Review: Her Nightly Embrace by Adi Tantimedh

Her Nightly Embrace by Adi Tantimedh is the 1st book in the new Ravi PI trilogy about a destructive private investigator and his eccentric coworkers, who handle cases so high-profile that they never make the headlines.

Her Nightly Embrace is the first book in the new Ravi PI trilogy. It's also scheduled to become a television series starring popular actor Sendhil Ramamurthy of NBC’s Heroes fame as newly minted PI Ravi Chandra Singh.

The pace is addictive. After the first, somewhat typical, case—a cheating husband caught in flagrante delicto while the salacious photos are shared in real time with his estranged wife—the mysteries ratchet up episodically and in intensity. Not that an angry wife who finally has proof is anything but intense. She lets her husband have it after she sees the photos.

Two years’ worth of pent-up rage after he smooth-talked and manipulated her into thinking his having a bit on the side was all in her imagination. Now she had hard proof and wanted him to know that he was well and truly fucked. We didn’t need speakerphone mode to hear her.

On his flight back to London from New York City, Ravi is “feeling a bit shit.” His boss Roger—co-founder of Golden Sentinels, “an upmarket private investigations and security company”—compliments him on a job well done. But Ravi is in a funk. Crowding into his head are childhood admonishments and Hindu gods.

My mother’s words whenever I misbehaved as a child were echoing in my head as I sat in coach on the Virgin flight back to London.

Child of Kali, sowing chaos and mayhem wherever you go…”

Make a note of the Hindu gods who haunt Ravi. Their continuing presence in his consciousness is an aspect of Ravi’s personality that takes him, as a character and detective, into another dimension. A former schoolteacher, Ravi muddles over why he was hired in the first place. Could it be that he’s on board to appeal to South Asian clients? Roger Golden sets him straight:

“Think about it. You’re a smart lad. Well-read, well traveled. Head filled with books and Literature. Good people skills. Looks that are catnip to the ladies. You’ve probably read some Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, but I never believed real-life detectives were like the books.”

“Too right. We’re a grubby, corrupt, disreputable lot, and you’re a nice, middle-class lad with debts who’s landed in our patch.”

“Well, I’m not planning to work here forever.”

Roger smiled at that. He liked to collect strays with skills. Brilliant fuckups with nowhere else to go.

Brilliant fuckups they may be, but they bring fabulous life skills to solve the problems of their worried clients, doubtless their solutions often skirt conventional procedures. Who can be conventional when it is imperative that the great British public never hear about the foibles of their politicians and favorite celebrities?

Ravi’s next case is a leap into a political swamp: the likely next British Prime Minister, Rupert Holcomb, fears he’s going insane. Rupert has a nocturnal visitor, his late fiancée, who has sex with him while he sleeps—the evidence is on the sheets. But how is this possible? In his dry, dead-pan style, Roger tells Ravi that he’s going to solve this spot of bother.

“I’ll leave him to tell you about it. Now, I already pumped you up as one of our brightest stars in the agency, so don’t cock it up.”

Ravi may be feeling pressure, but the only pressure on readers of this unusual, captivating new series is facing the dawn after staying up way too late the night before to finish Her Nightly Embrace.


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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on the books of Helen MacInnes, Dick Francis, and Dorothy L. Sayers. I'm always looking for a great new mystery series. I also review at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

Read all of Janet Webb's articles for Criminal Element!


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