It’s the hot season again, time to sit under a coconut palm and chill with a thriller. So here’s a list of everything that’s new and worth reading in the genre.

The book I’ve been looking forward to is Ashok Banker’s Blood Red Sari, the start of a thriller quartet which marks the return of a master to crime fiction—a genre Banker himself pioneered in India 20 years ago with a trilogy of nasty detective novels. The release of Blood Red Sari is an important literary event because it heralds the return of Sheila Ray, one of the best fictional characters of 1990s pulp. Sheila is now older, runs a gym in Kolkata, but as hard-boiled as ever. When goons threaten her she hits back with lethal vengeance—and teams up with two other hard-hitting girls, a feminist lawyer in a wheelchair and a lesbian private eye, to unravel an incredible conspiracy. Once the plot kicks in, there are no dead moments.

Ashok Banker. Photo: Jasjeet Plaha/Hindustan Times

Also worth checking out is The Price You Pay by Somnath Batabyal, about a rookie crime reporter with one of the Capital’s newspapers. According to advance praise, this thriller is expected to do to Delhi what Raymond Chandler did to Los Angeles, no less.

If cosy murder mystery is up your alley, check out Kalpana Swaminathan’s newest in her Lalli series, The Secret Gardener: This time that elderly lady gumshoe gets a case involving a nicely manicured nail on a mummified finger dug up from a garden.

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