Title: The Blogchatter Book Of Thrillers
Authors: Rehana Sultana, Anuradha Shetty, Roma Gupta Sinha, Kajal Kapur, Deepti Menon, Chinmayee Sahu, Huma Masood, Nirmiti Narain, Tarang Sinha, Anushree Saha, Dr Alpana Das Sharma, Rahul Vishnoi, Harshita Nanda, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Suchita Agarwal
Page Count: 111
What goes on in the minds of people on the threshold of doing something drastic? A woman convinced there’s a presence at her window that only she can see; a collector who has an unusual interest in fingerprints of her victims; an unsettled man blaming everything on his wife; a low-caste child trying to make sense of India’s freedom; a haunted guest house room and the ghost that goes away; a reclusive and aggressive teenager who loves lizards—the stories explore times long ago, realms we never knew existed, the deep recesses of the human mind, and fears that become aggressions.
The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers features 15 thrilling stories from Blogchatter’s community writers—these tales will chill, scare and stay in your head and heart. Featured Authors: Rehana Sultana, Anuradha Shetty, Roma Gupta Sinha, Kajal Kapur, Deepti Menon, Chinmayee Sahu, Huma Masood, Nirmiti Narain, Tarang Sinha, Anushree Saha, Dr Alpna Das Sharma, Rahul Vishnoi, Harshita Nanda, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Suchita Agarwal.
I’ve had limited exposure to thrillers, mostly centring on either ghostly tales or crime mysteries. Therefore, when I began this book, I anticipated a similar theme. However, I was astounded by the diverse range it presented. Each story was distinctly unique, revealing that thrillers are capable of eliciting a myriad of nuanced emotions: fear, disgust, longing, guilt, anxiety, dread, paranoia, revenge, tension, and more. It’s this rich blend of emotions that contributes to the success of this anthology, complemented by the array of writing styles found within its pages.
Although the stories vary significantly in their settings, a recurrent thread of social injustices and biases emerges in most of them. This common theme elevates the thrillers, leaving readers with thought-provoking elements to contemplate.
The writing style is concise and fast-paced, rendering it an excellent choice for a quick read. However, due to the story’s brevity, some narratives could benefit from additional background stories or more detailed character sketches. Nevertheless, this limitation can also be viewed as a positive, sparking curiosity and encouraging readers to immerse themselves in their own imaginings, pondering the potential backstories of the characters.
Well, that said, here are brief reflections on each story and the emotions they stirred within me:
“Against My Windowpane” by Rehana Sultana delves into the profound impact on a doctor who grapples with psychological distress after losing a patient due to placental abruption. This narrative prompted contemplation about the often-overlooked mental trauma that physicians might endure while handling various patient diagnoses regularly.
“The Last Rasam” by Anuradha Shetty, set in pre-independent India, starkly exposes the horrors of the caste system and patriarchal oppression. The narrative reveals a mother’s harrowing decision to poison her daughter’s food to liberate her from societal evils. However, the chilling lines at the end, “You are all crazy. The truth is that there is no freedom, Raghu. There is No Freedom,” leaves an indelible, haunting impression, raising profound questions about true liberation.
Enshrouded in mystery, Roma Gupta Sinha’s “The Secrets Of Nandini Rutuja” delves into the life of a once bubbly teenage girl who turned recluse and hasn’t ventured beyond her room for the past two and a half years. This captivating tale explores the intricate bond between the girl and her caretaker, culminating in an unforeseen twist that will leave you shocked.
In Kajal Kapur’s “Memory’s Missing Piece,” we discover the harrowing ordeal of a young reporter who faces an attack while covering the clashes outside Jamia Milia Islamia in Delhi. What intensifies the horror is the enigmatic circumstances surrounding her pregnancy during her hospital treatment. What struck me most about this story was its conclusion—a subtle infusion of love and hope emerging amidst life’s relentless cruelty.
“What Tomorrow Holds” by Deepti Menon narrates the story of a foster child seeking revenge, finding solace in the love offered by an outsider, all while enduring mistreatment from her own family. What struck me about the story was its writing, particularly the concluding line that lingers hauntingly in one’s mind.
Chinmayee Sahu’s “The Encounter” cleverly disguises itself as a typical encounter episode, only to surprise and shock readers with its unpredictable twists. It compels you to eagerly turn back the pages for a re-read, showcasing the depth of its crafty storytelling.
“Fragments Of Yesterday” by Huma Masood follows the journey of a young woman who survives a fatal accident and endeavors to reclaim her lost memories. While the uncertainty about her past pains her, the eventual moment of realization goes beyond mere discomfort—it horrifies her.
“The Fields” by Nirmiti Narain stands out as one of my personal favorites, primarily due to its exceptional writing style. The vivid portrayal of the setting deeply immersed me in the narrative. The unexpected love story between an unconventional pair both surprised and horrified me simultaneously. The unique blend of poetic descriptions within a suspenseful horror story makes it a compelling read, compelling me to revisit this tale multiple times.
“One Night” by Tarang Sinha tugs at your heartstrings, evoking a sense of helplessness as you realize the narrator is a young, distressed girl on the brink of suicide. An unexpected intervention by a paranormal entity leaves you on edge, instilling hope. Just as a sense of positivity starts to emerge, the story concludes with a haunting revelation. This is the kind of narrative that lingers, sure to haunt your thoughts.
“The Dactyist” by Anushree Saha is undeniably the most disturbing and haunting story within this Anthology. The revelation of a psychopath among us, collecting people’s fingerprints as a macabre hobby to such extreme lengths is both unimaginable and chilling. I believe this story would have been best placed as the final entry in the Anthology. The concluding lines are so utterly terrifying that they are bound to send shivers down your spine and haunt your dreams. What better way to conclude a thriller than with such an unnerving narrative?
Dr. Alpana Das Sharma’s “Black”, true to its title, exposes the darkness of the evils faced by women in our society. However, the thrilling aspect of this story lies in how the protagonist discovers a glimmer of light within this darkness and harnesses it to liberate herself.
“A Husband’s Guide To Set A Wife Right” by Rahul Vishnoi depicts the story of an abusive husband who consistently manipulates and controls his wife. However, in a twist of karma, his actions lead to his own reckoning. This narrative is certain to evoke feelings of anger and disgust, as it uncomfortably reflects the unfortunate reality of the society in which we live.
Harshita Nanda’s “The Silver Anklet” transports readers to a world where mystery and mystical elements entwine along the banks of the Ganges. The story delves into the depth of a mother’s determination to protect her daughter. Beginning in a haunted guest room, the chilling narrative unravels a tale of revenge and betrayal as a ghost’s presence sets the stage for an intense thriller.
“What Runs In Our Blood” by Roshan Radhakrishnan is situated in the pre-Independence era, vividly portraying the horrors of the caste system. While this system’s evils persist even today, the story’s theme of seeking revenge to avenge the victims resonates deeply. It elicited a genuine emotional response, evoking a desire for justice, albeit within a hauntingly gory narrative.
Suchita Agarwal’s “Hartoli’s Duty” is situated in a supernatural and spiritual realm, depicting the story of a guardian whose sole responsibility is to transport dead people from one shore to the next. Beyond the captivating nature of this duty, the guardian’s interactions with the departed are poised to prompt introspection into his own actions. What could be more unsettling than a tale that holds a mirror to one’s deeds, compelling to examine one’s behaviours and choices?
Wrap up words
From the haunting horrors of the supernatural to the stark realities of societal injustices, these tales grip the reader, eliciting a spectrum of emotions – from fear and disgust to hope and introspection. The adept storytelling and varied writing styles showcase the depth and versatility of the contributing authors. As the anthology concludes, it leaves an indelible mark, inviting readers to reflect not only on the intricacies of each story but also on the broader human experiences they encapsulate.
But, above all, what renders it particularly special for me is that I possess a book that is the collective result of a community of bloggers. The Blogchatter community has engaged in the mutual exploration of each other’s works, offering both critique and applause, fostering a space where growth is nurtured. It represents a triumph for the community, and I am delighted to be a part of it.
Blogchatter, you consistently astound me with your words and actions, and this specific line from the introduction overwhelmed me this time: “This book isn’t just about the 15 authors who have contributed their stories but also the rest of the community who are the wind beneath their wings.” So, yes, onwards and upwards for more such anthologies!
“This review is powered by Blogchatter’s Book Review Program.”