I finished reading not one but two books by Susan Oleksiw last week and loved them both.
The Wrath of Shiva is her second novel featuring Anita Ray, who solves mysteries in Kerala, South India. Anita has an American parent but is comfortable living in her Auntie Meena's hotel and doing photography. When a cousin fails to arrive on a plane and a servant starts to go into trances and then blames it on an angry goddess, Anita investigates and is drawn into more intrigues than she bargained for.
Susan does an amazing job of making you feel like you are there under the tropical trees near the sea. You feel the humidity, hear the night sounds of birds and animals, and become immersed in the local culture of tradition. She brings the local dialect into dialog in a natural way as we get to know her grandmother, her Muttachi. Anita also grows closer to her handsome friend, Anand, who plays a part in solving the mystery not only of her cousin's disappearance but also of valuable antiquities missing from the family.
The twists toward and at the end were superbly done. I can't wait to read the next Anita Ray!
I've been waiting years to read the next Joe Silva book. Susan published the Murder in Mellingham series but it was discontinued before Last Call for Justice came out. I'm so pleased she decided to self-publish this book. Joe was a good cop with some conflict in his past. Joe is now happily settled with Gwen, his woman friend and her teenage daughter, and brings them to visit his family for the first time.
This book takes place entirely at his parents' home for a family reunion his elderly father has arranged. It's a big Portuguese family with lots of traditional views. Two estranged siblings show up from across the continent who haven't visited in decades and the tension mounts. When a relative is killed at the party, Joe has very little time to find the murderer before more damage is done.
This is almost a psychological suspense novel. The characters are drawn in depth and we see what Joe has to go through to reconcile justice, love for his family, and wanting to make everything right for everyone.