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Chief Inspector Gray James #1

His Hand In the Storm

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Colorado Gold MYSTERY AWARD WINNER. Daphne du Maurier Suspense Finalist.


His team believes he’s calm and Zen. His boss finds him obsessive. Suspects think him gorgeous but dangerous. They’re all right.

Chief Inspector Gray James is sculpting the remembered likeness of his small son when he receives the call – a faceless corpse is found hanging by the choppy river, swirls of snow and sand rolling like tumbleweeds.

Montreal glitters: the cobbled streets slippery with ice, and the mighty St. Lawrence jetting eastward past the city. One by one, someone is killing the founders of a booming medical tech startup – propelling Gray into a downward spiral that shatters his hard-earned peace, that risks his very life, that threatens to force him to care and face what he has shunned all along: his hand in the storm.

From the prize-winning author comes a psychological, page-turning mystery with all the elements one needs on a rainy night: a complex murder, a noble yet haunted detective, and an evocative setting to sink into.

Scroll up to get to know Gray and download, His Hand In the Storm.

258 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 21, 2018

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About the author

Ritu Sethi

4 books50 followers

Ritu needs coffee, beaches, and murder mysteries to survive – not necessarily in that order. She won the Colorado Gold Award for the first in the Chief Inspector Gray James Murder Mystery Series, His Hand In the Storm. The book was also a Daphne du Maurier Suspense finalist.

She has spent many years in Montreal and Vancouver – and decided to set her Gray James novels in those two cities. She is an avid mystery reader (especially of classic psychological mysteries). When she couldn't find a protagonist like Gray James – a combination of Dalgliesh, Poirot, and Bond -- she created him. And the Gray James Novels were born.

She’s fulfilling her lifelong desire of becoming a mystery writer. Many thanks to all the readers who are making that possible.

Subscribe and get Exclusive content, notifications of promotions, and deleted chapters: http://eepurl.com/gcyurn

OR SUBSCRIBE ON HER WEBSITE: www.rituwrites.com

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/ritusethiauthor

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/author/ritusethi


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5 stars
938 (34%)
4 stars
965 (35%)
3 stars
571 (20%)
2 stars
176 (6%)
1 star
84 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 119 reviews
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,882 reviews1,629 followers
January 30, 2019
Meet Chief Inspector Gray James. He is a mixture of calm, obsessiveness, and the ladies like that he is extremely good looking.. The reader will learn that he carries a burden, which is slowly revealed.

He is called in to investigate a faceless corpse found hanging by the river. And this won't be the only body that falls. Someone is killing the founders of a booming medical tech startup.

These cases are going to test him.... he will risk his life .... and his inner peace will be shattered.

This is a well-written page turning crime fiction. Hits all the marks for me .... the story premise is excellent, the characters are finely drawn and credible. Gray is a fascinating man, he has issues, but strives to face them head on. The emotional involvement with his junior detective is real and adds a lot of depth to the story.

All in all, a very satisfying read.

Many thanks to the author and Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for SA Krishnan.
Author 35 books152 followers
July 10, 2020
Interesting twists and turns in a gruesome mystery.
Gray James is not able to get over the death of his son. He is struggling with maintain his facade and that was when the murders starts.
The emotions of the lead character as he tries to sort it out and focus on the case are very beautifully brought out. The plot is interesting and has enough twists and turns to keep it guessing till the very end.
Interesting read.
Profile Image for Jeannine.
663 reviews5 followers
February 1, 2019
Chief Inspector Gray James, of the Montreal Police force, is dealing with the death of his young son, an injury to his hand, the loss of his wife, a gruesome murder case and a boss that is trying to kill him. A good plot with some nice twists and lots of suspects. The back story of his son's death is dragged out through 80% of the book before you find out what happened. Since this is the major cause of the psychological angst of the main character, I find this technique annoying and I don't think it adds to the suspense of the main plot. But that is a personal insight and might not bother most readers.
Profile Image for Pat.
Author 19 books5 followers
March 7, 2019
A looooot of characters whose every move seems to be psychoanalyzed. A looooot of details that it's not clear are important. Characters are moody, moody, moody, to the point of irritation, and the author appears to think I want to know every psychological quirk of everybody. Multiple points of view for no evident reason.

Perhaps the book doesn't work for me because it's genre: you got a shocking crime scene, trim out the in-depth psychology of the detective looking at it--or make it clearer why I need to know all this stuff. And why I need to read multiple points of view. I can appreciate that Gray's personal tragedy shouldn't be slopped onto the page right away, but the fact that every single detail of life seems to remind him of it and it's kept mysterious as long as it is (I bailed before the secret was revealed) makes for a truly irritating read.

DNF'd because life's too short.
17 reviews
September 27, 2019
His hand in the storm.

I found this book very hard work. There is so much unnecessary descriptions over everything, using 40 words were 5 will do. Always using the dictionaries longest words, where a the normal word would be adequate. By the time you had finished reading the overdone descriptions , of the weather, how the gardens and the houses looked ect, you had forgotten, the reasons why Grey the defective or the other characters had said, done ,gone, ect. And a quick re-read was necessary to catch up again. A very long and drawn out book, so much so I have up half way through. I like descriptors to help with the story, to be able to feel the book, but it was over excessive and made the story line second best . I give the story 1 star rating for its over use but sorry this book is not for me.
Profile Image for Darren.
1,677 reviews29 followers
January 6, 2019
I got this as a e book from Net Galley. I enjoyed reading it. It had a good story to it. It would make a good movie. I liked the variety of characters in it. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
Profile Image for Ritu Sethi.
Author 4 books50 followers
February 10, 2019
I wrote this book while living in Montreal and enjoyed every minute of it. The newly-constructed condo I was renting (in previously industrial Griffintown which is now trendy and chic) had a big and beautiful chalet overlooking the city. From that view, I could see the St. Lawrence, Mt. Royal, and the outdoor adjacent saltwater pool on the deck (which I used daily). No one bothered me there all day, and I wrote about CI Gray James. I set the tech startup (in the book) in this neighborhood. I wish now I'd included the fantastic cafe on the ground floor of my building -- where each morning, I'd buy a freshly baked French-style muffin and a strong large latte, and head over to the chalet for a day of writing.

The book includes my walks on the canal. My feelings about the river. My experiences in the various French bistros around the city. When Gray smells those wood-oven bagels, I might very well have been eating one. There is no place like Montreal. It isn't France, and it's unlike any other city in North America.

And murder and mayhem make it all the more interesting.

I hope readers enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here's to us meeting on the pages again and again.


77 reviews
June 9, 2020

The characters were mostly unappealing & their descriptions were unnecessarily graphic. Often, they had sweaty hands, or a sheen of sweat. From the beginning there was no clear picture of what crime(s) had been committed; they were only revealed in bits and pieces throughout the book. Overall a waste of time, but i did want to know the answers to what all was going on. Unfortunately, i still don’t have a clear picture - things jumped around too much, and never really fit together in a solid resolution.
Profile Image for Emily.
334 reviews
September 7, 2019
I wanted to like this more. The primary storyline was tight and well paced and I never guessed the twist that revealed the murderer. Gray James is a strong character.

However, there were too many subplots happening. Maybe it was just that they were brought into the story in such a disjointed manner. It was often jarring the way the author jumped from one plot to another. Either way, it created too many distractions for me to be able to really enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Ann-Marie "Cookie M.".
1,077 reviews120 followers
November 14, 2019
Are there any people left alive in Montreal? After reading this book I have my doubts. There were so many murderers running around either killing it trying to kill different people in this book I lost track.
Confusing story, unsympathetic main character with a confusing back story.
1,618 reviews13 followers
February 6, 2019
Princess Fuzzypants here: If you are in the mood for a gritty old fashioned kind of police mystery, this could be for you. Inspector Gray must deal with a corpse in a park with its face eaten away by acid. First he must figure out who is the victim and then why someone would go to such lengths to destroy the body. You might think this would be plenty to keep him busy. But when his car blows up at the scene and then he is ambushed entering a building, it is clear someone wants him dead too. He has a pretty good idea who but he is not sure why. What complicates matters it is a fellow police officer.
It turns out the original victim is involved in a cutting edge medical discovery but it seems everybody at the start up has something to hide. No one is who they present to the public...some more so than others. It is a complicated web that Gray is determined to solve, even if only to save a young boy who reminds him of his late son. The question is whether he can do this before someone turns him into a statistic.
Set in wintry Montreal, it is atmospheric and dark and very good. It is not a light read but it is satisfying.
Four purrs and two paws up.
Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,598 reviews66 followers
January 31, 2019
His Hand in the Storm by Ritu Seth
Inspector Gray Mystery #1

Chief Inspector Gray James is an intriguing character who after having suffered the loss of his son and being abandoned by his wife has focused his life on solving one murder case after another. He sculpts to keep himself grounded and pretty much lives day to day without really living or perhaps feeling...if that makes sense. It takes awhile to find out Gray’s backstory and I think there is still more to learn as the series continues. My main feeling was that Gray was like a weaver trying to untangle strands of thread before being able to weave the strands together into the fabric that would explain the murders taking place in this story. This book is for a reader who wants to be made to think and feel and care and try to figure out the mysteries that will solve the murder(s) that are taking place. This book made me feel for Gray and for Vivienne who works with him and for more than one other character that ended up with a raw deal in life. I really want to find out what happens next and hope that some good things will come to a few of the people I came to care about while reading about their lives.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I like to read the next book when it comes out? Definitely

Thank you to the author who bequeathed me a copy of her book through NetGalley – This is my honest review.

5 Stars
Profile Image for Natasa.
366 reviews21 followers
January 13, 2019
Not a big fan of mysteries and therefore not a big connoisseur, but this one was really fast paced, I had no clue what the hell was going on for the first half of the book and even then I never would have guessed the bad guys lol...but I guess that's the point anyway, I really enjoyed this one.
5 reviews
January 7, 2019

I greatly enjoyed the book it held my attention all through the book. I would recommend this book to anyone
160 reviews
April 1, 2019
I originally picked it up because of the location mentioned - Montreal - a city I lived in and miss. And because it was a 'police procedural'. Yes, the lead was a Chief Inspector - Gray James - and it led off with the finding of a body in the park by the St. Lawrence. Gray is a man with troubles, grieving over the loss of his young son (who died when they went out sailing and hit bad weather), but with more troubles looking for him in his own police department.

I enjoyed most of the story, although it seemed at times disjointed, and there appeared to be grammatical errors that seemed obvious to me (as if it had been translated French to English by someone not quite comfortable with colloquial English); then again, a lot of self published books that I've been reading seem to have grammatical errors, which cause me to stop and lose the flow of the story.

The solving of the crime resulted in uncovering a number of secrets being held which resulted in the death, but the final piece of the story is left up to the reader - if they put the pieces together.

A good read, but not as good as some recently read police procedurals/crime novels.
Profile Image for Fee (Ebook Addicts).
1,388 reviews35 followers
March 17, 2019
I took a while to get into this book despite the beginning being jammed packed with action. A faceless dead body, a car explosion and a shooting all within the first chapters! 

But then I got into the story as the body count started piling up. Gray is the lead investigator and whilst trying to solve the murders he is also trying to keep himself alive as someone has it in for him.

Gray also has some mysterious story regarding his son's death that was heavily dragged out throughout the book, a little unnecessary I felt but I'm sure it won't bother others. 
This is a book full of action with a few twists. I look forward to reading the next in the series though, once I got going with this I couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Caroline Walken.
Author 6 books92 followers
January 18, 2019

An exciting read, I kept guessing at the villain , but Ritu Sethi prkved me wrong each time !
Very enjoyable!
Profile Image for Lee.
317 reviews4 followers
February 5, 2021
Really bad

It rated two stars because I was able to finish it. 1.5 stars, really. This was so bad, I don't know where to begin. I guess with the ending - it was rushed and unsatisfying as far as the main story went, and left it with not one, but two cliffhangers. The dialogue is so bad. Side stories make no sense. Sethi tried for drama, but it was ridiculous. Descriptions of the river are laughable. Even the most corrupt police departments aren't this ridiculous - had the quality of the bad guy tying the damsel to the train tracks while he laughed and twirled his mustache. I am not the least bit interested in the sequel. I think this was a first choice - what a waste. If this were a paperback, I would toss it into the gelatinous river. Don't waste your time with this novel unless you have a penchant for purple prose and nonsensical, choppy storylines.
Profile Image for Ted Tayler.
Author 54 books246 followers
March 21, 2019

There may well have been an award-winning story hidden behind the overload of detailed description. Nothing was left to the imagination. The main protagonist was interesting, but he was surrounded by so many nondescript characters it wasn't difficult for him to shine. Far from a quick and easy read and I was perplexed by the abrupt non-ending.
January 18, 2022
Amazingly complex murder mystery.
Also took me back to great visits, sights, sounds & smells of Montreal. I have lived 70 years in Toronto.
Will be starting book 2 tomorrow night.
I will hunker down under my blankie with a glass of wine. Had a huge snow storm yesterday. Best way to spend the next couple months of Ontario winter.
Thanks for the enjoyment
Janice Bekiaris
63 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2021

This is s very good book. It has drama, suspense, intriguing and moves fast. Everyone should read this mystery book.
Profile Image for Annie.
3,394 reviews62 followers
June 5, 2019
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

His Hand In the Storm is the first book in the Inspector Gray James thriller/mystery series by Ritu Sethi. Released 22nd Dec 2018, it's 208 pages and available in ebook and paperback formats.

This is a mystery thriller set in Montreal. The main character is flawed (but handsome and irresistible to women) and working with a team in a major crimes unit. The plot is twisty and unpredictable.
There's a fair bit of rough language and graphic violence (the book starts with the discovery of a hanged corpse whose face has been eaten away by acid and the body count keeps rising from there). There's also off-scene sexual content (but nothing racy, rather the opposite). The author is quite adept with descriptive narration and dialogue. It's a very readable book, but I found it melancholy and never really developed a rapport with the main characters.

Worth noting for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. This title is available in the KU subscription along with the second book in the series.

Three and a half stars, rounded up because of the quality of the writing. I would definitely recommend this book for readers who enjoy modern thriller/procedural mysteries.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Cynthia Maddox.
Author 1 book17 followers
April 19, 2021
Good story but..

I enjoyed reading this but I kind of feel as if I was left in the dark on some things. I read dozens of mysteries a year and a half for 50 years. Rarely do I feel as if I’ve missed something in the resolution. I’m not sure where exactly and it could be that I was not well during the time I read this. So I’ll reserve judgment until I read the next book in the series. The characters are a bit flat. I can’t say I like them becauseI don’t know them. That’s frustrating because I like well rounded characters. The only character in the book who stands out is the little boy in the mental hospital. There’s more information about his life and character than there’s anybody else in the book to me. And I was pleased with the resolution of that thread. So we’ll try for another by this author before I determine whether or not I want to pursue any others.
32 reviews
July 3, 2019
I'd give this a 3 1/2 if I could. While it was interesting I felt the writing was a bit confusing. It was hard to follow the main story line with so many confusing side stories thrown in. I think the author was trying to build curiosity about the main character's past which she did, but in doing so she seemed to muddy the main plot.

The ending left me wondering how two of the more fringe characters were involved in the murders and why they had it out for James Gray. That was never really explained.

I will say the very last two pages have me wanting to read the second book, and I probably will, but I'll get it from the library as I want to be sure this is a series I want to continue with.

So, is this book worth reading? Yes. Is it the best I've ever read? No
Profile Image for Maureen Lamb.
224 reviews
November 5, 2020
This was a mystery that kept me engaged throughout. The main character, Inspector Gray James is haunted with guilt by the death of his son and the loss of his wife. One night he receives a call - a faceless corpse is found hanging by the choppy river, swirls of snow and sand rolling like tumbleweeds.
Set in Montreal, one by one, someone is killing the founders of a booming medical tech startup – propelling Gray into a downward spiral that shatters his hard-earned peace, that risks his very life, that threatens to force him to care and face what he has shunned all along: his hand in the storm.
This is a complex murder with a noble yet haunted detective, and an evocative setting, that really captures the reader.
Profile Image for Mary Cokenour.
431 reviews6 followers
March 11, 2020
This first in the series is convoluted, twists and turns in every chapter, to the point where the reader begins to think the murder victim could possibly be the murderer. Lots of characters with detailed secrets, no alibis, and lies, lies, everyone is lying.

Detective Gray is a bitter, depressed, self-punishing man, who blames himself for the death of his young son, and the abandonment by his wife. He throws himself into this work by day, and sculpting the image of his son by night.

While I personally thought the book dragged in many chapters, I could very well see this as a mystery series; possibly PBS like "Vienna Blood". It's in that genre.
Profile Image for Yvette.
263 reviews
August 12, 2019
This book is not bad at all. Inspector Gray could do with some finessing, but it's a likeable chap.
There are a couple of thing I didn't like:
- at first it bothered me that there was too much going on: the crime Gray is investigating and then everything in his personal life.
- the ending, or should I say the open ending, was a bit abrupt.
- in the kindle edition there were really many typos which became bothersome after a while, too many to gloss over. Someone should have done some proofreading and editing!
If not for these things, it could have been a 4 star book.

1,797 reviews9 followers
May 16, 2021
#1 in the Montreal police Chief Inspector Gray James mystery series.

Gray's team thinks he is very Zen like and calm in any situation while his boss thinks he is obsessive while Gray is actually fighting personal demons resulting from the deaths of his wife and son.

The case: the faceless body of man found hanging in a park - a park that has has a personal connection to Gray. The case has him dealing with cutting edge medical treatment, potential corporate mega deals and characters willing to do whatever to ensure the deal goes through.
Profile Image for Roxx Tarantini.
520 reviews4 followers
March 1, 2023
An intriguing start for a new-to-me series . . .

. . . and set in one of my favourite cities!

I don't generally like the trope of a tortured hero, but there's just something about Chief Inspector Gray James that just draws you in.

From the opening pages where the victim is introduced, to the battles with his top brass, the reader is never really sure which forces will win. And that keeps you turning pages.

Thoroughly engrossing, I'm going to enjoy binge-reading this series!
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