Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: The Disappearance of Tejas SharmA and Other Hauntings by Manish Mahajan



Book: The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma…and Other Hauntings

Author: Manish Mahajan

No. of Pages: 85

Genre: Horror, Fiction

Publisher: Cinnamon Teal Publishing


I received this book as part of a book review program at The Tales Pensieve. When the opportunity came up, I was already waiting for another collection of horror stories up for review in Dec. I have read very little of horror genre – although a lot of mystery. I am not sure if I will want to read a horror novel but I am definitely game for short stories!!!

Although I knew that the book was only 85 pages, but when the book arrived, I realized how thin an 85-page book is. I had almost forgotten that. Having read novel ranging from 200 to 600 pages and occasionally even longer, holding a 85 page book in hand to read stories is different.   

Another pleasant surprise was the 'foreword' of the book … it was written by someone I personally know. Rohit Gore (author of 4 book – Circle of Tree, Focus Sam, The Guardian Angels and The Darker Dawn) is someone I have worked with in my previous job – we were part of the same team. It was kind of nice to see a known name in the book.

So now, let's come to the book. The book has a longish title so I will stick to 'DTS'. It has 12 nice eerie short stories and each one has its own style and backdrop. The stories range from modern ages to times of the British in India (about 100-150 years ago). The plot ranges from ghostly trees to dead people to ancient spirits to plain scary people, from haunted houses to haunted railway stations, from strange photographs to stranger amusement parks (which wont amuse).

 Manish has used the typical Indian horror stereotypes in his stories in a nice manner. There is a nice quality to the stories which I couldn't really put my finger on but enjoyed nevertheless. Manish has even managed to inject some nice humor in the 'horror' stories.

I have always been impressed by short stories where the author has the challenge of building up a plot and surprising you in the end. Often the end surprises you by not doing so. Manish Sharma has done the job pretty well. He has been able to weave stories in a manner which hold your attention and grip you.  

Incidentally, the story which appears in the title of the book 'The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma' was although an interesting one but not really the best of the lot (read scary). There are others which are better. Dunno why he chose to name the book after that story.

My personal favorite is 'Her Unkempt Promise' where the short stories of an author begin to come true. My other favorite is '13, Church Street' because it has the ghosts with the touch of humor when it is least expected.

Another thing was the cover design. In itself, the cover design was really good. But after reading the book, I was unable to connect the cover to any of the stories. Wish they would have designed a cover to 'cover' at least one or some of the stories together. It would have been worth the effort.

It is just 12 stories spanning 70 off pages so if you are looking for around two hours worth of nice reading, pick this one up. Although I did find the price point of 250 bucks pretty high for 70 pages of reading joy

The author advises the reader to read the stories in the solitude of the night. I did that and it only enhanced the experience as every little sound coming from the window not only got amplified by the state of my mind but also made me pause and pay attention. Something I might have never done before. Do it at your own risk (of gaining more 'pleasure' out of the book).

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve

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