The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff #bookreview #crimefiction #darkhumor #TuesdayBookBlog

Geeta’s no-good husband disappeared five years ago. She didn’t kill him, but everyone thinks she did–no matter how much she protests. But she soon discovers that being known as a “self-made” widow has some surprising perks. No one messes with her, no one threatens her, and no one tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for her business; no one wants to risk getting on her bad side by not buying her jewelry.

Freedom must look good on Geeta, because other women in the village have started asking for her help to get rid of their own no-good husbands…but not all of them are asking nicely.

Now that Geeta’s fearsome reputation has become a double-edged sword, she must decide how far to go to protect it, along with the life she’s built. Because even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry. 

I was undecided about downloading this book when I received a NetGalley widget, but the description was so appealing and original I couldn’t resist.

If you’re a fan of dark humor (I’m a devoted one), The Bandit Queens will give you plenty to snicker about. The banter between these women and their comments to others are hilarious at times. That being said, also prepare yourself for the horrific parts of the story – the physical and emotional abuse of women and their treatment as second class citizens. I wanted to crawl through the pages and strangle some of the men myself.

Geeta’s abusive husband disappeared five years ago, and that’s just fine with her. She’s doing fine without him and enjoys the single life. The village gossip doesn’t really bother her, and since she doesn’t care for children all that much, their comments about her being a witch roll right off. She’s busy running her jewelry business, attending loan group meetings, and saving for a refrigerator. She even adopts Bandit, a dog who’s an astute judge of character. Maybe she’s occasionally lonely and is basically estranged from her childhood best friend, but she’s content with her life. And then everything is upended when she’s asked to help kill the husband of a woman in her loan group.

Blackmail, murder, animal rescue, threatened poisoning, plans gone awry, gourd gifting, lizard stalking – it’s all here. There’s also female empowerment, reclaimed friendships, and well-deserved doses of karma. Even though I didn’t understand all the references, I enjoyed learning more about the culture and small village life, and I’m so glad I read this book. You’ll find yourself cheering for these remarkable women throughout the novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

28 thoughts on “The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff #bookreview #crimefiction #darkhumor #TuesdayBookBlog

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