Thanks to NetGalley and Atria/Leopoldo & Co. for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Ravi Chandra Singh is the last guy you’d expect to become a private detective. A failed religious scholar, he now works for Golden Sentinels, an upmarket London private investigations agency. His colleagues are a band of gleefully amoral and brilliant screw-ups: Ken and Clive, a pair of brutal ex-cops who are also a gay couple; Mark Chapman, a burned-out stoner hiding a great mind; Marcie Holder, a cheerful former publicist; Benjamin Lee, a techie prankster from South London; David Okri, an ambitious lawyer from a well-connected Nigerian immigrant family; and Olivia Wong, an upper-class Hong Kong financial analyst hiding her true skills as one of the most dangerous hackers in the world–all under the watchful eye of Roger Golden–wheeler-dealer extraordinaire, and his mysterious office manager, Cheryl Hughes.
Thrust into a world where the rich, famous, and powerful hire him to solve their problems and wash their dirty laundry, Ravi finds himself in over his head with increasingly gonzo and complex cases–and the recent visions that he’s been having of Hindu gods aren’t helping. As Ravi struggles to stay ahead of danger, he wonders if the things he’s seeing are a delusion–or if he might, in fact, be an unrecognized shaman of the modern world…
Before I start my review, I have my confession to make. The main reason why I requested this book was the cover. The eARC actually only shows his face in shadows, but I looked it up on Goodreads before I requested it and saw this lovely cover. I have had a crush on Sendhil Ramamurthy since I first saw him on the tv series Heroes. Not only is he gorgeous, but he has a lovely voice/accent, and he’s a great actor. I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that somebody would come up with a new series for him to star in and…Yay! Not only is this the first in a trilogy, but it’s also in development for a tv series with one of the producers being none other than Idris Elba. I’m such a happy camper! Okay. Now to the book, which I quite enjoyed. Her Nightly Embrace is actually made up of four different stories/cases, although they’re all tied together. Ravi is the narrator, so everything is seen through his eyes. I absolutely love his character! He’s a former teacher who’s recruited by the Golden Sentinels private investigation firm, which at the onset seems like a rather odd fit, but wait until you meet the other, ahem, quirky employees. Ravi is not only dealing with some of the more unsavory methods his new employer uses to solve cases, but he’s also juggling his demanding family and these visions of Hindu gods he keeps seeing. These visions are tied directly to his internal struggles over the morally and legally ambiguous lines he’s being asked to cross. To be honest, even at the end I wasn’t sure if these are hallucinations or if Ravi is a shaman. It makes me feel better though that he doesn’t seem to know either. Not only is he supremely likable, but he’s highly intelligent as evidenced by the many internal monologues he has. While his morals are high, he never comes across as being too preachy. Instead, he winds up being the moral compass of the agency, which is a good thing given that most of the other employees are unapologetically corrupt. The other characters are quite interesting, but there’s not enough of their backstories told. I’m hoping that we’ll learn more about them in the forthcoming books. There’s a brief kind of awkward romantic relationship that Ravi has with a woman who pops up in the first story, but it mostly takes a backseat to the rest of the story. The cases themselves are interesting and balance suspense and violence, with plenty of humor. Her Nightly Embrace may not be for everyone. The scenarios are a little out there, as are the characters, there’s a few plot holes, and the format reads almost like a screenplay. But in the end I thought it was a fun read that had me laughing out loud more than once. I’m looking forward to not only the second book, but also the tv series, when I’ll be drooling over Sendhil being on my tv screen once again. Only when my husband’s not in the room of course!