authors / book reviews

Blue Bar from Damyanti Biswas launches today

Damyanti Biswas second atmospheric India-based thriller, The Blue Bar, is available January 1, 2023. I’m honored to have received an ARC copy for review. I loved her first book, You Beneath My Skin. This is even better. 

Amazon Blurb

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?

My Review

In Damyanti Biswas’ The Blue Bar (Thomas & Mercer 2022), Indian Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput is drawn into a cold case involving bar girls who disappeared, purportedly to return to their homes, but some are found buried without their heads, hands, or feet. Many are tied into a bar where Arnav fell for one of the bar girls, Tara Mondal. When she disappeared, he thought she simply left, didn’t feel as he did. For fourteen years, he missed her, thought about what could have been, and then she reappeared at a new place called the Blue Bar. This new bar is tangentially associated with the old unsolved murders as well as new similar ones. Arnav is convinced there is a serial killer on the lose in Mumbai and Tara is in the middle of his treachery. Somehow he must keep her safe, revive their relationship, and regain her trust enough that she will share her final life-changing secret. He must work fast because he doesn’t want Tara’s murder to be the killer’s next.

As in her first book, Biswas strikes the perfect balance between the hot humid world of India and the determined detectives tasked with solving these murders. The Indian lifestyle–made pleasingly authentic by the authors constant use of Indian terms and language–and police protocols is as much part of the story as the murdered girls and the devious culprit. This well crafted book never lets you stop thinking, never lets you imagine you really know what’s going on, and always has you wondering when the next shoe will drop that will undo or resolve everything. If you liked Biswas’ first book (click for my review of You Beneath My Skin), you’ll love this one even more. Highly recommended to those who thrive on fully developed characters who figure out how to survive serious problems.

Other reviews

“An intense, visceral thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Biswas brings India to life in this tale of a determined detective fighting against his own department’s bureaucracy to catch a twisted serial killer who has spent years mastering his craft.  Will leave you breathless!”

~Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling suspense novelist

“Immersive, propulsive, and beautifully written. In this gaspingly authentic police procedural about a missing dancer and the police officer who cannot forget her, Biswas transports us to India—not only to investigate a string of murders, but to explore the dark and disturbing life of Mumbai’s bar girls. With its heart-breaking love story and Biswas’ revealing social commentary, THE BLUE BAR will change you, haunt you, and have you understanding the world in a different way.””

~Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today Bestselling Author of HER PERFECT LIFE

“”THE BLUE BAR is one of those books that tattoos itself onto your bones—the luscious language, the glorious sense of place, a mystery that draws you in deep, so deep that you forget there’s a world around you. Best of all is Inspector Arnav, the tender, lion-hearted man at the story’s center who will stop at nothing to see that justice is done. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.”

~Jess Lourey, Edgar-nominated author of UNSPEAKABLE THINGS

“THE BLUE BAR will assault your senses as the setting comes alive in this intricately weaved mystery. It examines the gritty, corrupt politics of Mumbai as a good cop tries to solve cases of dismembered women when he doesn’t know who to trust within his own ranks. A tale of loyalty, love, and revenge, this sophomore novel by Biswas is not to be missed.”

~Jaime Lynn Hendricks, author of Finding Tessa and It Could Be Anyone

Where to purchase:
Author Bio
Damyanti is an Indian author currently based in Singapore. Her short fiction has been published at Smokelong, Ambit, Litro, Puerto del Sol, among others. Her work appears in various anthologies, and she serves as one of the editors of The Forge literary magazine. Her Indian debut, You Beneath Your Skin, was published by Simon & Schuster India, and optioned for screen by Endemol Shine. Her US debut is slated for fall 2022.​ She blogs at
Copyright ©2023 – All rights reserved.

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Savage Land, Winter 2024


46 thoughts on “Blue Bar from Damyanti Biswas launches today

  1. A great review, Jacqui. I thoroughly enjoyed Damyanti’s first book and suspect that this one is just as good. I enjoyed all the cultural specifics – “use of Indian terms and language–and police protocols” – and I’m glad that’s part of this book too. Thanks for the wonderful review and congrats to Damyanti!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jacqui and Damyanti – I’ve read it and can highly recommend the story – Damyanti really involves the reader in the story … and there’s so much to learn about life, about Mumbai (which I found so interesting); she writes her characters so well – lots of emotion … and an understanding of human beings … such a great read. Enjoy everyone … cheers to one and all, especially Jacqui and Damyanti – Happy New Year – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy New Year! This sounds like an interesting book. About 20 years ago, I was reading a lot about India–its one county I would like to travel to, but haven’t yet made it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Blue Bar from Damyanti Biswas launches today — – uwerolandgross

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