Book Review: ‘The Blue Bar’ by Damyanti Biswas

An Immersive Thriller of Mumbai's Secrets and Suspense

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Book Title: The Blue Bar
Author: Damyanti Biswas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Number of Pages: 396
ISBN: 978-9390166954
Date Published: Sept. 20, 2023
Price: INR 432

The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas

Book Review

In “The Blue Bar” by Damyanti Biswas, readers are immersed in Mumbai’s vibrant and mysterious world. The story follows a missing dancer, a relentless serial killer, and an inspector haunted by his past, weaving a gripping thriller that delves into themes of lost love and obsession. This meticulously researched crime thriller takes place in Mumbai, a city that never rests, and it captivates with its intriguing plot and unexpected twists, keeping readers engaged throughout.

In 2002, a struggling bar dancer, Tara Mondal, accepts a life-changing proposition from a mysterious client at a bustling Bandra railway station. She is tasked with donning a blue-sequined saree, blending into the station’s chaos, and vanishing within three minutes, a peculiar act that becomes the last time anyone sees Tara. The narrative then shifts to the present, unveiling a series of gruesome murders gripping the city. Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, closely linked to Tara and the unfolding case, takes center stage in the investigation.

As the plot unfolds, Biswas takes readers on an exhilarating journey through Tara’s enigmatic disappearance, the treacherous underworld, glitzy bars, Bollywood, and the shocking revelations of serial murders and unexpected twists. Fast forward to the present, where gruesome murders rock Mumbai. A remorseless serial killer is on the loose, leaving a trail of dismembered women’s bodies, each bearing a sinister connection – scattered blue sequins and a decade’s worth of missing person reports aligned with significant festivals.

At the helm of the investigation stands Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput, still tormented by Tara’s unexplained disappearance. As he delves deeper into the hunt for the serial killer, the lines between past and present blur, and Arnav discovers that someone is determined to bury his inquiry at any cost. Could the key to solving these murders and locating Tara lie hidden among his cold cases, or will the next victim be the elusive dancer herself?

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Including multiple narrators aids in comprehending the perspectives of the diverse characters, enhancing the storytelling experience. The flawless pacing ensures readers remain captivated from the opening pages to the gripping conclusion. Biswas masterfully builds and sustains the suspense, crafting a vivid narrative that seamlessly weaves together the landscapes of Mumbai, from the mangrove swamps to the corrupt police procedures, all the way to the romance between the lead characters. Damyanti Biswas adeptly tackles themes of love, loss, betrayal, crime, death, abuse, and despair within the narrative, showcasing her versatility as an author. The murder scenes, while dark, are not overly graphic in their portrayal, maintaining a delicate balance.

The Blue Bar” is a culturally immersive thriller that seamlessly weaves Indian culture, festivals, customs, and cuisine into the narrative. Despite the geographical and cultural divide, readers will be transported to Mumbai through the author’s authentic and vivid descriptions. This enthralling thriller boasts a well-paced plot and offers an unforgettable, page-turning experience. Like ‘You Beneath Your Skin’, the debut novel by author Damyanti Biswas is also strong in its female characters and emotional quotient.

However, the conclusion appears somewhat hurried, leaving readers yearning for more resolution regarding the fates of Arnav, Tara, and Pia. Nevertheless, “The Blue Bar” is a gripping and immersive tale that plunges readers into the enigmatic world of Mumbai. Its intricate plot, strong pacing, and masterful storytelling ensure an engaging and memorable read, filled with suspense that keeps you guessing until the end.

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