A Circle of Souls
by Preetham Grandhi
pub: June 2009
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This books opens with a grisly murder of a 10 year old girl and sets the reader off on a journey to find out who-dun-it.
Shortly after the killing, child psychologist Dr. Peter Gram meets Naya, a 7 year old whose parents bring her in because they found her sleepwalking...almost right off their balcony.
The two events soon connect when Gram comes to the hard to believe conclusion that in her dreams Naya is talking to the recently murdered girl, who is giving Naya clues to the killing. An excellent artist, Naya expresses these experiences in drawings which Gram takes to FBI agent Leia Bines. While both Gram and Bines are skeptical, they can't deny that the clues are helping the investigation.
There are red herrings to keep the reader from guessing the killer's true identity and the investigation follows a logical path. The killer is a nasty piece of work but believable and not a cliche.
I could have done without so much info about the process of the psychiatric diagnosis. but this is Grandhi's field so it would make sense for him to include it. I pretty much skimmed through these parts, and besides, we know that Naya's visions are real and there is no mental health issue.
I enjoyed the action sequences but I also enjoyed Naya's interaction with Gram and the dead girl. Naya, who has a family history of psychic phenomenon (she's adopted) is an endearing character. Grandhi shines in capturing the essence of a 7 year old and I was invested in her well-being.
I also enjoyed the cultural insights into India's spiritual beliefs. The author weaves this into the story gracefully and uses it to create an inventive twist for his readers.
I kept turning the pages to not only find out the killer's identity but also to see how things resolved for Naya and Gram.
It's a good thriller with a bit of gore, a supernatural edge and engaging characters. I recommend this for older teens (a bit too dark and graphic for younger ones) and adults.
And "Thank You" to Preetham for the review copy. Word is he is working on a sequel and you can check out his website if you'd like to get more info.
I have an ARC of A Circle of Souls that is one of the books available in our MegaBook Giveaway so be sure to enter! Click the link or see the post below this one.