The Disappearance of Tejas Sharma and Other Hauntings is an anthology of a dozen ghost stories set in India, meant for an audience with a penchant for the supernatural. The steps spiraled down into the pitch darkness of the wells gaping mouth. He could see the reflection of the moon as his iris adjusted to the dim milky illumination inside. Step by step, he climbed down the well holding on to its lichen-laden, cold stone wall with his hands. He was only halfway down when he heard the sound he had dreaded the most-of ripples on water. Something meant to come out of the water. Slowly, very slowly, a figure in the shape of a woman emerged from the water...
First look at the cover and title and you are in for a treat. The title is scary, the cover image enough to give shudders in the night and the background effect is an icing on the cake. It's not for the weak hearts. The blurb doesn't talks much except for giving out the most important detail that it's an anthology and an excerpt from the book. In order to keep the suspense and thrill to the maximum the blurb will suffice the needs of the reader.
It's an anthology of 12 ghost stories in all and all of them are from India and from various places. Each story tries to entice the reader in to a confusion, dilemma and fears of what going to happen next. I'll give a brief review of each of the stories.
Story No. 1:
It's the most unusual story of the book with a very powerful ghostly presence in the form of a tree and an equally effective narration. It is not a lengthy story but has enough to stir up human emotions for quite sometime.
Story No. 2:
This is one of the stories which will leave the readers dazed and confused towards the end. It'll look all normal until the main suspense is unraveled and readers might be all confused for a moment or two after reading it. It's a very good ghost story.
Story No. 3:
It's related to a real life event and will revive the inner fears of a man towards something abandoned and put to use again. It's quite predictable and can be related easily to many other stories but it has good narration to instill fear in the reader's mind.
Story No. 4:
This story has a lot of similarity with Edgar Allan Poe's movie "The Raven" where the imagination of ghost story writer will come true and events around him will happen in the exact sequence. It might not be able to catch the reader's attention entirely. But there's a catch in the end which is enough to make it spooky.
Story No. 5:
This is one of the best story of the entire lot. The mystery behind the photograph and how it gets solved ultimately or remains unsolved is the best part about the story. It's eerie enough to work up any human being.
Story No. 6:
This story is quite confusing and it fails to generate a charm with it's plot.
Story No. 7:
One of the most unusual ones in the book. This one simply will confuse the readers with it's title and then the events happening in the story will leave you mesmerized with it's spot on ghost presence and witty narration. It's one of the longer stories in the book.
Story No. 8:
This story starts off from a typical graveyard scene but what happens while reading through it is difficult to grasp and catch easily. Readers might not be able to catch the exact idea in one go that what makes it interesting.
Story No. 9:
This story is also the title of the book and one the most confusing ones in the entire book. It might not make any sense but there's a hint of strong deliverance of the plight of a helpless man which makes it more enticing with each and every word. It leaves a question mark in the mind of the readers which is a positive sign for a ghost story.
Story No. 10:
It's a story which is based on a deja vu kind of an effect. It's confusing but it's not that powerful enough to spark a great deal of interest among the readers.
Story No. 11:
When sometimes you try to get to the bottom of a unsolved mystery it leaves frustration and helplessness in your mind. This is what this story is all about. It starts from the present and goes back into the past where it showcases the power of a ghost who is out to take revenge of their sufferings. It's horrific and it's unbelievable too.
Story No. 12:
The old time setup of the story, the myths and the legends of a haunted place and old ghost tale and an adventure from the present which goes horribly wrong and calls for the falling of a cruel and justice for the poor is the best out of all the stories. It's powerful deliverance with words and an equally gripping and gut wrenching drama and revenge is the perfect recipe and a befitting end to the anthology.
It's a perfect package to satiate the hunger pangs of a horror fanatic and enough to send chills down the spine of a new timer. It has all the depth and strength be it's narration , plot and the title to make the readers dance to it's tunes. Beware as you don't know what might creep up next in the book. Expect the unexpected with the turn of each page.
4 OUT OF 5.
P.S: I thank "Infinite Literary Authors" for providing me a review copy of the book.