Title:- The Blue Bar
Author:- Damayanti Biswas
Date published:- 1st January 2023
Publisher:- Thomas and Mercer
No. of pages:- 396 pages
Overall rating:- 4.5/5
On the dark streets of Mumbai, the paths of a missing dancer, a serial killer, and an inspector with a haunted past converge in an evocative thriller about lost love and murderous obsession.
After years of dancing in Mumbai’s bars, Tara Mondal was desperate for a new start. So when a client offered her a life-changing payout to indulge a harmless, if odd, fantasy, she accepted. The setup was simple: wear a blue-sequined saree, enter a crowded railway station, and escape from view in less than three minutes. It was the last time anyone saw Tara.
Thirteen years later, Tara’s lover, Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, is still grappling with her disappearance as he faces a horrifying new crisis: on the city’s outskirts, women’s dismembered bodies are being unearthed from shallow graves. Very little links the murders, except a scattering of blue sequins and a decade’s worth of missing persons reports that correspond with major festivals.
Past and present blur as Arnav realizes he’s on the trail of a serial killer and that someone wants his investigation buried at any cost. Could the key to finding Tara and solving these murders be hidden in one of his cold cases? Or will the next body they recover be hers?
This was an enjoyable and thrilling ride and the first thriller book I have read set in Mumbai with a touch of Bollywood in it.
In 2000 Tara wearing a blue sequined sari goes into the station and leaves the station within three minutes as she was asked to. That was the last time anyone had seen Tara. Now present day, Arnav Tara’s lover who is a police inspector was asked to visit a site belonging to a rich estate mogul, where they had found skeletal remains. Thinking that Tara might be one of the victims as many wore blue sari and were dancers at the blue bar, Arnav must catch the killer who has been roaming in the streets of Mumbai for years.
This was fast paced thriller and quiet unputdownable and literally I was hooked into the story. The author must have done tremendous research on the book as some of the things mentioned in the book was realistic-‘ corruption among police forces and politicians, prostitution, bribes and the glamour of Bollywood. The story is mainly told in Arnav and Tara POV and do like thd vivid description of the city of Mumbai with Marathi or Hindi added into the story. Overall I enjoyed reading this book and if this book is a series I cannot wait to read the next one- worth five stars!
Many thanks to Netgalley and publisher for ARC the review is based on my honest opinion only.
Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist.
Her work has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Ambit, Pembroke Review, Griffith review among many others in the US, UK, and Australia. She also serves as one of the editors of the The Forge literary magazine.
Her Indian debut literary crime novel You Beneath Your Skin was an Amazon bestseller, and optioned for the screens by Endemol Shine. Her next novel, The Blue Bar, was published in Jan 2023 via Thomas & Mercer. It was a number one new release on Amazon.
Be sure to follow Damyanti on Bookbub for the latest on sales and giveaways. Say hello on Twitter or Instagram : where she loves chatting about books, cake, and existential angst.