Kiss of Salt by Smita Bhattacharya

Rate: 4/5

“It’s a blissful place to stumble into. You’ll never want to leave. Until you discover the secrets that linger behind the closed doors of the three houses that stand on it, that is.”

Headed to a rather isolated beach in Goa, Darya Nandkarni is just trying to find some time for herself. Things here are supposed to be peaceful and relaxing, just stay at her Uncle’s house and get his affairs in order. But things are not what they seem, neighbors have died and the more she looks at it, her Uncle’s death doesn’t appear normal either. Nothing has happened here since her Aunt’s disappearance 20 years ago. Is there a chance that all of this is connected? Darya just wanted to get away from it all, but things here have to be figured out, and if no one else will, it falls to Darya to put the pieces together. Can she figure out who is stalking the beach of Goa before they get to her?

“Darya felt an inexplicable quickening of her pulse as she absorbed the tumult of books and graffiti. She was drowning in them. They crashed into her senses from all around. Like Alice in Wonderland.”

What a fun read! As a fan of Agatha Christie novels, I loved going through this mystery with Darya. I found myself hanging on to the story, trying to work out in my head who the murderer could possibly be, or could it not actually be murder? I went back and forth with myself for quite awhile, but happy to say I almost had it correct! I fell in love with the setting of Goa and found myself wishing I could take a run along the beach with Darya. Having never been to India, nor having much knowledge about India, I found Kiss of Salt incredibly insightful. Bhattacharya did a wonderful job writing from Darya’s point of view. A woman who is down on her luck and really trying to re-figure out her life. You see how much she changes in the short amount of time you are with her and you root for her the entire way. Slow moving at first, Bhattacharya really lets you get to know Darya and understand where she is coming from. Once the pace picks up though, it goes full speed and makes the book impossible to put down.

” ‘Who cares?’ he said. ‘Everybody has an opinion. They are easy and free.’ “

Those who enjoy stories about strong, independent women, just trying to figure out their way in the world, will greatly enjoy this book. I highly recommend this book to fans of mysteries, especially murder mysteries. I have to admit, I found it hard to limit myself on the number of quotes I used when writing this. I have many written across my journal! I always write down quotes that stick with me or make me really think, there were quite a few throughout this story and it was difficult for me to choose. This is also the first of a series, which I will now have to get the rest of. If you are looking for a new mystery series to pick up and read, Bhattacharya has you covered!

“The past stayed with you, precisely the parts you so desperately wanted to forget. It faded with time but clung like a scar, flaring up every now and then. To linger. To cause pain.”

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