A Circle of Souls

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Preetham Grandhi's debut novel, A Circle of Souls, was an intriguing look into a murder mystery, pediatric psychiatry, and a little bit (but not too much) of some paranormal elements.

The novel takes place in Newbury, Connecticut, when a young girl is murdered. Along with the investigation by local law enforcement, Agent Leia Bines is called in to assist because of her experience with the FBI's Crimes against Children Unit. Alternating chapters with this storyline is the storyline of psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Gram, who works in a pediatric psychiatric unit at the hospital. He receives the case of Naya Hastings, a young girl who recently tried to jump over her balcony while sleepwalking. Grandhi uses this opportunity to give the reader a look into the fascinating world of psychiatry as he tells of Peter's experiences at the hospital. Then Naya starts drawing, with alarming detail, scenes from her dreams. Peter realizes her drawings are related to the murder of the girl despite the fact that Naya can't have received any information about it. Peter and Leia then join together to use these clues to solve the murder and rush to save Naya from harming herself or from becoming harmed by anyone else.

A Circle of Souls was very engaging and I enjoyed it. The author, Preetham Grandhi, is a child psychiatrist and the facts and knowledge that he wove into the novel were interesting. There were maybe 2-3 places in the book that the author's bias or thoughts appeared... for instance, Peter states in the book that it's so much easier when the parents he works with are educated. I can understand that, but the character, Peter, should have explained that more or just not said it at all. Those little things could easily have been overlooked though. The book kept me reading through and through to figure out what was going on. It was smart and intense (in a good way). I enjoyed the characters after getting to know them -- especially Naya. Both Peter and Leia were characters that I could see in a series (I don't know if that was the author's intent) and were likeable.

There were just a couple other small things I wanted to point out that I know often occur in first novels. I initially felt some of the dialogue was a little superficial, and there were a places throughout the book that could have used a little more showing and less telling. I noticed it more in the beginning. I don't know if it's because it improved throughout or if the story was just so good that I didn't notice. Regardless, I did end up really enjoying the book. Thank you to Preetham Grandhi for sending me an autographed ARC to read and review!!

And I just wanted to add as a sidenote.... if you don't already know what the word "slaaf" means, look it up before reading. You'll get what I mean as soon as you start reading. ;-)


Jennifer said...

Great review, Jenny! This looks like an interesting book!

Jenny said...

Thanks, Jen!

Melissa said...

I have this in my TBR. Sounds like a good read.

I'm going to have to bump it up on my reading list.

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