In this exceptional police procedural, Indian author Nair (The Better Man) adds yet another middle-aged, crisis-stricken, and world-weary detective to the contemporary mystery canon. Bangalore’s Insp. Borei Gowda is an honest man, his integrity earning him only marginalization within a system increasingly flooded by abandoned investigations and crooked officers solely pursuing the power of the uniform. Gowda’s superior would prefer to ignore a series of grisly strangling murders, but that doesn’t stop Gowda and his idealistic young assistant, Santosh, from doggedly unraveling a web of political corruption involving a fanatical local official and a subculture of “hijras”—transgender individuals often driven to prostitution in the city’s shadowy underbelly. Nair immerses her readers in Bangalore’s alluring and sinister mélange of Hindu and Moslem cultures, revealing a people afflicted by the inability to allow unqualified praise for anything or anyone. Complex, psychologically deep characters are a plus.