Thursday, December 28, 2017

#39 [2017/CBR9] "A Change of Heart" by Sonali Dev

A Change of Heart is the first book I've read by Sonali Dev. I found it through NPR's Best Books of 2016. I wasn't sure what to expect, and it was unusual, violent, and sometimes disturbing, but I have to say that it sucked me in. I was reading it while I was on vacation, on my first cruise. It was kind of fun to read a book that starts on a cruise while on a cruise, and I definitely got into it.

Dr. Nikhil Joshi's wife, Jen, was murdered in front of him two years ago in the streets of Mumbai. He is still devastated, drinking himself to oblivion every night. A friend of his took pity on him and offered him a job as the doctor on a cruise ship. Nikhil took the job and hasn't left the ship in two years.

One night on the ship, Nikhil sees a woman who looks just like his wife--with the same, bright red-dyed hair. It rips him out of his drunken pity and he seeks her out. The woman's name is Jess, and she tells Nikhil that she received Jen's heart after her death. She has the scar to prove it. Jess said that she feels Jen's thoughts and sought him out.

And thus begins an original, interesting mystery. First, you have to figure out who Jess is, what she's doing on the ship, and find her motivation. Then there is the lingering mystery over the violent death of Jen. Sure, the killers were found, but the powerful men who hired the killers have never been found. It turns out that Jen was working with a local police detective to uncover illegal dealing with human organs. Poor people were being killed for their organs, and it wasn't being noticed. Jen, another doctor, worked at a clinic there, and was the first to see what was going on.

If you think too hard about it, the beginning of the book just doesn't make much sense. Whoever came up with that plan for Jess to meet Nikhil has a little too much imagination for their own good. But there was so much going on, and the book kept moving at such a good pace, that I didn't have much time to contemplate how silly some of it was. And in the end, I found that I liked and cared about the characters. They'd both gone through hell and were helping each other. I have to say I liked it.

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