Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Other Side - Book Review

The Other Side
By Faraaz Kazi & Vivek Banerjee
Review By Ila Garg

The book comprising of 13 remarkably thrilling short stories, The Other Side, has been published by Mahaveer Publishers. All the thirteen stories are very well written and deal with the various different forms of horror; all knit by a common thread ‘The fear of unknown’.

The book is adorned with a gripping cover page. It is not at all misleading. I found it innovative and screaming to be picked up and read! Indeed a simple yet captivating cover idea. The font used for the title of the book is in itself so compelling that one would pick up the book. The title is tempting too.

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
-          Stephen King

The blurb reads as, ‘A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn't human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self.

From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goose bumps and sleepless nights.

'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.

Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!’

Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banarjee, the authors of the book, team up to pen down an anthology of short stories of a different genre, mainly horror fiction mixed with brutality and/or benevolence at times. The book consists of thirteen tales that are mostly based on paranormal theme and creepy settings. All the stories are independent with a plot of their own and are not related to each other in any way. The narration and dialogues form the USP. Both of them have done a commendable job in keeping the reader interest maintained throughout and wanting for more!

Starting with an aptly written foreword by Faraaz Kazi, the book engulfs you within with a Prelude. It takes you along into this journey to ‘The Other Side’… Dare to Visit Alone?

My personal favourites: 
  • The Long Weekend
  • The Muse Comes Calling 
  • A Mother’s Love
  • Possession

Next, let’s talk about the 13 well-knit stories one by one. Each begins with a quote or some lines from some famous personalities, enhancing the feel of the approaching stories. Also, each of them has a sketch accompanying it, depicting a scene out of the story. In short, both authors have managed to put forward a nicely compiled book for the readers.

“Sometimes the hardest journeys are the ones that begin with little hope. But we need to take them anyway.”
-          Richard Finney
  1. THAT FATEFUL NIGHT: This is a very light story. Quite predictable and deals with the good side of spirits. The language is simple, engrossing, clearly a perfect story to start the anthology with. Quoting from the story, “The first thing I felt was that there was no light around. I say ‘felt’ because I was keeping an eye on the old man who was near the huge door. Lavanya wrapped an arm around mine despite her anger. I could tell she didn’t like the place.”
  2. THE LONG WEEKEND: This story is mind - blowing, I really enjoyed the chills that it gave me. The plot is serious, horror is instilled within. The language is equally serious, though engaging, and it takes you to the scene as the characters sit around the Ouija Board. Quoting from the story, “Tanya went on and on and suddenly stiffened. She whispered, “Someone is here. I feel it in my bones.” She then addressed to no one in particular. “Are you here? Have you come?” Shikha was shocked to feel the coin move, dragging the three fingers that were touching it to the YES.”  
  3. THE MAN WHO DID NOT FEAR: Very, very, predictable as I had earlier read a similar story in ‘Shades of Sin’ yet a nice story. The story was titled ‘The Bet’ by Vivek Banerjee. Although necessary twists have been made here but I felt the same essence. Quoting from the story, “Nirbhay’s heart hammered in his chest but the fear soon gave way to something inexplicable when he looked in the eyes of the girl.”
  4. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT: Two strangers, one night, a romantic setting, and yet a sense of fear lurking around! That’s because the fear of unknown never leaves us even for a moment. The climax will leave the readers in utter disbelief. Quoting from the story, “A huge wave crashed ashore, taking with it their discarded attire. It was followed by the mournful howl of a wolf that nobody heard on the deserted beach.”
  5. THE MUSE COMES CALLING: A clearly engaging story for the writers and readers. It reflects on the dark side of spirits. The paranormal is highlighted here. I am sure it will intrigue all the readers. Quoting from the story, “Suddenly, the tape stopped, a cold sensation rose in his bowels, crawling upwards making him shudder. Something seized his mind, freezing his thoughts to a succinct absorbing standstill and then the feeling dissipated just as quickly as it had taken over him.
  6. THE LADY IN THE PUB: Nice plot. Starting was gripping. Pace was well maintained too. A little more mystery could have been added though. Quoting from the story, “As I finally managed to stand up on my wobbling feet, I turned to ask Aarusha’s mother one final question. My rickety feet gave away and I fell down again. There was no one behind me.

“You see, the strangeness of my case is that now I no longer fear the invisible, I’m terrified by reality.”
-          Jean Lorrain

  1. A MOTHER’S LOVE: A story written with a deep emotional appeal. It actually made me smile and cry at the same time. It was not laced with hard core horror but on the contrary, it was just a light narrative. Simple, easy to understand language. Quoting from the story, “She cried and cried, her body shaking vigorously setting the swing in motion again and the tears trickled down her cheeks, raining on the grass where they blended with the dew. Suddenly, she felt a touch on her shoulder that broke the spell.
  2. RED BANGLES: A spine chilling story of a man, whose silent and unrequited love for a woman turns into a dangerous obsession, turning into horror! The ending left me in a gape. Even the pace is kept sooth for the readers. Quoting from the story, “Something stirred, I could see the shadowy figure lift its head and all of a sudden it turned towards me. I staggered back and fell onto the floor; the vase went crashing out of my hands. The bones in my body started chattering against each other, their jitters strangely sounded similar to the clinging of bangles.
  3. THE MARK OF THE BEAST: I liked this story. Also, from here on the anthology starts getting in its real form. Earlier than this, it was only light horror which was ruling the book, but the essential flavour begins emerging from here. This story also made me a little sad. You will know the reason once you read it. Quoting from the story, “The tent was flapping and shaking in the wind while frequent flashes of lightening shone through the fabric. She thought she saw the lightening illuminate a large shadow near their tent. She blinked and it was gone.
  4. THE MYSTERY LAKE: A history repeats itself kind of story! It gets slightly boring, I almost browsed through it. Otherwise it was a good narration. Quoting from the story, “Vikram had already discovered a few skulls and a bone on the edge of the lake above the black coloured rocks and the team was clustering around them, jabbering excitedly.”
  5. POSSESSION: This left me in utter shock. I was tongue - tied and out rightly appalled by its plot and narration. I had goose bumps by the time I reached the end. A well written story of demonic spirits and is as gripping as The Exorcist or the likes of it. Quoting from the story, “She would see shadows following her whenever she used to go upstairs. Once she could swear she had seen the table move on its own in the kids’ room.
  6. UNFULFILLED DESIRES: An investigatory tale to help the ghost of a girl who is believed to have committed suicide. A marvel work that keeps you hooked till the end and you journey with the doctor to unveil the finer details. Quoting from the story, “The first thing that his senses took in was the complete absence of any kind of noise. A shroud of silence covered the area. Forget the people; Rajiv could not make out the presence of any bird or insects. He could not spot even a stray dog around.
  7. DREAM GIRL: A perfect ending for this anthology comes in the form of this story! A creepy story about a young man who collects beautiful body pieces of women to create his own dream girl. A story that makes you cringe and angry. It aggravates your senses! Quoting from the story, “I cast an appreciative glance at my creation, making my heart brim with joy. Unlike other men, I start admiring a woman’s body from below.

“No, I’m not a dream; I’m your worst nightmare.”
-          C.T. Todd

The authors have played well with the plotline for some of the short stories – they start on a theme that makes the story seem like the “same old’ ghost story” but then as you read the last page, a sudden twist breaks the reverie. This is quite good since the stories come out to be a witty combination of the expected as well as the unexpected. While for some stories this element of surprise in the end is their only redeeming point, for others the plotline just didn’t seem to work. The good part was since it was a collection of short stories, we can always move on to the next one within a few pages even if the previous one disappoints. The best and most innovative thing I found in this book is the prelude and epilogue... where the authors themselves become the characters. Overall, it qualifies as a nice anthology especially for the readers who enjoy such creepy stuff and tales of the paranormal world!

Rating: 3.5/5

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This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read such a nice book!


  1. Great cover as u told. I will try to get hold of a copy.

    1. You will surely be mesmerized by the cover once you hold it in your hands :)