The Night of the Storm
by Nishita Parekh
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Pub Date 16 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 16 Feb 2024
PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, Dutton
From debut author Nishita Parekh, a fresh take on the classic locked room thriller that follows a multi-generational Indian American family who find themselves marooned in the house with a murderer during Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Harvey is descending on Houston. Meanwhile, thirty-something single mom Jia Shah and her son Ishaan are having a week. The twelve-year-old has been on suspension from his new school for striking a classmate and Jia is worried that their move to Houston and her divorce from Ishaan’s father is negatively impacting him. And doesn’t a boy need a father?
Now there’s a mandatory evacuation in their neighborhood. They pack up to ride out Harvey in Houston’s tony suburb Sugarland, where Jia’s sister Seema lives with her husband and toddler. The only problem? Seema’s arrogant husband, Vipul, has started blowing up her phone with cheesy love poems that will soon escalate to a mortifying photo. But to ensure her son’s safety from the storm Jia must steel herself and go. After all, her philandering ex back in Chicago is all too eager for Jia to make a misstep so he can snatch back custody.
Vipul’s brother and sister-in-law also show up to take refuge in Sugarland. Tensions rise as quickly as the flood waters as Grandma, the family matriarch, plays favorites among her sons and their wives. The family can’t seem to stop bickering and then a neighbor reeking of alcohol knocks on the door. A few hours and two dead bodies later, Jia becomes the prime suspect. Marooned in the house with a murderer, with no help available until the waters recede in the morning, Jia must protect her son and identify the real culprit before she goes down for a crime she didn’t commit—or becomes the next victim.