Book Title: Maya's New Husband
Author: Neil D'Silva
Publisher: Kindle Edition
About the Author: Neil D'Silva is a teacher by profession who was bitten by the writing bug, quite early in life. Born and brought up in Mumbai he derives inspiration from the metro's idiosyncrasies. The author says " I tried to create a blend here, a blend of my penchant for writing and my astute sense of observation of the things that go around me, and weave my yarns."
Neil D'Silva has also published a small collection of short stories titled, 'The Evil Eye and The Charm'.
Think Indian horror thriller and what instantaneously comes to mind are a slew of ghost stories, haunted places and such other clichés. When I read the title of the book, I inadvertently began imagining a murdered newly- wed bride, draped in a red saree ready to haunt the daylights out of me. Even the hand-illustrated book cover said so! If it wasn't for Neil D'Silva's previous collection of short stories- The Evil Eye and The Charm, that had impressed me through the roof, I probably wouldn't have ventured to read this novel. I am extremely thankful to the author for writing such a fantastic book and giving my interest in Indian Horror Thriller tales a 360 Degrees turn around. I couldn't help gushing through a Facebook status update-
"Just cannot put this thing down until I finish it. Horrible, terrible and scarily delicious!
— reading Maya's New Husband. "
What starts out as a simple story of a school teacher called Maya turns into a tale of gore within no time and in the most unexpected way. The reader journeys along with Maya through a plethora of changing emotions and one cannot help but feel intrigued by this pivotal character Bhaskar Sadachari who's also employed as a drawing teacher at the same school where Maya is the head of the Biology department. I feel Neil D'Silva's story telling was so flawless and beautiful that anything I say will only be a spoiler. Horror Thriller lovers would read and understand what a captivating book this is, top to toe.
There's so much attention to detail, in the description of scenes and characters, that I could totally visualise the incident playing out. At many points I even felt the stench being spoken of, suffusing my nostrils. Even the titles given to each new chapter were thoughtfully crafted- 'Kidney Beans on Toast','Placed like a pastry', 'Thigh Food'. I found it very amusing that the words chosen had a tongue-in-cheek humor in them, pointed at tickling the taste-buds of another kind!
There's also a spidery 'tattoo of death' included at the top of the chapters that intrigued me to bits. Reading about it as the book progressed, had my stomach churning.
The story shifts into top gear in the second half of the book and I found it absolutely unputdownable. The author has obviously undertaken a whole lot of research while writing this book.The seamless descriptions, twists in the story and the solid foundation of facts given to the fiction showcases the author's understanding of the lifestyle of the Aghori Sadhus. The most enjoyable fact about this book was that it keeps the reader on the edge of the seat and intelligently engaged. There's gore, there are irksome details, there are many explicitly described sexual encounters too that all came together to successfully create a growing feeling of fear in my heart, as I read it. Not a single element out of place or forced into the story for the sake of generating interest. Everything has been written with a great sense of timing and finesse. I could actually feel my mouth going dry but I was not reaching out for the bottle of water because no horror story had ever been able to get me hooked and thrilled all at the same time, like this book did.
Like I said, deliciously scary, scarily delicious, horrible, terrible book that will remain with me for quite a while. Maya's New Husband is MNF- My New Favourite!