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The Talking Dead by Chandrima Das

Price: Rs. 49 INR(Kindle edition)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/3e1UoAa

“Do you think people stop talking to you once they are dead?”
Four terrifying stories drawn from real-life events. Four gripping tales straight from the supernatural heart of India. Four surreal stories that will twist their way into your nightmares.
A suicide room in an old hostel…
A bizarre prank involving human parts…
A long lonely walk at midnight…
An icy cold welcome to a brand new city…
Hold on to your seats and get ready for a ride to the strange, dark edges of reality. Let’s hope that you make it back. After all, a book is one of the oldest ways for the dead to talk to the living.

My take on the book:

The Talking Dead is a collection of four short stories from the horror genre. 

Deja vu — young students in a college hostel are afraid to venture out late in the night into a hostel wing as it is believed to be haunted, haunted by the student who lost her life due to seniors’ ragging. A night before their exams, two of the girls hear a woman screaming in the middle of the night which scares them out of their wits. As they spend their night feeling terrible, Reema finds the next day that the screams came from a college mate who had been troubled by a ghost for more than five years. Is it possible for the dead to be seen by the living?

Middle Finger — Dhanao dares Aman to find a strange item, hidden under a cloth in one of their hostel rooms; a rotting middle finger! Dhanao mentions the finger has a legacy of thirty years as it was found hanging in a fence in a secret place behind the hostel, a place not frequented. Can a severed finger from more than three decades stay in place as a witness to a gore incident?

Play time — Students going for an evening walk in the college campus hear a voice whispering near their ears to ‘Go back’; a force which is threatening and pushing them. The experience repeats not for one person but for couple of others as well who go near the Howrah Bridge replica in the campus. One of them even captures a merry-go-round moving on its own, continuously. Does spirits really exist or it is a figment of our imagination?

Room for Two — A young consultant who recently got job in New York moves to an Airbnb to suit her budget. On most days she is dead tired to cook or eat or spend time in her room. But on days when she switches on the TV in her room, the channel mysteriously keeps changing to a specific sports channel and the TV remote wouldn’t listen to her. On such days, in the middle of the night, all lights in her room shine their brightest while the room gets freezing. Is the young lady hallucinating or the room has an invisible second occupant?

As the blurb suggests, all four stories are horror stories, however, the first and third ones have some traces of horror. The second story of the middle finger could have been better as it is spooky only to a certain extent and disappoints when compared to the other three. Also, the fourth one is left a bit open ended without revealing the complete suspense.

The horror element is not very scary and could have been more intense. That said, all four stories are gripping, entertaining and will keep the reader asking for me. If read as short stories and not as horror stories, they are brilliant. The cover adds to the intrigue of the blurb and title. The background for each of the story and the few characters used for each story by the author are impressive. The short messages left by the author at the end of each story with respect to extra natural elements and their interpretation by human minds are interesting. Pick this one for interesting short stories and don’t expect spine chilling horror though!

My rating: