I am very pleased that the Meryl Zegarek Public Relations Firm sent me CHAIN OF CUSTODY for review. It is always wonderful to read what has been written in other countries and how novelists and authors are approaching social issues in their locations. This is the second book in the Inspector Gowda mystery series and it truly sheds a light on the culture of Bangalore, India.
I needed to keep my Google search engine warmed up and ready as I researched new terms and words and I was happy to realize that the titles were similar to British law enforcement terms. I was disheartened as the story wove through the antiquated laws and sanctions, which were such human rights violations as the story unfolded. I did need to keep a pencil and paper close by to keep the characters sorted and figured out. The story was a learning experience. The translation (?) might make USA readers work a bit harder.
From the press sheet:
“Anita Nair has never shied away from the darker underside of life and in CHAIN OF CUSTODY she addresses another one of Bangalore’s compelling human rights issues. In recent years the city has become a hub for Indian child trafficking. Children are often picked up by scouts on trains or abducted on the streets of villages and brought to the city. Sadly, if they’re lucky they are placed into slave-like domestic service – the boys mostly. The less lucky, the girls, end up in brothels under heavy and brutal guard.”
“Anita Nair lives in Bangalore and is a prize-winning author, playwright, essayist and lecturer. Her novel LADIES COUPE is a feminist classic, which has been published in thirty languages all over the world. The Gowda series is a new departure from her into noir and literary crime.”
The novel begins with the murder of a prominent lawyer and weaves into the story of the disappearance of twelve-year -old Nandita. There are a great many characters in the story including child welfare workers and abducted boy servants. The police have many interesting positions and interpretations of the law and rules. The story pulls in Inspector Gowda’s wife, son and mistress and all his confusions about his relationships and his “admiration” for his Bullet cycle. There is much tension as in the story Gowda and Nair bring it to its proper conclusion
I pushed myself to get into the rhythm of the writing and very much enjoyed reading the book and the revealing cultural insight. I do not wish to visit this location because of the heat and the violations of human rights; the extreme worries about clean water. It was reassuring that this author was pursuing the issues in a way that it might become a well read and accepted process to make change occur and human respect more prominent a factor within the culture. Yes! Let’s take on the “bad guys” any way we are able.
This London Bitter Lemon Press book will appeal to many readers and particularly those who enjoy a good murder mystery – CHAIN OF CUSTODY
“Nair captures the seedy side of shiny new India vividly, and Inspector Gowda is a welcome addition to the ranks of flawed-but-lovable fictional cope.” (The Guardian)