Title: The Blue Bar
(Blue Mumbai #1)

Author: Damyanti Biswas
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: January 1st 2023
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: January 11th 2023
Pages: 390

“When you close yourself off from people because they might end up hurting you, you shut out not only the hurt, but life itself.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


It’s no secret that I have a weak spot for stories with international settings, and I don’t think I’ve read many books set in India before. This was probably one of the main reasons why I had to add The Blue Bar to my wishlist as soon as I saw Kelly’s review… That, and the fantastic premise of course; it’s no secret that I can never resist a good serial killer thriller either. And I’m so glad I added this first book of a new series to my shelves, because I ended up having an excellent time with this thriller!

One of the stars of the show is without doubt its Mumbai setting. The Indian setting was one of the reasons why I wanted to read The Blue Bar in the first place, and the story more than delivered on that front. There are many many vivid descriptions of both Mumbai, the local culture and customs, something I highly appreciated and it helped me get a better picture of what life in Mumbai is like. The thorough descriptions truly made the city come alive, and it was one of the highlights of this story for me. The focus on dance bars, the police, corruption, crime and Bollywood was also fascinating, and I like what it added to the plot.

The plot itself is fantastic in general. Like I said before, I can never resist a good serial killer thriller, and things definitely get dark and gritty before you reach that final page. The Blue Bar uses a multiple POV structure, switching between different characters in play both to add dept and suspense. The two most strongest POVs are main character Arnav and the unnamed killer though; especially the second was particularly dark and shocking, while also being utterly intriguing. Then again, I do always love it when a thriller gives us a glimpse inside the head of a killer…

The characters in general are well rounded and well developed, flaws and all. This makes them both feel more realistic and easier to approach, and I like what they added to the plot. I warmed up to main character Arnav immediately, and I had an excellent time getting to know him better and seeing him trying to solve the crimes despite all the obstacles he faces. True, I could have done without the love triangle and cheating, which put a slight damper on things… But thankfully there was so much going on especially in the second half of the story that I didn’t have a lot of time to stand still and think about it.

I really enjoyed the writing style, which flowed well and was engaging in general. While the pace was a tad slow in the beginning and it took me a little while to get used to the Mumbai world and characters, once I did I couldn’t stop turning those pages. There are a lot of twists and turns involved, and while I did guess some things right, I never saw the full twisted picture until it was revealed. There is also plenty of action and danger around every corner; make sure to brace yourself because certain scenes will hit hard!

All in all, The Blue Bar turned out to be an excellent reading experience for me, and if you enjoy a gritty and well written serial killer thriller with an unique setting, I can highly recommend this book.

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