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Author : Mahendra Jakhar

Publisher : Westland

Genre : Thriller (With a religious and psychological twist)

Synopsis : The shocking and brutal murder of a young American woman rips apart the peace of the ancient city of Benares. She is found to be a research scientist working with the Vatican Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. Hawa Singh, a senior inspector from Delhi crime branch on a visit to Benares, gets embroiled in the case. He finds that the murdered woman had been researching the Bhrigu-Samhita, an astrological classic dating back to pre-Vedic times, believed to be lost. The FBI sends in Ruby Malik, a Pakistani-American to investigate the murder. Soon, more bodies are found with bizarre connections to both the Bhrigu-Samhita and Christian orthodoxy. The Vatican seems to be carrying out a clandestine operation, seeking the secrets of Hindu astrology in the city most sacred to it.Secrets that the Vatican would kill to know. Hawa Singh, hardened by many gunfights, and with a bullet already lodged near his brain in a previous encounter, teams up with Ruby Malik to unravel the mystery. Nothing is the same any more. The temple bells fade in the perpetual winter fog. There is blood on the streets of Benares, which becomes a battleground where faith and science collide. The worlds of astronomy and astrology come .Hawa Singh and Ruby search the opium dens, and the domains of Naga sadhus, Aghoris and Doms in the cremation grounds, hunt a cannibal lurking in the maze that is Benares, and clash with the figurehead king of the city, Kashi Naresh Maharaj Abhay Narayan Singh. The killer could be anyone. Only Hawa Singh and his beautiful co-runner on the chase, Ruby Malik, possess the mindset and the indomitable courage to find the murderer at the heart of this mystery and in the process, find themselves.

I loved this book. Probably more than i normally would have because I’d just come back from a Pilgrimage and this terrified me. The main character, Hawa Singh, is a man with a troubled past, an ailing father and an injury that annoys him to no end, not just because it mean’s bad health but also because it brings up painful memories he’d rather forget. And the other lead, Ruby Malik, a Pakistani FBI agent, is beautiful, resourceful and brilliant. These two team up to solve the seemingly unsolvable mysteries surrounding the holy town.

  • Reminds me a little of a Cormoran Strike Novel
  • The end is thoroughly unexpected. It hits you like a punch in the face. (in a nice way if that’s possible)
  • The mysteries, the religious aspects, the Aghories, everything seemed to melt and merge perfectly in this book. Nothing felt out of place.
  • The only thing that annoys me about this is Hawa Singh’s father but it turns out he’s very important. So that’s all there is to say about that.
  • I like that the female character isn’t some sort of delicate flower.

Pick this up if you enjoy a mixture of Dan brown and James Patterson. I for one can’t wait for the author’s next book.

(I’m keeping my reviews short because I don’t want people to feel like they’re reading a book about a book.)

Add this to your Goodreads list.