Atria Books will publish a new crime fiction series starring a failed religious scholar-turned-detective, EW can announce exclusively. The first book, Adi Tantimedh’s Her Nightly Embrace, will be released Nov. 1.
Tantimedh’s Ravi PI trilogy follows Ravi Chandra Singh, a London private investigator who handles “cases so high-profile that they never make the headlines” with his bevy of happily corrupt colleagues, like a hacker from Hong Konk, a Nigerian lawyer, and a brilliant stoner. When Ravi starts to see visions of Hindu gods as he becomes overwhelmed by his complex cases, he has to figure out if he’s completely delusional — or if he might actually be a modern day shaman.
And if the face on the cover below looks familiar — that’s because it is! Heroes star Sendhil Ramamurthy is slated to play Ravi in the still-in-development TV adaptation of the series, and will appear in person as the character at publicity events for the books. “Ravi Chandra Singh is the most unusual and unexpected character I’ve been cast to play,” Ramamurthy says in the release. “He’s unique and complex as he struggles to survive in a crazy and dangerous world.”
To get your first peek into Ravi’s world, check out our exclusive cover reveal and excerpt, below:
Excerpt from Her Nightly Embrace: Book I of the Ravi PI Series by Adi Tantimedh
“Do you still wonder why I hired you?” Roger asked.
I was not sufficiently over my jet lag for this kind of powwow in the boss’s office.
“To appeal to clients from India and to South Asian clients, in general.”
“Come off it. You’re not the only Indian or Pakistani candidate we interviewed. Why do you think I picked you, a former schoolteacher, over the other ones?”
“Is this a trick question, boss?”
“Think about it. You’re a smart lad. Well-read, well traveled. Head filled with books and Literature. Good people skills. Looks that are catnip to the ladies. You’ve probably read some Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, haven’t you?”
“Yeah, but I never believed real-life detectives were like the books.”
“Too right. We’re a grubby, corrupt, disreputable lot, and you’re a nice, middle-class lad with debts who’s landed in our patch.”
“Well, I’m not planning to work here forever.”
Roger smiled at that. He liked to collect strays with skills. Brilliant losers with nowhere else to go. He’d opened the Golden Sentinels Private Investigations Agency with Cheryl Hughes as his office manager and Ken and Clive as his investigators back in the late 1980s in a tiny office near Fleet Street. Now he had expanded to this trendy space in Farringdon with immaculate décor and feng shui—and to offices across the world.
“Give up?” He was relishing this too much. “I hired you because you have no agenda.”
“My agenda is to pay off my overdraft.”
“No, that’s your goal. You have no ulterior motive, you want to do your job well, and you’re not using it as a stepping-stone to gain power or start a political career or start your own firm. That sets you apart from everyone else here, including me.”
“And is that good or bad?”
“That’s for you to decide, old son. I know a mensch when I see one, and I reckon having one around here might be a good thing.”
“For what, to be your conscience?”
“For a fresh perspective.”
“I’m not sure I follow.”
“You might have noticed that everyone here is an outsider. Ken and Clive were drummed out of the Met for being dodgy coppers. The rest of you lot are outcasts, misfits. I would love to be welcomed into the Establishment. I’ve made friends with them, hidden their dirty laundry, provided them with services and information to help them get a leg up, but I know I’ll never be fully accepted by them. Because I’m Jewish. Doesn’t matter that my family’s been here for generations, practically built Brick Lane back in the day. And you, Ravi, are also an outsider. You’re just very good at hiding it.”
“I’m not hiding anything.”
“I know. You’re an open book. But you haven’t really read yourself, have you? You’re not ordinary, my old son. Otherwise you would have found a normal job. I don’t hire ‘normal.’”
“So what’s not normal about me?”
“You have the makings of a superb bringer of chaos. That’s your special talent.”
“You think that’s a good thing for the firm?”
“Could be. I suggest you get used to it. Embrace it.”
I had a mental flash of myself as an emissary of the goddess Kali, bringer of death and rebirth. Then I thought of Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos and discord. Discordia. This was not how people tended to think of themselves. The scary thing was that the idea didn’t scare me. That couldn’t be good. It was good for Roger, though. Chaos was his business model, his opportunity, his world. His love.
“Why are you bringing this up now?” I asked.
“Because you’re about to move up a notch, Ravi. I’m making you the primary on a high-profile case we’re getting today, and I want you on point.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence. Who’s the client?”
“Technically, the client is the Tory Party. Mucho moolah. They’re paying us from the party coffers, so don’t be afraid to go all out. We’re going to charge them top rate. Rupert Holcomb is in a spot of bother and needs our help.”
Blimey. Our next prime minister, or so the papers would have had us believe. Rupert Holcomb, conservative MP for the London borough of Haddock West, one of the safest Tory seats in the universe. The party’s latest Great White Hope. No scandals, no skeletons in his closet, no sex with farm animals (or at least, no photos of the deed), the very picture of a pleasant blandness that every party tried to find in their brightest stars these days. The one thing that gave his public image an edge was his relationship with the late supermodel and “It Girl” Louise Fowler. Everyone envied the lucky bastard for pulling her. By all accounts they were genuinely in love. Then she died from cancer, diagnosed too late. That added some pathos to his profile. He nursed her to the very end, and that won him a load of sympathy from female voters. All the market research proved it.
“So what does he need our help for?” I asked.
“I’ll leave him to tell you about it. Now, I already pumped you up as one of our brightest young stars in the agency, so don’t mess this up.”
“Right. No pressure.”
Just my job on the line, that was all.
Holcomb came into the office with his party whip, Hugh McLeish, and a couple of minders. It was McLeish who made the decision to hire us. He was obviously the real power here, grooming Holcomb and keeping him on the straight and narrow in preparation for declaring his candidacy for prime minister at the next general election. McLeish, hatchet man and inquisitor of the party, was the one who strong-armed Holcomb into coming in, and was here to hold his hand. We escorted them into the conference room. Cheryl served tea and sat down to take notes.
As soon as Holcomb sat down, the smooth, media-trained façade slipped. His body language changed. His shoulders sagged and he slumped in the chair. He looked small, haunted, and desperate.
I wondered what Holcomb’s dilemma was. Someone blackmailing him? Compromising photos to track down? A missing person he needed to find? Background check on someone in his life to see if they were who they claimed to be? I reckoned it would fall into the usual range of problems a public figure like him would encounter, and it would be up to me to help him find the answer and keep it out of the papers. This would be another of those things that the general public would never hear about, if we did our job properly.
“My dead girlfriend is having sex with me in my sleep!”
. . . Ah.
Thanks a lot, Roger!