Sunday Times Top Crime Books of the Year 2022
“Compelling and Compassionate”
The Guardian Top Crime Books of the Year 2022
“Ajay Chowdhury and Ian Rankin are among the authors of this year’s standout novels”
The gripping new novel from the award-winning author of the Sunday Times Book of the Month, THE WAITER.
Kamil Rahman is a cook in a Brick Lane restaurant. But he used to be a detective back in Kolkata. And somehow trouble still knows how to find him.
When a young woman Kamil knows is murdered the police are convinced her boyfriend is the culprit. Kamil isn’t so sure and feels he has no choice but to start his own investigation. Meanwhile, his friend and restaurant manager, Anjoli, is troubled by a rise in the number of homeless deaths in their local area.
The cases seem unrelated and as the duo dig deeper, discovering tentacles that stretch from Lahore to London, they find themselves in grave danger.
Together they take on the indifference of the authorities to the homeless and the casual racism that pervades the investigation of killings of Muslims – all while a supremely intelligent murderer is manipulating events to stay several steps ahead of them.
Reviews of The Cook
Review in The Literary Review
Sunday Times Review
Vicky H, Reviewer : 5 Stars
|Delighted to be back with this dynamic duo and their sleuthing ways. For a while that duo becomes a trio while they try to solve a trio of crimes that all collide right on their doorstep. I really enjoy watching these characters as they navigate some of the bigger decisions in life at the same time as using their skills and talents to make the world a better place. This book is also a wonderful melting pot of cultures on top of everything else. Hopefully there will be several more books in this series and thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read an advance copy of this one.|
Elaine T, Reviewer : 4 Stars
|I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage for an advance copy of The Cook, the second novel to feature Kamil Rahman, a former detective inspector with the Kolkata police turned cook in an Indian restaurant in Brick Lane, London. When Kamil finds Salma’s murdered body, not long after he talked to her, and her boyfriend comes under suspicion he is determined to investigate and get justice for her. At the same time his friend Anjoli is getting worried about the number of homeless people dying and wants Kamil to investigate the deaths as potential murder. I thoroughly enjoyed The Cook, which has an absorbing plot, likeable characters and an interesting background with different cultures and the issue of homelessness. The novel is mostly told from Kamil’s first person point of view and this works really well as he helps the reader navigate situations that may be outside their personal experience. I know nothing about London, homelessness or faith, so his commentary was helpful in acclimatising me to his world, which I did easily. He is a lovely man with a well judged line in light humour and the nous to see himself clearly. He has regrets about no longer being a police detective, but his attachment to Anjoli makes him want to continue working in her family’s restaurant. He is, as you might guess, a romantic dreamer and even a new girlfriend can’t destroy his attachment to Anjoli. She’s the one who is fiercely independent and supplies the one liners. The plot is interesting. The two strands divide Kamil as he is much more interested in Selma’s murder and has little to go on in the homeless deaths, but then, Anjoli. The plot seems well put together, switching between the two and throwing in a few twists that muddy the waters in ways the reader couldn’t expect. The solution is a masterclass in misdirection and I loved it. Although the novel deals with some serious issues the tone is light enough to reinforce them without weighing it down. I think this is a special skill. The Cook is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.|
Edith S, Media : 4 Stars
|Ajay Chowdhury’s upcoming “The Cook” was made available to me as a proof, courtesy of PRH UK, and turned out to be a much needed, wonderfully entertaining cozy crime read last week while nursing a cold. I had read the first book “The Waiter” and took a shine to the main protagonist, Kamil Rahman, a former Kolkata police detective who had to make an involuntary new start in London as a waiter in an Indian/Pakistani restaurant while solving a murder on the side in his new hometown. “The Cook” is just as refreshing and entertaining. Set in the Indian/Pakistani community and restaurant around Brick Lane, Kamil has been promoted to cook in his friend Anjali’s restaurant and has a new romance lined up, Naila, who has come to London to study nursing from Lahore fleeing her suffocating family. When one of their mutual friends, Salma, is found strangled, the blame falls on her boyfriend but Kamil’s detective instincts tell him something does not quite match. I will not say much more but if you are in the mood for a slightly different mystery with an unusual detective team, Chowdhury’s two books make a great read. “The Waiter “had a better plot I thought but “The Cook” makes your mouth water when Kamil describes the Indian meals he is cooking.|
Andrea B, Reviewer : 5 Stars
|Never read this author before. Didn’t think this book was to me before I started it. I loved it. Come on author get your head down I need another !|
Aria H, Reviewer : 4 Stars
|I really enjoyed this book it was well written with well developed characters and a good storyline that was riveting from start to finish. i couldnt put it down, I really enjoyed it.|
IAIN M, Reviewer : 5 Stars
|Having read The Waiter, I certainly wasn’t going to let this one pass me by. I enjoyed The Waiter, as it offered something different in crime fiction, different characters in totally different surroundings and this was simply a continuation.. To be honest, I cannot wait for book three. Is Ajay going to go for The Detective? Who knows? If you haven’t read The Waiter, look it out, then follow on with this one. You won’t be disappointed. Recommend.|
Surjit P, Reviewer : 5 Stars
|My thoughts about Ajay Chowdhury’s The Cook the story is very well-crafted, very cleverly written with unpredictable intelligent and shocking twists and surprises. It is completely unputdownable from the front cover to the back one. The author has maintained a fixed kind of pattern for storytelling. The story and suspense chug ahead with amazing twists and turns, keeping the predictability at bay. Ajay Chowdhury’s The Cook will keep you at the edge of your seat till the end. Writer Ajay Chowdhury yet again delivers an outstanding follow up to the excellent The Waiter, Ajay Chowdhury’s The Cook’s story begins with when a young woman Kamil knows is murdered the police are convinced her boyfriend is the culprit. Kamil isn’t so sure and feels he has no choice but to start his own investigation. Meanwhile, his friend and restaurant manager, Anjoli, is troubled by a rise in the number of homeless deaths in their local area. The cases seem unrelated and as the duo dig deeper, discovering tentacles that stretch from Lahore to London, they find themselves in grave danger. Together they take on the indifference of the authorities to the homeless and the casual racism that pervades the investigation of killings of Muslims – all while a supremely intelligent murderer is manipulating events to stay several steps ahead of them. Ajay Chowdhury’s The Cook Is a modern suspense drama with a relatable plot and characters. The narrative is fast-paced and will keep you on the edge the entire time. I would like to say thank you to Author Ajay Chowdhury, Publishers Vintage Books and Netgally for kindly letting me read and review this spectacular thriller, I’ve enjoyed reading. The Cook is already one of my favourite thriller’s of this year. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐??????????|