Her Nightly Embrace by Adi Tantimedh is the first in a planned trilogy - The Ravi PI books.
"Before we start, there's something you should know.
I see gods.
Usually in the corner of my eye. They just pop up from time to time, deities from the Hindu pantheon.
I never talk to them. I don't want to.
They never talk to me, just watch in silent judgement. Occasionally they tut-tut and tweet about me to one another on their phones.
I'm not mentally ill. Honest
Back when this started, I was switching from anti-psychotics, to mood stabilizers to anti-anxiety to anti-depressant medications before I finally got it under control.
I haven't been seeing many gods lately. That must be a good sign."
Ravi Singh is a failed religious scholar and secondary school teacher. There was that breakdown with the god thing. But the meds seemed to have helped and he's embarked on a new career as a private investigator at the prestigious Golden Sentinel Investigations. (His friend David got him in) Golden Sentinel takes on cases for the rich, celebrities and those who need their cases handled with the utmost discretion.
Now, you might be questioning Ravi being asked to join such a prestigious firm. But the rest of the employees are all a little, well, quirky also. Each is very talented in their own way. I love ensemble casts. It might takes a few chapters to keep everyone straight, but they all have strong personalities and talents, so it really won't take you long. And let's not forget the gods. They start by showing up, but as the cases progress, they start interacting.....
"My coworkers are a bunch of brilliant f***ups with nowhere else to go. They're ex-coppers, lawyers, hackers, tech geeks. I feel under-qualified next to them. I'm not sure I belong, but I have nowhere else to go, either."
Ravi is still the newbie on the team, but is given a case involving a high profile politician as a bit of a test. You see, the politician insists that his girlfriend is showing up in the middle of the night and having sex with him. He has body fluids for proof. The problem you ask? Well, his girlfriend is dead. Seems like this is the perfect case for Ravi as those Hindu gods are showing up again.
There are four cases in Her Nightly Embrace. Each reads like a short story on their own, but there are threads joining them together in the form of supporting characters as well as Ravi's personal life. I adored his family - especially his parents. That little gambling problem his mother has only goes to prove that addiction does run in families.
Ravi is suave, quick thinking and a smooth talker. Half the fun in this book were the somewhat (okay a bit more than somewhat) outlandish cases. The other half is the way Ravi handles things - again, not how you would expect.
As the book progresses, we learn a bit more about the founders of the agency. And the plot thickens a bit here, setting up lots of fodder for the next two books.
Ravi is the narrator, so the reader only sees events through his eyes. I found this a bit one sided - I think I would like to see the other character's viewpoints once in awhile. Tantimedh's writing is definitely plot driven. The details of Ravi's personal life and some of his observations came across as somewhat dispassionate.
All in all, Her Nightly Embrace was a completely fun and different look at the PI genre. Read an excerpt of Her Nightly Embrace. (For gentle readers - be advised that her Nightly Embrace does contain some sex and violence.)
Tantimedh says that "I originally thought I’d write some short stories about Ravi and his cases and perhaps pitch them as a TV series later on. I just wanted to update private detective fiction and tell stories that hadn’t been seen before in the genre." Well, Ravi PI is currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy (NBC’s Heroes and Heroes Reborn) He's a great choice for this character! Sendhil will also be voicing the audiobook.
“Her Nightly Embrace introduces us to an exciting and dynamic new world of storytelling in which spirituality and science are inextricably entwined. Ravi is a character unlike any that readers have quite encountered before, and as he starts to see increasingly wild and fascinating visions, so will those lucky enough to dive into this rich narrative.” -- Deepak Chopra
"Adi Tantimedh has a BA in English Literature from Bennington College and an MFA in Film and Television Production from New York University. He is of Chinese-Thai descent and came of age in Singapore and London. He has written radio plays and television scripts for the BBC and screenplays for various Hollywood companies, as well as graphic novels for DC Comics and Big Head Press, and a weekly column about pop culture for BleedingCool.com. He wrote “Zinky Boys Go Underground,” the first post-Cold War Russian gangster thriller, which won the BAFTA for Best Short Film in 1995." You can connect with Adi on Twitter.