Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: 'Yoga for Detectives' by A.E. Prero

Texas author A.E. Prero, born in New York, ha seen many parts of the world and the changes that have occurred form the mid 20th century to the present. She lived in Haight Ashbury as a teenager, went to Woodstock in the summer of '69 and ‘earned her creds knocking around the Bay Area, LA and Sonoma’ before attending school in Madison, Wisconsin. She subsequently moved to Israel with her family, did some marriage counseling with her Master's degree in clinical social work, taught aerobics and hip-hop, opened a public relations firm and commuted between Jerusalem, New York and Texas for fifteen years. She now teaches yoga and meditation to groups, couples and small children. Her debut novel was YOGA FOR DECTECTIVE: LESSON ONE. Now her second novel continues that theme with YOGA FOR DETECTIVES INTERCONNECTED.

For those who have yet to enjoy AE’s fist book, he second novel uses the same character leads and continues the series. As a brief reminder of Book 1, ‘Abby Frankel leaves her home in New York City after high school to get away from her society stepmother. After a brief time in San Francisco, she crosses the country back to the East. At The Roaring Lion Meditation Center she takes on the name Jaya and becomes the senior yoga instructor. Her beloved guru dies a decade later, leaving her lover, Narayan, to take over the center in his place. To Jaya he sends a cryptic note with her inheritance. Following the breadcrumbs he's left in the form of Zen koans and quotes from The Buddha, she tries to fathom his intentions for her. Mystery surrounds not only his bequest but the lives of her new acquaintances. Yoga, Hindu legend and Buddhist philosophy create the background for Jaya's path and that of the colorful characters who come into her life.’

Now the new book follows yoga and meditation master, Jaya Frankel, to India where she races against the clock to save herself and others from a shadowy menace. Over the span of two weeks, Miguel, a young Peruvian, goes missing from his home in Lima, Jaya is captured and tortured by those responsible and an octogenarian and his housekeeper are murdered. Following clues to India and Spain, pursued by shadowy figures, Jaya and her friends engage Eastern philosophy and the practice of yoga to guide them.

The writing is direct, infused with both humor and spirituality and adds mystery to this fascinating mélange of Easter and Western culture. A sample of her dialogue – ‘It was the profound silence surrounding her when she entered the meditation hall that finally calmed her down. Twenty minutes before, Jaya Frankel had totally lost it. The last time she’d yelled like that was twelve years ago, when she was 17, and it had been her stepmother, Sarah, who had caused her to come unglued then, just like today. She pulled a purple meditation cushion from one of the cubbyholes along the length of the hall and sank down onto it with a long sigh. Sunlight streamed in through windows at the front of the large, parquet-floored space. She twirled her long, auburn hair around her fingers, gazing, unseeing, out the window. Ansui, the older man sent to the Manhattan meditation center by Jaya’s deceased guru, Brahmacharya Das, entered the room silently, his feet bare. A tall man, there was an elegance to his orange monk’s robes, his erect bearing and his reticent manner. “You had a call while you were out,” he said. Jaya blinked twice and turned in his direction. “What did you say?” “Your friend, Maria, from Ira’s office, called you. You left the law office in such a huff that she didn’t have a chance to talk to you. She’s coming by. From what she said, I gather that the conversation with your stepmother didn’t go well.” Jaya snorted, and shook her head.’

Go with the flow of this excellent book and with the thought this may be a continuing series, do read Book 1. Grady Harp, October 17

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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