Member Reviews

Set in the bustling city of Mumbai, this thriller is full of energy and action. There’s friction within the caste system, corrupt priests, Bollywood influencers, and a serial killer who seems bent on exploiting it all.

If you’ve read The Blue Bar, you’ll recognize the indomitable Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput and his wife Tara, who was gravely injured at the end of the first book. Their daughter, Pia, is coming into her own as a young woman. The family’s life is interwoven with many others as Tara is driven by an innate sense of kindness and connection, one that might put the family at risk. She’s also pregnant, and Arnav spends much of the book torn between a terrifying case – men’s mutilated bodies keep appearing at Hindu temples – and his desperate desire to care for Tara during her pregnancy. It’s monsoon season, and the waters are rising.

Biswas’s writing is lyrical and thoughtful, propelling the reader through the twisting plot while lingering occasionally to illuminate the beauty and the bleak reality of a city like Mumbai. She handles many sensitive topics with a light touch. Most of all the book is just a really fun, intriguing mystery. I was provided a NetGalley copy for review but the opinions are my own.

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A series of brutal murders set the stage for the seamy side of Mumbai to be revealed.
I really enjoyed this great mystery. The setting pulled me into a country and culture I knew little about, at least not nearly as much as before. Politics and the caste system in India are explored, including how they impact daily life. The characters are wonderfully drawn. The monsoon season is a powerful adversary for Senior Inspector Arnave Rajput and his loyal junior officer Sita Naik as they race to find killers. The Rajput's family drama played out along with the unfolding murder investigation. So many twists and surprises make this a satisfying read for whodunnit lovers.

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Wowsa! With an opening line like “Let’s kill them all” you know it’s gonna be a a gripping page-turner.

THE BLUE MONSOON is the sequel to THE BLUE BAR. An authentic, powerful reading experience that is highly intriguing & riveting from start to finish. Expertly written with every chapter leaving you wanting more. I found it gaspingly grisly & vivid with ritualistic murder, deception, corruption & revenge. There is also a softer side of pure love & loyalty. Damyanti is a force to be reckoned with and to say I loved this book is an understatement.

Love that Damyanti started with a list of characters. Wish I could have printed it out for reference before I started reading for there are quite a lot of characters to keep track of. 🙃

I will read anything Damyanti writes & hope for a sequel to this sequel. 💙

Favorite Line: “The heavens had opened up yet again this morning, and outside Arnav’s window the world was frayed out and white, same as inside his mind.”

A sincere thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer and of course Damyanti for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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This is actually the second book in a series. I previously read and review The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas. It was so good and rich in detail, so I couldn’t wait to read the second one!

I love how Damyanti brings the reader to Mumbai. You are transported to the area and you can almost feel the rain and the storm that contrasts the murder mystery happening. You get two perspectives – the detective, Arnav, and his wife, Tara. It’s got some troubling aspects that are an unfortunate part of our reality with the underground crime and viciousness that goes with it. It’s the very thing Arnav is trying to stop, and then his wife becomes threatened, which increases the intensity of the novel.

It’s not for the faint of heart but if you love crime noir and getting involved in a thriller (and aren’t too affected by gritty detail of crime), you’ll want to read this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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At work, Senior Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput of the Mumbai Police is called to a horrifying crime scene. The male victim’s naked body is emasculated and dismembered with symbols of a tantra cult on his chest, the face unrecognizable. Who has left this desecration on the steps of a Kaali temple, a Hindu place of worship?

At home, Arnav navigates as husband to his wife Tara in the later months of her pregnancy, still recovering from an accident that paralyzed her legs. The future, if she will ever walk again unknown. Arnav also continues building a relationship with his teenage daughter Pia, learning of his fatherhood only in recent years. What takes precedence when there is a conflict of needs between work and home?

As in Book 1, the first line commands attention with an unknown person stating, “Let’s kill them all.” As a reader, I was riveted to the edge of my seat, and the page-turning suspense pace is equivalent to my imagination of the speed of a runaway train. Using the monsoon season as a backdrop built a presence, almost a character of note in itself, adding to the risks heightening tension and drama of every action and emotion. There are lies, secrets, betrayals, greed, violence, bribery, and corruption at every twist in the investigation. Is justice even a possibility in this lurid world?

As a reader, I was immersed in the sights and sounds of Mumbai. I began to feel the highs and lows, the joy, the fear, the worry, and the constraints as if they were my own. Reading this novel, I was in a world of cultural and religious differences far beyond my knowledge. But beyond what is unique, some elements are universal in the differences between law enforcement officers seeking justice for victims, while some are there for the power to elevate themselves before others, whether through bribes, corruption, or lies. Only power is important. The universal sameness of the reasons for crime, from jealousy to territorial conflicts, the hunger for power, and greed. The universal sameness of managing conflicts between career and family. The universal sameness of need to protect one’s family regardless of relationship within the family.

I didn’t think it was possible, but I enjoyed this sequel even more than the introduction to these characters. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but reading the series in order will provide a deeper understanding of the nucleus characters, the relationships, motivations, and choices in moving forward. I look forward to reading more of this series.

At the beginning of the novel, “Characters Who Appear in The Blue Monsoon” are listed with brief descriptions. “Glossary of Terms,” “Notes About The Blue Monsoon (e.g., Caste System, Tantra and Tantric Practices, Kinnar or Hijra), and “Books I Read While Writing The Blue Monsoon” are provided at the end of the novel. I highly recommend reading all the special features as each adds to the reading experience.

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Note: this review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy, however I have pre-ordered my own copy of the book.

Senior Police Inspector Arnav Rajput speeds through flooded streets on a homicide call. A body has been found outside a temple. Expecting a murder, he races against storm waters to recover all possible evidence but what Arnav and his team finds is something much more horrifying.

“…men murdered in or around Kaali temples in what looked like ritualistic…”

Vermilion powder and hibiscus pedals signify something more than a crime of passion or greed. Mutilated eyes and missing genitals point to rage and shame and more frightening: a plan. Then, as crime-scene video is posted on the internet, politicians seize on the opportunity to stoke public outrage.

The sequel to her excellent sophomore book, The Blue Bar, Damyanti Biswas’ Blue Monsoon, reunites us with Arnav Rajput, on his dangerous beat. Like a police ride-along without the reassurance of backup, Arnav works his cases from the edges and angles, often at cross-purposes with his superiors’ objectives and his subordinates’ agendas. He is always one misstep from dismissal or worse.

But if Arnav is the over-worked-bone-aching honesty of Blue Monsoon, then Tara, Arnav’s wife remains the beating heart of the story. She infuses light and hope to Arnav’s world. Crippled from events in the previous book, (which won’t be spoiled here) Tara remains optimistic even as her anxiety for lost mobility, her protracted recovery, and her unborn child prays on her unguarded thoughts.

When we rejoin Tara she is hosting a Shaadh or a baby shower. Like the city she loves, Tara welcomes everyone, regardless of faith, economics, or caste. To Arnav’s dismay, she has invited kinnar, the “third gender” or transexual women to perform. Disarmed by the kinnar’s gratitude, she embraces their blessing on her and her unborn child.

“…a policewoman with no women’s toilet at her workplace…who refused the weekly hefta or bribe to let things slide…”

Sita Naik—Arnav’s erstwhile sub-inspector—contends with the legacy of caste dynamics that high-caste Arnav cannot understand. Ambitious far beyond low-level positions and low-level games, Sita turns societal prejudices to her advantage, using her schedule-caste status and gender to gain entry to places and access to people closed to high-caste men like Arnav.

“Ran battered down like scattershot bullets…”

However the best reunion is with the star of Biswas’ Blue books: Mumbai. The city remains intriguing and seductive and at the same time menacing and deadly. Blue Bar’s sun-seared sweltering dread gives way to Blue Monsoon’s unrelenting rain and noon-to-sudden-night clouds. Killers lurked in blazing sunlight in Blue Bar but in Blue Monsoon death rules the shadows, dark halls, and dank factory floors.

“Everyone ran…whether they liked it or not.”

What remains the same between books is the real villain here: generational abuse and generational poverty. Like cities all over the world, everything is available for the right coin. And just like everywhere else, the poor and the weak pay the ultimate price.

Biswas balances party and caste politics right along with religion and organized crime to illuminate a city of staggering contradictions. Awash in wealth and technology, Mumbai is also inhabited by women who still sell their hair to feed their families. Girls and boys are prayed upon for exploitation. Ancient hatred has deep roots in the fear and greed that drive men.

“No pausing for a breather. Not in Mumbai…”

Yet, for all the commentary Blue Monsoon is never preachy. Biswas never forgets the story. Never gets in the story’s way. The pace is breakneck as Arnav stalks the streets for a killer. Driven by a dread she cannot name, Tara seeks healing for herself and her young daughter, by volunteering at a charity for children and Sita chases down leads on a pervert accosting young girls with unrepeatable propositions. None realize the how deeply their lives, personal and professional, are enmeshed with seemingly unrelated tragedy and terror.

In the churn of life and death in Maximum City, they each dance a deadly circle with the killer.

As the rains threaten to drown the city, outrage turns to a powder keg of civil unrest. Arnav, Sita, et al must contend with cellphone videos and influencers, a lethal turf war between gangsters, and a slew of personal grudges. At every intersection, the wheels are greased—or spoked—by the ever-present corruption.

And with each turn, the circle tightens as Tara, Arnav, and Sita, (all on different but converging paths) draw closer to the killer.

“You sign up for a task, you see it through…”

Then, as if by provenance, Arnav’s khabri, (informant network) comes through with a tip on a local gangster concretely linked to one of the victims with possible ties to others. The gunfight that follows rivals Clarice Starling’s throw-down with Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs, for atmospheric tension and gravity. Unlike Starling, our heroes find no “gun solution” here.

If not readily apparent, Biswas packs an embarrassment of rich characters in Blue Monsoon. Zoya, Tara’s bestie, is a delight. Tambe, the medical examiner is adult-in-the-room honest. Sita Naik is the hero Mumbai needs, but certainly doesn’t deserve.

The conclusion rolls over everyone like the titular monsoon, engulfing them all in rip currents of betrayal, secrets, and redemption. No one is unscathed. Everyone loses something.

Blue Monsoon is a mystery/thriller of 394 (quick) pages. While there is violence, NONE of the graphic/gory stuff is shown. It is highly engaging and you can easily read it in a day but it will stay with you well after you close the book. Check it out by pre-ordering via the link below.

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I just finished Damyanti Biswas’ The Blue Monsoon which I received as an ARC from Netgalley. I had not read the first book in the series and so the beginning of the book was slightly bumpy because I had to get to know and understand the characters. From that slightly awkward beginning, once I got into the premise of the story, I was hooked. The story, set in Mumbai, during the monsoon season, follows Senior Inspector Arnav Rajput who is investigating murders in nearby Kali Temples.

Without giving away the story, anathema for a murder mystery, once the first quarter of the book was done, the story picks up pace and you are swept away, working with Rajput to try and solve the mystery. Set against the backdrop of India's maximum city, this book weaves a captivating tale of mystery, human struggles, and emotional resilience.

Damyanti explains quite a bit about caste and how it impacts those who are not seen as upper caste in the varna system and this is a good starting point for those who didn't know much about this as well as those who want to learn more.

The Mumbai monsoon is as much a character as Arnav, Tara, Sita, and a host of others and this adds to the story. Biswas' writing style draws readers deep into the very essence of Mumbai, effectively portraying the sights, sounds, and emotions of the city during its most tempestuous season.

All in all, a good read, especially for readers who want to experience Mumbai's monsoon through the eyes of Damyanti Biswas.

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There were so many characters to keep track of in The Blue Monsoon (Blue Mumbai Thriller Book 2) by Damyanti Biswas. 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.

The story was hard for me to read as I couldn't get into the storyline or get invested in the characters. I may not be the audience for this author or this series. The story did have a good atmospheric locale that was interesting to read about.

#TheBlueMonsoon #NetGalley @AmazonPub

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Its no secret how much I adored book one, so with a sequel there is always a nervousness about a sequel and book two. I need not have worried, we are in safe hands with this author (who portrays danger and gritty Mumbai in the best possible way.)

A well structured crime novel with guesses a plenty and was shocking at times, with edge of seat action.


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I couldn’t but the book down I read it in one seating. Every time I turned the page I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what will happen.

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I thought this was a good book. It starts out with a grisly murder. It gives the reader some insight into Mumbai culture which was interesting. It has some surprises along the way too. Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the early copy

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I liked the following:
•The description of Indian culture and rituals like Pregnancy ritual, Teej Puja ( All married women do), Worshiping of Gods, Fasting, Eunuchs blessings and A thing about Bad Omen.
•I liked the characters and Murder Investigation.
•The ending was twisted and unpredictable.
•It’s very well written. The alternating point was good.
•I liked how the author has shown a difference between lower and upper caste in India.
•The Suspects were interesting. But a part of me felt that some things shouldn’t be connected with the Hindu culture like Tantra cult. And this sounds so unethical that her father sold her. What kind of father sells his daughter? There are people with wrong beliefs who do unethical things but don’t you think some people have wrong beliefs? And they are everywhere. Can we really connect it with India?

Thank you Publisher, Author and Netgalley.

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Chapter one is completely in italics – as was all chapters from the antagonist’s POV – and it messed with my eyes as italics are wont to. Publishers please: think about those of us who are neurodivergent when you choose fonts, use of italics, etc. I was so busy fighting the italics, I missed out on the story. Besides, on eReaders, fonts and font sizes are changed to suit the reader – so adding italics to the mix (even for clarity of POV) just makes it more difficult to enjoy the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, though.

From the atmospheric writing – taking one to Mumbai midst a monsoon – to the societal pressures women face – in religious, cultural and social situations – this book takes one on quite an exciting ride.

The world-building also nicely ties in with the murders, the reasons for them, and the motives of the one performing the murders.

As for Arnav and Tara: he learns so much from her, which informs his personal and professional life. I enjoyed reading about how they evolved as a couple from the previous book.

Tara is so strong: not letting the fact that she is bound to a wheelchair (possibly forever) get her down. Or the weird way others treat her because of it. I do think she’s a bit foolhardy at times, but looking at her past, one can understand this need she has for agency even when it gets her in trouble.

I liked all the intrigue around Arnav’s job, with him not knowing who he can trust and how he figured it out. Without giving spoilers, that’s as much as I can say.

A grand adventure in Mumbai where the lines between friends and foes are blurry at the best of times – a monsoon and technical difficulties just adds another layer of drama to this well-paced thriller.

Trigger warnings: blood and gore, dismemberment, classism, caste-ism, sexism, able-sim, references to rape.

*I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest opinion.

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Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the copy of The Blue Monsoon by Damyanti Biswas.. Apart from the murders, the start of the book was slow at first. I admit, at first I was confused about what was going on and the sheer number of characters. Luckily, the glossary and the list of characters really helped me to understand and enjoy the book more. The story did grab hold of me though, and I loved the surprise reveals and the complex resolution. I also liked learning more about the caste system in India and how it pervades every aspect of life. If you’re looking for an intriguing, well-written book, pick up this one!

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I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of The Blue Monsoon, a sequel to The Blue Bar, which continues Arnav and Tara's story against the backdrop of menacing storm in gritty, exotic Mumbai. As heady as a spice market, Biswas' prose takes the reader on a thrilling journey through religion, caste, sexuality, and, of course, murder - lots and lots of murder! I loved the fact that I was transported to a world I'd never experienced. I was entertained - the book is definitely a page-turner - while gleaning a bit of education on the complexity of India's multiple religions, their caste system, and how they're intricately intertwined.
Readers who love gritty crime fiction and thrillers, especially those set in exotic (to the US reader) locales, will enjoy this novel.

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I am a huge fan of Ms. Biswas. I have read all of her novels. I feel like I have gained so much knowledge about Mumbai. She has created an in-depth look at life in a city teeming with corruption and vice. Everyone is just trying to survive. It was great to catch up with Senior Police Inspector Arnav, Tara and their daughter Pia. Like visiting old friends. When the book opens Tara is pregnant and confined to a wheelchair.

When mutilated corpses start showing up in Temples honoring the God Kaali, Arnav is summoned to solve the case. All roads travel through the Remy Virgin Hair Factory where hair is collected to be distributed throughout the world.

But this novel is so much more than a crime novel. It also tells the personal stories of a diverse cast of characters. Deftly the author weaves the struggles of the low status Scheduled Caste and the Hijra system into her story. All the characters are painted in shades of gray, none of them are saints. I love complicated characters. The monsoon rains add to the heaviness of the story becoming an important character central to the plot. The twists and turns will keep you riveted to the surprise ending.

I don’t want to leave without mentioning the glossary of characters at the beginning. It helps keep the players straight. At the end of the book there is also a glossary of terms. If there are any Indian words you are unfamiliar with you will find the definition there. And don’t put down the book without reading the notes. They provide valuable knowledge about Indian culture.

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The Blue Monsoon was a gripping crime thriller, and sequel to The Blue Bar. I was thrilled to pick back up where I left off with Arnav and Tara's story.

A ritualistic murder at a Mumbai temple reveals a sinister city secret, and thrusts Detective Arnav into a chaotic whirlwind. Who would do such a horrific thing? The monsoon rains challenge the investigation. The murder video is uploaded to a social media star's influencer's account. Why? Arnav attempts to care for his wife's challenged pregnancy. And on it goes.

The main characters were well developed and fleshed out, and readers received the benefit of multiple points of view. The plot was fast-paced and gritty. I couldn't put it down. The depiction of the setting was so strong, I could not only picture it, but felt like I was there. Biswas drew attention to caste in India, trafficking, corruption in law enforcement, and bigotry all amidst an intense plot that soars you through the city streets of Mumbai.

Do yourself a favor and read both The Blue Bar, and The Blue Monsoon.

Thank you for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. It is a delightful must read book!

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If I hadn't already pre-ordered this book, I would do it now, even though I've now read it. I've been a fan of Biswas' writing for a long time, and this novel did not disappoint. I was warned that there was some graphic violence, so I was wary, but the worst violence is shown only in its aftermath, not while it's happening. One of the things I love about Biswas' work is how she communicates a depth of culture and structure within the flow of the story, not as a lecture or "info-dump". Another thing I love is how she gets me into the heads of all her characters, and never shies away from having her protagonists and her antagonists represented as people with flaws and virtues, who have to navigate between good against better and bad against worse.

Highly recommended!

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This book brought me back to Mumbai, a stark contrast with my actual surroundings, the underpopulated Cornish countryside, although we have had a drought and as I read The Blue Monsoon the rains had returned, adding an apt soundtrack to the experience.
The Rajput family have been through a lot, and it’s not over- Tara has her battle with her health, (good to have a main character in a wheelchair) with her teenage daughter, an outlawed best friend, a very difficult pregnancy, and while her husband Arnav is doting in theory, in practice his job takes up time and attention, and she struggles to see him interact with his highly adept co-worker Sita.
Personal tensions run through the family, and through the work place. There is corruption within as well as crimes without. There is vast inequality, misogyny, caste-ism, trafficking, and exploitation. There’s a real darkness to this story, one that seems to come directly from the city, and from the worst of humanity, making it more than murder for entertainment.
I loved how tangled all the characters were - again the setting echoed the plot in being densely packed, and while there were horrors in motion there was also kindness, selfless bravery, the love of family and friends; it didn’t at all leave me feeling despondent.
I think Damyanti’s writing is gaining in strength- (extra kudos for doing this on with a deadline) the last line was punch-the-air good, and while I am a fan of Tara, Sita is such a badass, I can’t wait to find out what she does next.

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Good book but predictable ending. All feel like author should have fleshed out the characters more and exlore the tantric angle

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