Picking through the Mystery/ Thriller section at the library, I came across Her Nightly Embrace– Book I of the Ravi P.I series by Adi Tantimeoh. The cover showed an Indian face, a facsimile of an Indian actor whom I remembered having seen in a CBS series three or four years ago. Ravi is a popular Indian name and yet the author’s name definitely did not sound Indian. I decided to look a little closer and peeked at the back flap to find out more about him. Adi Tantimeoh, it turns out, is of Chinese – Thai descent and grew up in Singapore and London. And here he was , writing a book about a private detective of Indian origin who operates out of London… a book for which the blurb was penned by Deepak Chopra.
Is that a right proper mishmash of a novel or what?
Out of curiosity I checked the book out and I must say it isn’t bad. The protagonist, Ravi Chandra Singh, is a former high school teacher and religious scholar who now works as a private investigator for Golden Sentinels, an upscale security firm in London. Ravi has an unusual affliction; he constantly has visions of gods, usually Hindu but sometimes Buddhist. They shadow him as he works on cases, chatting with him , taking great interest in his work and giving him unwanted advice. His co-workers are equally eccentric. There’s Benjamin Lee, a McGyver like techie, David Okri an ambitious lawyer from a well connected Nigerian immigrant family, Olivia Wong, a Hong Kong heiress and financial analyst who is also a hacker par extraordinaire and Ken and Clive, two gay ex-cops with a mean streak who are up for anything including murder. Overseeing them all are the smooth talking Roger Golden and Cheryl Hughes.
The cases Ravi tackles are equally odd. The book’s title refers to the first of his cases, one in which the UK Prime. Minister- to- be complains of being forced into sex by the ghost of his dead fiancée. Other cases involve searching for a Pakistani girl from a rich family who runs away to escape an arranged marriage, an author whose books are regularly trashed by flash mobs who invade bookstores and a banker whistleblower who fears for her life.
The author, Adi Tantimeoh, has over twenty years experience writing radio plays and TV scripts for the BBC and various Hollywood studios. He also writes graphic novels for DC comics as well as a weekly column on pop culture. All these influences show up in his writing. Her Nightly Embrace is fast paced , heavy on the action but light on descriptions and character build -up. The characters are larger than life, utterly unscrupulous and given to all manner of debauchery. It is fun to see them get their just desserts with a little push from Ravi and his colleagues. The book is slickly written and a fun read but one volume is enough for me. I don’t think I’ll be reading the next two which are as yet in production.
Her Nightly Embrace . Book I of the Ravi PI series. Adi Tantimeoh. Atria Books ( Simon and Schuster). Published 2016. $ 26.