By Clark Isaacs, Clark’s Eye on Books
Author Preetham Grandhi, M. D., is an immigrant from Bangalore, India and has written a fascinating debut novel, A Circle of Souls. This book is compelling because of Grandhi’s career in child and adolescent psychiatry. He is devoted to children and is a Chief of Service for House 5 at the Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Center in New York City. Grandhi also is a graduate of Yale and has a private psychiatric practice for children.
Grandhi weaves an unusual story line. His main characters, Dr. Peter Gram, FBI agent Leia Bines, and a 7 year-old Indian girl named Naya, converge in an effort to unravel the brutal murder of 10 year-old Janet, who has mysteriously disappeared on her way home from school.
Naya is a patient in the Newbury, Connecticut hospital. Dr. Gram becomes her physician. She had been admitted previously for a sleep-walking disorder and horrendous nightmares. Her parents feared for her life. In her dreams, she sees Janet, the dead girl, and has audible conversations with her. As result of their friendship, Naya draws vivid pictures of these dreams, depicting an elephant, a red building, a figure with black hair, and a dismembered body of a young blond girl. Naya’s chilling dreams and puzzling art work become the real clues which assist the authorities in pursuit of the perpetrator.
This book is not only about a gruesome murder of a child. It also reveals spiritual elements of Indian philosophy such as, the concept of a previous life and passing of one soul into another. This belief may seem strange to American culture and tradition, but whether you believe or not, this is a definite eye-opener to a different culture and Grandhi makes you think about it!
A Circle of Souls is a psychological thriller, mixed with suspense, the supernatural, strange cultural phenomenon, and the fascinating world of child behavior. Grandhi has the ability to open your mind and pull you into the characters’ lives so fast that you cannot put the book down. His experience, together with his unique background, plainly shows the pure, honest, and natural behavior of children. At the same time, he delves into the demented, deep, dark, depths of delusion and its subsequent atrocities.
This is an adventure in the “who-done-it” idiom that will keep you speculating. Highly recommended!
A Circle of Souls
Author: Preetham Grandhi
Pages: 341, $21.99,
Publication Date: June, 2009,
Published by Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.
Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. Contact Clark through his website at clarkisaacs.ning.com or through NewsBlaze.