Season of the Monsoon

Paul Mann, Author Ballantine Books $20 (339p) ISBN 978-0-449-90768-9
This first-rate crime novel employs the classic elements of the noir thriller: an incorruptible loner cop; an ambitious reporter; gangland organizations; grotesque minor characters; an urban landscape ranging from the fashionable to the seedy, contrasted with the make-believe world of a film studio; a shadowy sexual underworld; an unidentified corpse; and a maniacal killer. But the setting isn't Los Angeles. In a nice twist, Mann ( The Traitor's Contract ) places the action in Bombay, India, where its hero, half-Indian, half-English Inspector George Sansi, is the definitive outsider. The case involves a multilated corpse found floating in a lake. Sansi has to tread carefully so as not to step on his superior's toes, and he must maneuver around the politicians who have an interest in quashing the investigation, which ultimately takes on international proportions. As if that weren't enough, he also finds himself brokering a deal between Bombay's two most powerful crime bosses to prevent open warfare. Although Mann's lush, existentially anguished writing at times resembles Raymond Chandler's, Sansi is better educated than Marlowe, less introspective and less inclined to womanizing, one-liners and violence. While the story, like its hero, is not quite as nihilistic as is usual in the genre, it nevertheless sticks to the noir tradition with a harrowing and memorable climax. Ad/promo; BOMC alternate. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 360 pages - 978-0-8041-1259-8
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