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The Blue Monsoon(Blue Mumbai Thriller Book 2) by Damyanti Biswas

My take on the book:

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.

My rating: