Cover Image: The Blue Monsoon

The Blue Monsoon

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Member Reviews

The second book in the Blue Mumbai series and another solid police thriller. It is always interesting to learn about different countries and cultures. The author firmly places the reader in the heart of the drama, the sights, sounds and smells all come to life in this dark and gritty story set in Mumbai.

The Blue Monsoon can be read as a stand alone novel but will have you wanting to go back for more information about these characters. Arnat is back has his hands full in both his professional and private lives. His wife is now in a wheelchair and pregnant. On top of that he is called to the scene of a gruesome crime scene, where a man has been mutilated and body party’s removed, left in the steps of a temple.

Another fantastic read that kept me read into the night. Thank you to the author, Thomas and Mercer and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. Publishes on October 24th.

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Humans could be the kindest of creatures, and also the cruelest.

The Blue Monsoon, the second book in Blue Mumbai series, is a gripping mystery/thriller with some good twists and turns.

A ritualistically castrated and defaced body is found at a temple.
Who is the victim? What has he done to deserve to die in such a gruesome way?

Welcome to Mumbai, where its darkest corners hold darker secrets; where sinister minds have taken over; where no one is safe, not even the detectives on the case.

Is there going to be a second body…or maybe even a third?

Thanks to the author, the NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of the book.

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Anyone who’s interested in foreign cultures will find this procedural very interesting. It shows not only a police investigation in Mumbai, but also the culture and society. In the afterword, the author explains some of the main plot points, including the caste system. That said, it was hard for me to get into it. This is also a sequel, and I haven’t read the first volume. The author does a solid job of alluding to previous events without dwelling too much into them. In that respect, I had no trouble following. My problem was that it spends too much time on the private life of the main character and his family, to the point that his wife is one of the POV in the book. She ends up being involved, but there is too much talking about her feelings for my taste. I was also a little bit confused by the characters, as they are called by the patronymics common to Indian society and very foreign to my Western mind. I liked the mystery, but I wasn’t as invested as I would have liked. I did enjoy the final part, it was suspenseful enough to keep me interested. I may just not be the target reader for this novel.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Thomas & Mercer!

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Arnat Singh Rajput is back in the follow up to The Blue Bar, which I loved last year and India, vibrant, beautiful and vividly described by the author in all its glory.

Arnat is investigating a pretty gruesome murder of a man who is horribly mutilated and found at a sacred temple. He is facing pressure to solve this crime and fast, all the while worrying for his wife Tara, whom is expecting her second child. The underbelly of India and the mafia could be involved, he can feel a dark presence lurking at the sidelines of this investigation. When footage of the murder is uploaded to social media, it sets off a train of events that Arnat does not see coming, with a myriad of twists and turns, huge danger to those he loves and at the root of it the caste system, hatred and savagery.

“You’re a Rajput, a Kshatriya. You don’t know what life is like for an Achoot.”

Stepping into India, is stepping into the unknown for me. The culture, customs and life are vividly described, you can feel the heat as you read. I knew nothing of the caste system, although I had heard of it and it is described quite simply for someone who knows nothing, but it is clearly complex and affects life in India profoundly and is at the heart of the plot.

Although I was reading a book about a world I do not know I was drawn in and held with a calm intensity, I wanted to finish this, to know what was going to happen. I connected with the characters especially Sita, she is a strong woman, living and working in a man’s world and calmly gets stuff done.
It really picked up pace towards the end, with a heart thumping ending that was fantastic, I really enjoyed this sequel!

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The second book in the Blue Mumbai Thriller series, we meet again with Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput who is called to the scene of a ritualistic murder scene at a local temple. Symbols of a tantric cult are imprinted on the mutilated and dismembered body at a sacred space in Mumbai’s rainy streets. The steam from the monsoonal rain seeps through the pages of this book as it begins. It slowly builds a very humid, sticky and dark scene of what is to come. Damyanti Biswas explored the Caste systems in Mumbai in depth, and the added element of a local priest who seems to be connected to the murder takes the level of suspicion and mystery to another level.

At the same time, the personal storyline of Arnav and Tara continues. Tara is recovering from the accident and is also pregnant. Tara is headstrong, and stubborn, and you can see Arnav’s devotion to her in every action to help her and care for her. The pregnancy becomes a challenge for depicting her in a light where she’s not always pleasant. This is added to the fact that Arnav is constantly trying to balance his responsibilities in his job, and those at home, and the emotional stretch is heightened when he has to also look out for the safety of his own family in relation to the murder.

The whole impact of the monsoonal season is intriguing in this story. The monsoon brings unpredictability and change, it brings unease and unstableness to the city, the threat of flood and being isolated is at the forefront even in Tara’s mind. It is a cultural mainstay, and it brings with it the threat of tension, irritability and people on edge just before it sets in. There is no release from the heat, it burns and increases the tension. And this is the technique here that Biswas brings into this story to elevate it to capture the corruption, crime, power plays and fight for justice. No-one is safe from the monsoon, and this becomes clearer to Arnav and Tara.

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This was an excellent addition to the Blue Mumbai series. This was a very well written atmospheric thriller that I enjoyed just as much as the first book, The Blue Bar. This book had me intrigued immediately and I felt invested through the very end. I appreciated the multiple POVs in this book as well as its fast pace. I also found the glossary and notes in the back of the book incredibly useful as I’m not too familiar with Mumbai and its culture. I definitely recommend checking out this series if you like thrillers!

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An excellent follow-up to what was a great start to this series, I think this even improves on the first installment. We rejoin Inspector Arnav Jajput to investigate another disturbing case in the gritty underbelly of Mumbai, this time a series of mutilated and castrated male bodies left on temple steps. His wife Tara meanwhile, who has already been through a horrific series of traumas, is not content to sit quietly at home despite being both pregnant and wheelchair bound and does some detective work of her own at the mysterious Remy Virgin Hair Factory, run by Rasool Mohsin, a mafia don in the city's shady underworld who's also the partner of her best friend, Zoya.
Without wanting to give any more away, this should already tell you that The Blue Monsoon spins an intricate web of divided loyalties. Add into the equation the titular storm, which effectively acts as its own character and adds a constant percussive presence, not only drumming away in the background but also threatening to interfere with the investigations by washing away evidence, and an education on the current state of the caste system in India - still very much a thing, and enabling favours and corruption - as well as on the persecution of the transgender community, trying to eke out a living on the margins of society, and you have a multilayered and deeply satisfying read. At its heart, it's a straightforward police procedural, and an extremely tense and gripping one, too, but it's also so much more. Highly recommended.

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On a day when the Mumbai monsoon was lashing the city fiercely, a dead body is found on the steps of a Kaali temple, the victim killed in a violent fashion, castrated and spread eagled; the body showed traces of some tantric ritual with vermilion, hibiscus flowers strewn around along with a tantric symbol and a Sanskrit verse engraved into the body.

Arnav Singh Rajput who is now Senior Inspector at the Bandra Police Station is tasked with catching the culprit, and before he begins his investigation, a horrific video of the dead body is leaked on social media through the handle of Chitra Varli, an upcoming social media influencer with millions of followers. Chitra obviously denies any involvement in the murder and that her social media accounts have been hacked.

Arnav is now married to Tara, but she is confined to a wheelchair after taking a bullet in her neck while saving their daughter Pia. Tara is pregnant again with her second baby and is mostly upset and unhappy of being wheelchair ridden after years of being away from Arnav; Pia hasn’t still recovered from the trauma of her kidnap.

As there are more dead bodies found and pressure escalates from his superiors to solve these cases, Arnav also deals with Tara’s difficult pregnancy. Will Arnav be able to stop the murderer before they reach for his family forms the rest of the story.

The Blue Monsoon is sequel to The Blue Bar and picks from where the first part ended. Even if the reader has not read the first part, the author covers all the major incidents from earlier to bring the reader up to speed. However, the first part is an amazing story so I would personally recommend everyone to read it before they pick this one.

If you read the first part and wanted to know how Arnav and Tara would have lived together with their daughter, the author gives a glimpse of it, but under different circumstances, when life is not as rosy and happy as they both wanted it to be. Especially since one of them is disabled now and that person is the woman of the house.

The story while being a thriller trying to decipher the clues around the murders provides a deep commentary on the caste and class system in our society and how that creates a permanent gap between people, often brewing unexpressed anger in them. Mumbai and the monsoon play one of the main characters all through the story, even driving the narration in the second half.

Arnav remains the star of the story like in the first book and Tara’s character though is the driving factor for the story, takes a back seat especially in the first half, and takes time to take off, till the reader gets more deeper insights into her frustrations due to immobility and a difficult pregnancy.

The surprise is Sita Naik who gets a meatier part in the second book as she gets an upgrade from being Arnav’s assistant to being his trusted aide and constant work companion. I personally could relate to and enjoyed the conflict between Sita and Tara, as both have their own insecurities, though both play the biggest part in Arnav’s professional and personal life respectively.

Zoya and Rasool in their brief cameos turn the happenings in unexpected ways. Like the first book in this series, this book also has brief chapters in between where the story is narrated from one of the antagonist’s POV.

While the previous book established the Blue Mumbai universe and its characters, the same is further built up by the author through the gloomy, and occasionally dangerous circumstances the heavy Mumbai monsoon causes; also by using it as a metaphor to the darkness in the characters’ lives and their deeds.

The only drawback is the slow pace in the first half, as the author takes time to establish all main characters, probable suspects and their back stories. However, the second half more than makes up for it, especially the last fifty pages that have nail-biting sequences and shocking twists.

Few sequences at the end seem rushed as too many details about the murders and their mystery are revealed in quick succession. If you already read book one and liked it, then it is a no-brainer that this would be a default read. If the Blue Mumbai is a new universe for you, I would highly recommend reading it for the layered characters, gripping thrill and the adrenaline rush.

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Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the eARC.
This 2nd in the series can be read as a standalone.
Having lived in Mumbai for 2 1/2 years I was excited to get a copy of this read and I was not disappointed.
It's a great story set in a city besieged by a heavy monsoon, making traffic a nightmare and worrying the citizens about the possibility of severe floods. Detective Arab Singh Rajput has an extremely brutal and important case to run, while his wife is paralyzed and pregnant with their baby. I really love the couple, their daughter and the police woman who's also on the case.
Terrific mystery with so much insight into the lives and mores of the citizens of this great city.

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The Blue Monsoon opens with a grisly murder at a Hindu temple and immediately, the weather helps to create the atmosphere and backdrop against which the story happens. The rain is as relentless as those involved in committing murder and creating mayhem.

Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, known to be a man of integrity, has responsibility for the case. His methodical approach to crime-solving puts him at odds with his superior and those below him, who’d want to see him replaced. The case has serious implications as the clues are varied and imply the involvement of suspects, including Muslims, which would be disastrous in Mumbai.

Amidst this high-profile case, Rajput is dealing with his pregnant wife, who struggles with the reality and constraints of being in a wheelchair. Of course, the demands of his job and devotion to his wife pull the Senior Inspector in different directions.

This crime novel spins an intriguing tale that winds up much closer to home than Rajput could have suspected. The various threads keep the reader focused on tying them together, which isn’t easy considering the various stakeholders and interested parties.

Meeting the characters from The Blue Bar was like meeting old friends. This book, however, provided me with more of the sights and sounds of Mumbai. I could picture the living conditions, the hardships versus the high life. Plus, the story brought the caste system into sharp focus.

Through the characters' viewpoints, Biswas gives the reader an up-close and personal look at their advantages and disadvantages. This was also a learning experience as I wasn’t aware that the caste system had somewhat evolved to provide advantages to those who need them most. The book paints a picture of the human condition, how privilege can make us callous, and how hardships can change our character.

We see a police department like any other in the world, with those who have good morals and those who don't. The subliminal message for me in The Blue Monsoon is that despite how bad things look, with tenacity and good people in your corner, it’s possible to find answers and do right. Of course, the reality is that those who allow offenses to fester and choose to do wrong also face consequences.

If you enjoy intricately plotted stories, with complex characters, that take you to faraway lands and expose you to the uniqueness of other cultures, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Blue Monsoon.

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I was extremely excited to receive an eARC of The Blue Monsoon, a sequel to The Blue Bar, which I loved. Damyanti Biswas’ second novel in the Blue Mumbai series did not disappoint. It’s a gritty crime thriller and the pages seem to turn themselves. Biswas’ writing is so fluent and assured that you can relax and just fully immerse yourself in it. There’s a lot in this book: a gripping serial murder plot, many cultural and historical aspects of India/Mumbai that feel authentic and intriguing, and human stories of the main protagonists, told in their own sympathetic POV.

If you want to curl up and engross yourself in a fantastic crime thriller, you can do no better than this book. It can be standalone, so there is no need to read the first book in this series, but I recommend The Blue Bar also if you are so inclined. I have received an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Coming on the heels of Biswas’ The Blue Bar, The Blue Monsoon does not disappoint! It’s the second book in the Blue Mumbai series, and is even more explosive than the first. Weaving together ritualistic murders, the evils of India’s caste politics, and underworld mafia dons, with themes of family dynamics and love and loyalty, this is an intense read that will have you reeling with the twists and turns that it takes. This is a must read if you like crime and thrillers. While it can stand alone, I would recommend that you read The Blue Bar first.

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

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The Blue Monsoon is the sequel to the Blue Bar, though it can be read as a stand-alone book.
Inspector Arnav returns to investigate a gruesome murder at a Kaali temple. As he races against time to find who the killer is before Mumbai gets engulfed in communal riots, he also has to make sure his disabled, pregnant wife Tara, and daughter are safe.
The Blue Monsoon is a worthy sequel to the Blue Bar. Damyanti has woven an engrossing tale, which keeps the reader wondering about the identity of the killer. Even though I though I had figured it out, she drops a red herring and makes the reader look the other way.
Sita Naik comes into her own in this book, and Tara's strength proves why Arnav is heed over heels in love with her.
This book also subtly points out the rot of caste that is pervasive in India. There are quite a few like Arnav who do not believe in it, but then, as pointed out in the book, it is because of their privilege that they think that caste doesn't exist. For the ones who are bearing the brunt of it are not the savarna's.
The only reason why I have given it four stars is that the book starts off slow. It takes time for the reader to get engrossed in it. It picks up though in the second half as it races through the climax.

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‘Murder and mayhem in a monsoon-hit Mumbai’ could be an apt way to describe the plot of Damyanti Biswas’s second ‘Blue Mumbai’ thriller, The Blue Monsoon. Beginning about a couple of years since the pulse-pounding conclusion of its predecessor – the hugely impressive The Blue Bar – this sequel follows Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput on another deadly quest amidst the furious monsoon that devastates the city every year. Arnav is a family man now with a fifteen-year-old daughter and a wheelchair-bound wife who is seven months pregnant with their second child. At a time when he would have loved to be at the side of his wife, Arnav is occupied with investigating a brutal, apparently ritualistic murder on the premises of a temple to Goddess Kaali.

The case turns complicated in a trice, with a rising number of suspects but no substantial evidence and attempts by members of his own force to sabotage the investigation. Soon, more killings follow, and Arnav and his trusted lieutenant Sita Naik’s efforts unearth perplexing connections between the murdered men, the suspects, the underworld, some policemen, and a factory where Arnav’s late best friend’s widow, whom he respectfully calls Vaeeni – sister-in-law – works. Arnav’s absorption with the investigation diverts his attention away from his wife, who – driven partly by hormones and partly by frustration at her immobility – is making reckless, potentially harmful decisions, unwittingly aiding the efforts of certain vicious people intent on injuring Arnav’s family and wrecking the modicum of happiness he has. The paths of Arnav’s investigation and his personal adversaries converge as the monsoon unleashes its wrath on the hapless city, and several lives will be extinguished before the nightmare ends.

As with the previous volume, Biswas’s well-etched and lifelike characters are the core strength of The Blue Monsoon. In addition to the human characters, the teeming city of Mumbai and the relentless monsoon rains also play a vital role in this novel. One’s heart goes out to Arnav as he valiantly fights the seemingly never-ending inventory of challenges that life throws at him while keeping his values intact. On the other hand, his wife, Tara, who was much likeable in her previous outing, is exceedingly annoying – whatever the reasons for her behaviour. Sita Naik is a solid character who gets more space in this episode, and her fortitude in the face of the difficulties she confronts is uplifting. The Blue Monsoon, unlike its predecessor, includes a generous amount of social commentary about a wide range of issues, like casteism and exploitation of children, which slackens the intensity of the plot a touch. Though it takes a while to get into the story, with few of the connections among the various characters and events feeling somewhat contrived, vivid descriptions and shifting perspectives escalate the tension towards the taut finale.

Albeit a bit less gripping than the previous one, The Blue Monsoon has more substance and is a worthy addition to the series, and I am eager to see what Biswas has in store for the future.

I thank the author and publishers for the Digital Review Copy of The Blue Monsoon through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

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Compelling characters, fast-paced plot. Would recommend

Thank you to Damyanti Biswas, NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the arc of this book.

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3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
It’s monsoon season in Mumbai and Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput has been called to the scene of a grisly homicide. A mutilated and castrated body has been found on the steps of a Kaali temple with tantric symbols drawn into his flesh. As Arnav investigates this shocking crime, he is also balancing the care of his pregnant and wheelchair bound wife, Tara, and their teenage daughter who is still traumatized by her prior kidnapping.

Tensions build when additional victims are found and there's pressure from above to solve the crime as quickly as possible. The discovery that there is a mole in the police department means that Arnav can only trust his junior officer, Sita Naik, and the two of them race to find the killer and protect Arnav's family amidst the torrential rainfall, waterlogged streets and rising floodwaters of the monsoon.

The Blue Monsoon is an entertaining crime novel with a complex plot set on the gritty streets of Mumbai. It’s a sequel to The Blue Bar (Blue Mumbai series) but can be read as a standalone although reading them in order would provide further insight into the main characters of the series.

Told from multiple points of view, it’s an atmospheric police procedural/crime thriller with vivid descriptions of Bombay and includes themes relating to family relationships, police corruption, politics, religion, the caste system and the treatment of women woven into the plot, I enjoyed it and plan to read The Blue Bar now because I want the back story!

Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for sending a digital ARC of this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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**SPOILERS**

<spoiler>An underwhelming read. A slice of India dumbed down for a Western audience is always annoying. Including a glossary of Indian terms is flat out pandering to white readers. Until we stop doing stuff like this, we're continuing to perpetuate colonial, imperialist values. The other thing that really put me off was the representation issues. Bombay is a wonderfully diverse city, and the only Muslim characters in the story were mafia dons (and family). The only trans character ends up being on the wrong side. The author does attempt a discourse on the complex interplay between caste and class, but again a disproportionate number of lower-caste folk are, to use a simplistic term, villains.

I do like that the author has tried to create a story arc for the protagonist, included a disabled character (though her disability seems temporary), and . But Arnav Singh Rajput, while a conscientious police officer, is also too mired in his privilege. But perhaps he's a work in progress. </spoilers>
</spoiler>

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Blue Monsoon is the much-anticipated sequel to the Blue Bar, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is a rich soup of Indian culture, a story of contrasts. It carried me to the sultry heat of Mumbai in the monsoon season, revealing a grisly murder at a temple. It reveals the complex caste system, the darker side of life, and it shows the nuances of strained relationships. I really felt immersed.

It was wonderful seeing returning characters from the previous book, the multiple story threads, and the different point of views. If you loved the first book, you’ll love this one too.

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Absolutely loved every second of this book. My expectations were blown out of the water and I felt myself not putting it down for long before I needed to pick it back up and read more.

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Gripping book two in the Blue Mumbai Thriller series finds ritual murders occurring in gritty Mumbai. Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput investigates, while also concerned about his disabled pregnant wife. An explosive story, penned by a genius author, that will keep you up late.

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