A Hideous Convention (Bombay Crime Bureau #0.5), by Krishnaraj HK

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Krishnaraj HK for providing me with a copy of this short story, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I was pleased to be handed an ARC for this short story, which proves to be highly entertaining. As I am one who always enjoys a great police procedural, I was eager to sink my teeth into one that uses an Indian flavouring to advance the story. Well-paced and with a few twists to keep me forging onwards, I was pleased to begin my journey reading Krishnaraj and his work.

After an early-morning vehicle accident claims the lives of two people, a teenaged boy is the only survivor with answers as to what’s might have happened. Scanning the scenes the police cannot answer all their queries, but are fairly certain that sleeping at the wheel as the likely cause of the vehicle veering into the path of an oncoming truck. However, Forensics may have something else to say on the matter, which leads Dev Shinde, Senior Superintendent with the Bombay Crime Bureau, to take a closer look.

When a container of pills are found in the glove box, Superintendent Shinde wonders if there may be more to the story. He digs a little deeper to learn that the family has a history of addiction, including the teenager who was on his way back from a facility with his parents. As Superintendent Shinde probes a little more, additional secrets begin tumbling out, which only adds motive and depth to this road incident. Might there be more than a freak accident to investigate here? Who might have wanted others in the vehicle to suffer and how did this all come about? A great introduction to the Bombay Crime Bureau. I look forward to the full-length novel to come.

It is always a gamble when an author approaches you, in hopes of you reading their work. The pressure is on, but I am happy to keep things honest throughout the review, as this is the only way an author will grow. I readily accepted this police procedural short story by Krishnaraj and hoped that it would whet my appetite for the upcoming novel with the same cast of characters. The story is strong and follows well, creating twists throughout to keep the reader on their toes. There are some good characters whose backstory will surely be developed as the series takes root. I am eager to see where things are headed and am happy to have taken the gamble with this piece.

Police procedurals the world round rely on strong narrative direction, particularly for those who are not familiar with the local customs or system of law. The reader is led quite nicely along with this piece and Krishnaraj keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Characters offer some depth, as well as comic relief, throughout the piece, which opens the door to some great development, once the series gets rolling. Plot twists throughout keep the reader on their toes, but also provide some ‘aha’ moments as Krishnaraj surely does not want things to become too predictable. I am glad that I took the time to read this shorter piece and await news on the full novel, which is sure to come soon.

Kudos, Mr. Krishnaraj, for reaching out and providing such a nice introduction to your series, I am eager to see how things go.