Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: A Circle of Souls

Summary: The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury's hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.


The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.


In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder. -- Sweetwater Books


A few weeks after I attended Book Expo America, Preetham Grandhi contacted me asking if I would be interested in reading his new novel A CIRCLE OF SOULS. He and his wife -- both authors -- had both attended the Blogger Panel and were looking for ways to spread the word about their respective books. I read the book's description and thought it sounded like a book that I'd enjoy. It was being billed as psychological suspense, and I figured that I hadn't read a book like that for quite awhile.

I thought A CIRCLE OF SOULS was very suspenseful and entertaining book. The story was told in third person narrative and consisted of relatively brief chapters which alternated between the lives of the characters. I enjoyed the third person narrative, and it was probably a necessary element to build suspense and keep the reader guessing; however, I wonder how the book would have worked if a few of the chapters were told in first person narrative. You know, just to mix things up a little bit. It's not as if I didn't think the characters were developed well -- it's just that I kind of wanted more insight into Leia and Peter.

I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and the characters; and I appreciated that the plot was something new to me. I especially liked how the author mixed in some psychological suspense and even some supernatural with the horrific crimes. Even though some of the concepts in this book are very different from my current beliefs, I didn't have any problems accepting them in the context of this book. However, I did sometimes wonder how the characters, especially Leia, didn't have a more difficult time believing (and accepting) some of what happened.

One of the best things about this novel was how the author did a great job of building suspense. Each chapter left off in such a way that I felt I had to keep reading. As a result, I read about two-thirds of the book in one sitting because I had to find out what happened. I have to admit that I wasn't entirely surprised by who the murderer was -- I figured it out pretty early on -- but there were a few times where I found myself questioning some of the other characters and their actions.

A CIRCLE OF SOULS is Dr. Grandhi's debut novel, and I hope it's just the beginning of his writing career because I think he can definitely weave a story. Besides writing books, he also has a private practice for children and adolescent psychiatry. It was apparent to me that his knowledge and experience of working with troubled children was useful in writing this novel. I could definitely tell that helping children is near and dear to his heart, and I felt as if I was getting an insider's look into parts of the medical profession. If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Grandhi as well as read some of the praise he's receiving for his very entertaining new novel, then you should check out this website devoted to A CIRCLE OF SOULS.

14 comments:

Meghan said...

I hadn't heard of this book before, but it sounds interesting! I'll have to remember it for when I'm looking for a psychological thriller.

stacybuckeye said...

I liked this book, but like you wanted more insight into Leia.

Jennsbookshelf said...

Oooh! I haven't heard of this book before. Sounds fabulous.

Marie Burton said...

Thanks for the review, I had been wondering about what this book was about.

bermudaonion said...

It's interesting that a psychiatrist has written a book like this - it makes me think it might be extra creepy.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Sounds like you impressed him on the panel! That's great!

SuziQoregon said...

I have this on my shelf to read soon. I'm seeing lots of good reviews and I'm looking forward to it.

Beth F said...

I was curious about this one, but passed it up because I thought maybe it'd be too creepy for me. I'm so glad this was a winner for you.

Cheryl said...

Great review. I also enjoyed this book

Lit and Life said...

Sounds like a great book to read for a change of pace. I have to change things up periodically so I don't get burned out and I love a good mystery.

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

On my shelf and every time I see a review on it I know I have to get to it.... I really want to read it and the reviews have been pretty good.

Serena said...

I had not heard too much about this book...but it sounds intriguing...thanks for the review.

Anna said...

I just received this one, and I'm looking forward to reading it, having seen a lot of positive reviews. Thanks for making the BEA connection. The author and his wife were sitting behind me during the panel, and I remembered right away when you mentioned that.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Holly said...

I've seen so many good reviews of this. I had the opportunity to review it, but I just wasn't sure.