book reviews by Althea

Pirate Vishnu – Gigi Pandian ***

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(Jaya Jones, #2)

I received a review copy of this title from NetGalley. Thank you to NetGalley and Henery Press!

Are you a grad student wanting to unwind from hours devoted to serious academic research? If so, this light and entertaining mystery is tailor-made for you.

Jaya Jones is an associate professor of history, hoping to gain tenure at a San Francisco college. But she gets distracted from work on her latest paper when a stranger arrives, asking her for help researching a century-old treasure map. The document may have been drawn up by her great-granduncle Anand, a character whose revolutionary politics and emigration to America during the Gold Rush have become a family legend.

What historian could resist an offer like that? It’s fascinating to find out more about family history, and possibly make a significant historical discovery along the way! But Jaya soon realizes she may have gotten in over her head, when a body is found by the police, and suspicion begins to fall on Jaya herself…

There are a few infodump-y parts where the writing feels a little inexperienced – but overall, the story moves along at a good pace, and I found the characters engaging and entertaining. Jaya’s Indian-American heritage (which I believe the author shares) adds flavor to the story in an organic way. As a librarian and archivist myself, Tamarind the punk librarian was simply awesome, and I also loved the depiction of the archivist in India. (view spoiler)

This is the second in the Jaya Jones series, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone.


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