Asian-American private investigator Maya Mallick makes her first appearance in Bharti Kirchner's Season of Sacrifice. And, the opening scene of the book is unforgettable.
Maya has just opened the Seattle branch of a successful all-women boutique detective agency based in India when she comes across a terrible scene. Two young women set themselves on fire in front of the residence of a Chinese official. Maya recognizes Sylvie, the sister of her best friend, and tries to stop the deaths, but a man hits and impedes her. She witnesses their brutal deaths, and she's unwilling to accept the news stories that say the women were protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet. As far as Maya knows, Sylvie was a scientist researching malaria, with little interest in politics. And, she's determined to find the truth.
Maya's first case turns out to be a dangerous one that threatens her safety and the safety of her mother, who is visiting from India. It's also a complex case that involves Russians, a meditation center, a powerful Indian family, and more murders. Maya is forced to utilize the research skills of her assistant and her mother's knowledge and friends in India to find background material on the suspects. When she's followed, and she and her mother are threatened, Maya knows she's in a new dangerous world.
While there may be a few too many threads in this first mystery in a series, Maya shows promise as a private investigator. And, the elements of Indian cooking and life add atmospheric touches to the book. Maya's assistant and her mother are strong supporting cast members. But, it's that opening scene that will suck in readers.
Bharti Kirchner's website is http://www.bhartikirchner.com/
Season of Sacrifice by Bharti Kirchner. Severn House, 2017. 224p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.