Publisher: Cedar Fort (Sweetwater Books imprint)
Pub date: July 2010
Source: Personal copy
I came across some reviews for this book around the time of my Crime Fiction Month last year. It went on my to-read list and earlier this year I finally ordered it. A crime thriller set in Connecticut with elements of fantasy and Indian beliefs – this was a good read.
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town’s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving missing children.
Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury’s hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings’s devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya’s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.
The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya’s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.
This debut novel is very well-written and grabs you from the first page – exactly what I look for in a crime thriller. The psychological elements are very interesting – Naya’s nightmares are perplexing and it soon becomes clear that there is a deeper cause and deeper meaning to them. Dr. Peter Gram’s dedication to his patients makes him an instantly lovable character. The darker and more broody Agent Leia Bines is also someone I took to immediately.
The pace is fast and chapters alternate between Gram and Bines – uncovering more clues until the two cases converge.
The supernatural elements in this novel are rooted in an ancient Indian belief in astrology. So while that aspect was not new to me, I was very thrilled with the way the author handled it. It fit nicely into the story.
Naya and Peter Gram are the characters who had my attention right through. It was obvious that there was connection between them that went beyond simple doctor-patient rapport.
A Circle of Souls has a good blend of fantasy, psychology and detective work and clever writing.
I really liked the book and hope to read more of Grandhi’s work. This is written as a standalone, but I’d love to see more of Peter Gram and Leia Bines.
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