Did it hit true for me? Yes it did. I had one niggle but to mention that verges on a spoiler so I won’t! I remember the first time I visited India, when I was 9, and being shocked by poverty and the jobs that I saw people doing. When my mother tried to explain it to me I was very confused. It’s only through reading and educating myself on the topic that I felt I could understand, but not condone it, myself.

This was a fast paced book that kept me engrossed and I flew through it in one day! Hopefully, we are getting another in the series.

Let me know if you pick this one up!

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Having loved The Blue Bar, the first book in the Blue Mumbai Thriller series, I jumped at the opportunity to read its sequel, The Blue Monsoon. Sometimes sequels can disappoint but, if possible, I loved this second book in the series even more than its predecessor! It can be considered a standalone novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Arnav and Tara with the feeling of meeting old friends. The author is very skilled at character development and scene setting. Throughout my reading experience I could see the characters in front of me, as if in the flesh, and Mumbai, with its smells and the incessant rain, was all around me. What I would have given to have a real cutting chai in my hands! The multiple points of view kept things intriguing and the pace intense. Plus, the cultural references to the caste system and other aspects of Indian society fed my interest for the country and taught me something new. Amazing!

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Arnav Singh Rajput is back in Mumbai in yet another case where he is following the case of a murder of a man outside a temple and a possible political connection of the suspect. The author brings many characters back in the book who had exited with the blue bar. The research of the city Mumbai by the author is remarkable and it's title does full justice in the way Damyanti talks of the rain and a very important character in the book. The author explores the family dynamics of Arnav and Tara and Tara's helplessness because of her paralytic condition and the self doubt that takes over Tara. There are many sides of the plot that unravels the white, the black and grey of the most unexpected characters. The way Damyanti crafts the characteristics of various characters really lights up the experience of the crime thriller

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This is an extremely complex book. Heaven knows how the author managed to plot such an intricate story with so many dead ends and red herrings without getting lost, I’d absolutely love to see her drafting process. The skill of authors of police procedural never ceases to amaze me.

The plot of this novel is extremely brutal so it is probably not suitable for the faint of heart. The author pulls no punches when it comes to setting out the gruesome injuries suffered by the victims right from the very first pages of the book and you will be left from the off wondering what kind of twisted mind and motives are involved in the murders. But you’ll never guess, I certainly didn’t until my suspicions were raised very close to the end. It is a very engaging and mystifying mystery for those with the stomach for it.

For me, though, the absolute best thing about this book, as the previous one, is the picture it portrays of Mumbai and its society, this time during the time of the monsoon. It is such a very different environment to anything I am used to and not a place I have visited, although I long to go, but this book transported me there and made me feel the heartbeat of the place. For me, there is nothing better in a book than allowing me to explore something new and this book does that in spades.

In addition, I found the insight into the caste system and how it affects people’s behaviour and attitudes to one another and their feelings about themselves absolutely riveting. It is such an alien concept but one which the author explores with feeling, delicacy and compassion and it forms the heart of this story. Any book which teaches me something I didn’t know before and gives me insights I would never otherwise have had is a worthwhile read to me.

The Blue Monsoon is not an easy read, it takes concentration and an open mind and a lack of squeamishness but it will pay for the effort in spades.

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I dnfed around 15%. I’m liking the story but for me at this point it was moving a little slow for my mood. I definitely will be picking it back up at some point

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Damyanti Biswas for my #gifted copy

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The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas is her third thriller and second of the series after The Blue Bar with inspector Arnav Singh Rajput being the lead character and chief investigator. The Blue monsoon carries forward, Arnav's personal and professional life. More mysteriously mutilated bodies with tantric symbols drawn on them, intrigue the inspector and his sharp mind analyses different motives from celebrity influencer to underworld kingpin, to priest to a kinnar. Everyone is on his radar. With each twist a new clue surfaces that interlinks different characters to the narrative and leads the inspector to the main culprit.

In all her stories Damyanti manages to hide the actual criminal in the narrative almost till the end. The characters of her stories have layer to their behaviour. No one is white and black but there are shades of grey to each person. That is why it is surprising to turn the pages and discover the culprit. As the story unfolds, reader is drawn into the narrative and is left surprised as the curtains rise on the reason behind the gruesome murders.

The tight hold on the narration by Damyanti leaves readers wanting to finish the story.

Indeed a great book by Damyanti

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The Blue Monsoon is the 2nd book in the Blue Mumbai Series, but can also be read as a standalone! There were a few mentions of things that previously occurred, but I don’t feel like I was left confused—the author tied it together nicely!

This book was right up my alley—thriller with a few unexpected turns. I also love books that include the police procedure and multiple story lines (i.e. personal / professional), so this was a great read for me. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and how the book was organized into multiple POVs.

I love that Biswas included a character list with their descriptions and a glossary of terms. I definitely had to refer to each of these resources multiple times as I was reading. There were a lot of characters and the list helped me keep them straight. In addition, there were a lot of cultural terms that were unfamiliar to me so having the glossary helped me comprehend what I was reading more thoroughly.

I plan to read book #1 (The Blue Bar) soon AND I may even reread The Blue Monsoon. I am hoping that I am now more familiar with some of the terminology, I can read these books more fluidly! Pausing the reading to look things up caused me to disengage from the story line a few times and it would take me a minute to become reimmersed in the reading

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Thank you to the author and @letstalkbookspromo & for gifting me a copy to review
Reading 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐨𝐧 transported me back to the relentless rain and petrichor atmosphere of India with a steaming cup of chai in hand.

This book is the sequel to 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐫, which I have not yet read, but can easily be read as a standalone. Set against the backdrop of the bustling city of Mumbai, India, this police procedural grips you with nonstop action from start to end.

A brutal murder has taken place outside a Hindu temple which sets the clock ticking for Mumbai police to capture the killer before it turns into a media frenzy. Several suspects are at play, including a famous influencer, moles in the police force, and a mobster. Arnav, the chief inspector involved in the case, has tremendous responsibilities laid out on him to quickly find the killer while also handling his very pregnant and wheelchair-bound wife, Tara.

While Arnav and Tara take lead roles in the story, there are several characters that are integral to the story and the author weaves them in and out masterfully without complicating the reader or the plot. My personal favorite character is Sita, a bold and righteous lady cop who puts her job first despite being constantly put down for her gender and caste by her colleagues. I hope the author will consider making a future sequel with Sita as the main character!

This story is chock full of heavy themes such as casteism, the anti-Muslim sentiments, misogyny and transphobia that take in India, which I felt the author treated these topics with flair. Please do not miss the author’s notes in the end that explain the systems and beliefs of modern India integrated with the old. I appreciated the author emphasizing that India is constantly changing. Five stars for The Blue Monsoon and looking forward to more of Sita, hopefully! 🇮🇳

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This book is the second in a series following The Blue Bar. Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is back again working on horrible murders in Mumbai. At the beginning of the book the author lists the characters that appear in the book which is a really nice reference. The crime story is very good and I loved how the author incorporated local traditions and ways of life into the book. It’s done in a way to help the story and also explained to the reader who may not be familiar. I loved this insight into another culture as well as reading how crimes are investigated in a different part of the world. I highly recommend this book that you won’t want to put down!

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So, I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing about the political atmosphere in India. Coming out of this book, I feel like I have a base of knowledge to stand on now. I also have a fire of curiosity growing inside me making me want to learn more about the struggles of women and the lower caste in India, especially in Mumbai.

The Blue Monsoon is the second book in The Blue Mumbai series. I didn’t get the chance to read the first book in the series, but that wasn’t really an obstacle. The author makes several references to the past couple of years, and with minimal critical thinking skills, you can put two and two together to come to the conclusion that those were the main events that occurred in the first book.

The Blue Monsoon is categorized as a mystery/thriller. I wholeheartedly agree with that categorization. While the mystery part of the book is sound, the thriller aspects of this book is where it shines. The pacing is gripping while not being too rushed. From the beginning, you are introduced to the main characters, you are given their backgrounds as well as their current states of mind, and you are also introduced to the murder that needs to be solved.

Inspector Arnav Rajput has been called to the scene of a grisly murder, a body has been found at a Kaali temple in the middle of the Bandra District, his district, and he must go observe the crime scene. Part of him craves this need to do his job while part of him wants to stay home with his family, given the fact they have all been traumatized by the events that occurred two years prior in the first book in this series. His wife, Tara, is in a wheelchair with a spinal injury. Their daughter Pia is struggling with PTSD from being in constant danger from the same events. And, then there’s Arnav, who’s trying to keep his family together and happy, even though what they probably need is some counseling. (I don’t know how counseling is even handled in India. It isn’t handled that well in the US, so I digress.)

In this growing ball of tension, the family trauma turns into drama because everyone’s emotions are high. However, you can honestly see through everyone’s eyes and feel for each of them because the trauma is enormous. Pia is a teenager, so she is dealing with trauma and teenage angst, Tara is dealing with being stuck in a wheelchair while being supremely independent, and Arnav is struggling with trying to be in control but overbearing while trying to protect his family. How much of an empty soul would you have to have to not feel for each of them?

Besides these main characters, there are a handful of other side characters such as Sub-Inspector Sita Naik, Inspector Desai, Auntie Sujata Shinde, her children, and various other side characters. Sub-Inspector Naik is a standout, and she is probably my favorite. She is an independent woman in a society where independence and woman are contradictory terms. She is a woman who wanted a job but not a husband, at least not the one she made an agreement to marry. Blasphemous! Also, I feel like she is the most important side character as she represents the bridge between traditional views of the caste system and predeterminations based on sex and the future of where a more even and just society lies.

Speaking of these societal problems, I thought America had problems. (Joking…because we do.) The views on women in this book had me heated. I was angry. I was livid. I was ready to throw something across the room. The only thing that stopped me was the caste system, which was worse than the backward views of women in this book. Caste systems are the original form of oppression. What is one way to make sure you can keep your family's status long after you are dead? Create a caste system where your family can stay forever and never have to worry about being treated like trash because the people in the lower castes will always be there to be treated like trash. The caste system, a sure fire way to keep people in their place. It’s also a great way to sow resentment, anger, and prejudice. How can you live in that kind of society, be among the lower caste and not live in a state of anger ALL the time? The easy answer is you don’t.

Moving on, because I can rant on this topic all the livelong day. This book is as harsh and unforgiving in its descriptions of violence as it is in the portrayal of the injustices that women and citizens in castes go through on a daily basis. The violence is violent and gory. The descriptions of the injustices are also violent and gory. This book is real and doesn’t hold back.

Side note, which I found extremely interesting: the Remy Virgin Hair Factory is a major part of this book. I already knew what Remy Virgin hair was because wigs, weaves, and braids are an everyday part of the African American community. Also, I researched where the hair comes from once. I was appalled to learn about it then, and I’m glad the author included it in the book.

Thank you to the author @damyantig for providing me with this ARC. All opinions are my own, and I leave this review voluntarily.

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Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is on the scene of a ritual murder outside a Mumbai Temple and the story is on. Arnav must discern his priorities as this murder threatens not only the safety of the city but also the sanctity of his marriage. Well written.

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Thank you @amazonpublishing @letstalkbookspromo @damyantig for the #gifted copy.

I read the first book in the series - The Blue Bar and loved it. I did not hesitate to read The Blue Monsoon when I was given the opportunity. I was not disappointed! The Blue Monsoon was also a police procedural thriller. Arnav is trying to solve a murder at the temple where the body was disfigured in the middle of a Mumbai Monsoon. His wife Tara is pregnant and still trying to recover from what happened in The Blue Bar (I don't want to ruin it for those who want to catch up!)

Damyanti Biswas has become a must read author for me! I love her books. I love that she adds special touches to her books like a list of characters and a glossary of terms to help the readers. Add this one to your TBR. You won't be disappointed!

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Actual Rating 3.5

It’s monsoon season in Mumbai, and while the city is battened down, a serial killer is on the loose. The first murder occurs at a temple and appears to have ritualistic meaning. On top of that, a video of the murder is uploaded to the account of a Bollywood social media influencer. Senior Inspector Arnav is put on the case, and he finds himself in over his head. As tensions rise with the case, Arnav’s wife receives an anonymous threat, and Arnav begins to fear that he’s gotten sucked into something too large and dangerous for him to handle.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the use of monsoon season to add to the tension and setting. It was used to hinder the case and characters in a way that was engaging and added to the depth of the story. The author’s note included at the end was super helpful and I wish I’d read it first. It included information about the culture and history that were incorporated into this read.

This book, like the first one, featured short chapters that were told from the antagonist’s POV. I didn’t feel that the short chapters from the antagonist’s POV added much this time. I enjoyed the growth that occurred with Arnav, and think it was a good way to briefly explore the caste system and how it can affect people’s interactions and biases. This read also focused heavily on Arnav’s and Tara’s relationship and personal struggles. While the expansion on their relationship was satisfying after having read the first book, it detracted from the tension and suspense that could have been more present in this read.

The last 20% of this book is good and intense, while the rest is a slow build with more drama and mystery than anything else. This wasn’t a bad thing but was much different than the pacing and feel of the first book. I didn’t find this read quite as intense or engaging as the first one, but I did still quite like it. My thanks to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for allowing me to read this work, which is supposed to be published today (Oct 24th)! All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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