At 27, Jason Talley of Corning, New York, leads an orderly life, precisely processing loans for a mortgage company. Its warmest spot is his friendship with Sriram Sundaram and his lively wife Vidya. One night Sriram secretly confides he's planning a trip home to India to visit his mother and asks Jason to hold her gift, a gorgeous red silk sari. The very next evening Jason arrives home to sirens and cops - Sriram and Vidya are dead. The cops call it a murder/suicide. Grieving, Jason decides to fulfill Sriram's quest and books himself an impulsive trip to India. It's a package deal, he learns, designed for retirees. But luckily there's a gorgeous young woman aboard, a train buff with an escape plan, and before he knows it, Jason has cast aside all semblance of order and embarked with Rachel on a perilous journey. How dangerous he doesn't guess since only now does he learn that Sriram, computer genius, was a defaulter from Bangalore World Systems, believed by his start-up gang to have sold them out to software CEO Ravi Murty in America. Jason has sent details of his trip to Sriram's e-mail list, hoping to meet up with his dead friend's past. And he does....
Edgar-nominee Benoit's assured second mystery (after 2004's Relative Danger) introduces 27-year-old Jason Talley, a nerdy Corning, N.Y., loan processor whose rare heroic gesture launches him on a journey into danger and romance. When Talley's married friends, Sriram and Vidya Sundaram, are found dead in their apartment, victims of an apparent murder-suicide, the shaken Talley decides to go to India to deliver a special sari to Sriram's mother. He also alerts friends and colleagues of Sriram's from a failed high-tech startup company that he's en route to their country. The sedate tour group that Jason joins is a disaster until he's "rescued" by Rachel Moore, a beautiful train-mad woman who's as adventurous as Jason is not. Soon the two are traveling on their own, meeting up with Sriram's bitter or forgiving ex-colleagues. The search for Sriram's mother, Rachel's madcap unpredictability and the stalking of Jason by one or more of Sriram's former partners add up to a spicy quest tale in an India at once modern and ancient. (Feb.)
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December 08, 2009
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