When I received an email from the author asking if I’d be interested in reviewing a copy of his first novel, I looked into it a bit and decided that it sounded like something that was right up my alley. I was right. I thought that this was a very good first novel.
The book opens with a brutal murder of a child in a quiet Connecticut town. The police call in FBI agent Leia Bines whose specialty is crimes against children. At the same time local child psychiatrist Peter Gram is treating a seven year old girl who is suffering from nightmares that cause her to be a danger to herself. While searching for the root of little Naya Hastings’ sleep disturbances he finds out that the drawings she makes of what she sees in her dreams have an uncanny resemblance to the scene of the murder Leia Bines is investigating. The connections, coincidences and paranormal elements combine to create a suspenseful story that is hard to put down.
There was a lot that I liked about this book. Despite the brutal murder that opens it, the story doesn’t wallow in gruesomeness. It’s more of a psychological thriller with a bit of a paranormal twist. It’s a fast paced book with short chapters rotating focus on several of the characters. Each one leaves off with just enough of a cliffhanger to make the reader want to know what happens next. i not normally a big fan of paranormal stuff, but the way this story wraps all of that up with some insights into
The author is a child psychiatrist himself so the details of Peter’s treatment of Naya felt realistic. His medical and cultural backgrounds play important parts in the story and are nicely entwined in the plot. The criminal investigation was interesting without becoming a straight police procedural. I liked Peter, but didn’t really get to know Leia quite enough to decide about her. I thought that maybe the FBI agent was a bit too willing to accept Naya’s drawings as ‘evidence’ but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the book and being willing to recommend it to others.
For a first novel, I was quite impressed with Dr. Grandhi’s work and will be watching for more from this talented author.