Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Book Review: ABCs of Horror by Anmol Rawat

When a fellow writer whose style of writing you respect, publishes a book in a genre you don’t fancy much, you let curiosity get the better of you.

This is what I did, when Anmol Rawat came up with his book, ABCs of Horror. I have never been a fan of horror…it quite gives me the creeps. But this book did not disappoint me at all. 

The Concept

If you look closely at the title, it is a giveaway to what the reader can expect from the book. The book is a terrifying collection of 26 horror thrillers, and the titles of the stories are alphabetic. So, the stories begin with Atheist (A) and go up till Zapped In (Z). The stories come from the author’s participation in an A to Z Writing Challenge in April, 2017 where he penned blog posts throughout the month, on all the letters of the English alphabet.
The author has explored almost all kinds of horror imaginable, from bloody tribal rituals and voodoo to vengeful spirits and toys coming alive to witchcraft and sorcery. The themes are as diverse as they are inter related. This serves as a huge plus point to bring in continued doses of drama and suspense in good measure and to keep the reader hooked till the very end.

The USP

There are a lot of factors that advocate picking up this book:

1.      As I said before, the diversity of the tales is enough to make the book an enjoyable read.

2.      The brevity of the stories is another factor that helps keep the reader interested, story after story. The language used is simple and can be easily understood by even the most casual readers.

3.      What enhances the scare factor is the unexpected twists in the stories. The setting of the stories points readers in one direction, and the ending brilliantly maneuvers them into a different place altogether. Some stories leave you asking yourself, “Damn! How could I have missed that!” The twists are simple, yet cleverly done.

The Result

I finished the book in two sittings, flat. It took me a while to adjust to the gore in some stories, but the pace of the narration, and the rapid unfolding of action kept me going, ceaselessly. That is something, coming from someone who doesn’t enjoy horror, ordinarily.

The spook factor may not be too pronounced when you’re reading this one in the light of the day. But, when you wake up at night for a glass of water after reading, and feel the haunting presence of the devil himself, remember- You had been warned.

The book has some gory scenes and profane language. However, in my personal opinion, it is not really offensive. So, the author has balanced the necessary evils (pun intended) quite well.
I’ll name some of my favourite stories here- Bloody Mary, because of the way it ends; Killer Doll, as it had me fooled, and Nightmare, because it cooked the traditional horror recipe to perfection. This, by no means, implies that the other stories aren’t good enough. You may find new favourites as you explore the realm of terror and darkness so well crafted in this book.

My verdict

I’d rate the book at 8 out of 10. I deduct two points because of

1.      Minor (and I mean very minor) grammatical/editing errors. But, you needn’t worry about them, unless you’re a Grammar Nazi like me. The flow of the book is pretty engrossing, so you may not even notice them at all. But, I couldn’t help it.

2.      The fact that there were just 26 stories in the book, when I wanted it to have at least that many more. J

So, I recommend horror fans to definitely pick this book up. And, I recommend it to those looking for something easy and engrossing to read on a journey, and also to those who want to experiment with this genre for the first time. The book deserves applause for its strong presentation and stronger content. And, the author deserves some for his hard work, his fabulous imagination and his on point narration.

And, you can check out the author’s profile, here: http://www.anmolrawat.com/