Book Review: 'A Circle of Souls' will keep you guessing

"A Circle of Souls" by Preetham Grandhi; 978-1-59955-235-4; Pages: 341; $21.99; Publication Date: June, 2009; Softcover; Fiction; Published by Sweetwater Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Author Preetham Grandhi, M.D., is an immigrant from Bangalore, India, and has written a fascinating debut novel, "A Circle of Souls."

This book is compelling because of Grandhi's career in child and adolescent psychiatry. He is devoted to children and is a chief of service for House 5 at the Bronx Children's Psychiatric Center in New York City. Grandhi also is a graduate of Yale and has a private psychiatric practice for children.

Grandhi weaves an unusual storyline. His main characters, Dr. Peter Gram, FBI agent Leia Bines and a 7-year-old Indian girl named Naya converge in an effort to unravel the brutal murder of 10-year-old Janet, who has mysteriously disappeared on her way home from school.

Naya is a patient in the Newbury, Conn., hospital. Dr. Gram becomes her physician. She had been admitted previously for a sleep-walking disorder and horrendous nightmares.

Her parents feared for her life. In her dreams, she sees Janet, the dead girl, and has audible conversations with her. As result of their friendship, Naya draws vivid pictures of these dreams, depicting an elephant, a red building, a figure with black hair, and a dismembered body of a young blonde girl.

Naya's chilling dreams and puzzling art work become the real clues which assist the authorities in pursuit of the perpetrator.

This book is not only about a gruesome murder of a child. It also reveals spiritual elements of Indian philosophy, such as the concept of a previous life and passing of one soul into another. This belief may seem strange to American culture and tradition, but whether you believe or not, this is a definite eye-opener to a different culture, and Grandhi makes you think about it!

"A Circle of Souls" is a psychological thriller mixed with suspense, the supernatural, strange cultural phenomenon and the fascinating world of child behavior. Grandhi has the ability to open your mind and pull you into the characters' lives so fast that you cannot put the book down.

His experience, together with his unique background, plainly shows the pure, honest and natural behavior of children. At the same time, he delves into the demented, deep, dark, depths of delusion and its subsequent atrocities.

This is an adventure in the "who-done-it" idiom that will keep you speculating.

Highly recommended!

Publisher Weekly

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Clark Isaacs lives in the Kingman area. Are there any books you would like reviewed? This column will find those which are of special interest for your reading pleasure. Visit Clark at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com and tell him what you would like to have him write about. Visit the Web site and find out more about the book swap.