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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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The Story '
Maya is a young widow whose first husband had died under mysterious circumstances. She works as a biology teacher and is very dedicated to her profession. Her mother had struggled to bring her and her sister up and she never forgets the past. Then Maya meets Bhaskar, the art teacher. Initially she is revolted by his overall personality just like her other colleagues.
But then, circumstances forces her to work with him and Maya is slowly drawn towards him and soon starts finding many of his quirks to be an attractive quality in him.
'As they grow closer, she alienates her friends and family and then one day against her family’s wishes she marries him and her journey towards an unknown destination begins. Her first shock comes when she sees where Bhaskar lives followed by what he eats and lastly – the inner iron man in him, the one who protects her from every lecher on the roadside and their roving eyes. But who will save her from Bhaskar once she comes to know about his true identity?
The Layers. ..
The story unfolds in many layers. Though I would say that most of them were predictable, yet when it happens you are awed by it. For instance I knew why the heart was stolen and who stole it - yet when it occurred, the feeling of disgust is too profound.
,Bhaskar is portrayed, to the readers, from the beginning as what he actually is. Mr.D’Silva had never hidden the fact of what Bhaskar is capable of doing. But threads that connect him to Maya has been woven very intrinsically around his actions. Why he did, what he did and what was the reason for him to choose this path in life are the revelations here. It might be only me, but as a reader, there are moments when you almost feel sorry for him.
“A rat came precariously close to his foot. Undaunted, the little creature sniffed away at the almost wizened skin of the man’s foot.”
Neil D’Silva can never be called a shy author after his debut novel. Every scene is graphically ‘designed’ and that makes the visualization unique. The rashes, the carcasses, the rodents and worse of all- the stench. Every word targeting the different senses. There were times I had to put down the book for the gory details were too much for me as a reader.
I did get a whiff of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Just a whiff. Though one cannot say that the story is similar in any aspect yet the fear of a new bride in discovering things about her husband strikes the same eerie chord. Maya is not a virgin when she enters this marriage yet she embarks on a journey of sexuality, discovery and most of all alienation from her loved ones. Her loneliness gets to you after some time. There were moments when I wanted to shake her, to make her see that she is slowly enclosing herself in a cocoon misery. I could see it as a bystander. Could she not do the same? But then love is blind and when her colleague did try to tell her …..
Well researched. ..
This novel touches many aspects where a lot of research much have gone into. From the Aghori culture to cannibalism. In fact, I learned about the existence of Gore magazine, thanks to the author. In the recent years, I had read a few books on the Aghori culture where their customs and traditions had either been belittled or they are shown as monsters. Niel D’Silva has explained every custom in relation to their beliefs. They are not killers but scavengers. Why? That shows some deep research on the Author’s part.
Then the scene where Maya is investigating with Akhram.
“…..he managed to drop them one after the another, allowing one foot to bear the brunt of the fall and then the other.”
'Such minute details makes this a very [pleasant] interesting read.
No doubt this is a dark book and not meant for the faint hearted. If you loved the series of the movie Evil Death – you will love this book.
Check out the reasoning behind the 4 stars here ..tbcblogtours.com/review-blog/review-mayas-new-husband-by-neil-dsilva
The perfect book for people who love horror and for those who have never tried this genre: A Must try.
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Although I wasn't completely convinced with how Maya fell for Bhaskar, I understand that uncertainty and ambiguity was needed for the plot. Bhaskar's degeneration into madness was absolutely brilliant- almost Stephen King like in its execution. And that epilogue, I sure did not see that coming.
That said, there were a couple of things that I felt could be improved. One was a grammatical error where Anuradha is interrogating Bhaskar, she asks him when he came to Mumbai. There's a tense error there, a typo that got overlooked I think. The other thing that I had an issue with was the sudden change in points of view in the middle of a chapter segment. For example when the killer snags that teenaged boy from the road. The segment started with the killer's POV and suddenly, without any warning, switched to the victim's POV. It can be a little jarring.
That said, I believe this was one of the best books I've read in a while. I closed the book feeling thoroughly satisfied and in awe of your writing prowess. Looking forward to reading more of your work.
So, the bad first. It's not a perfect book. I'm not really sure if the issues are cultural or linguistic differences, which makes it a bit difficult. I did talk to D'Silva about language and he explained to me that they speak English differently there. Which, I totally believe because everywhere that English is spoken, it's spoken differently. But, the result is that the writing feels clunky at times. Like, I feel like he should use a pronoun and he uses the proper noun instead. There are also several moments of repetition, being told the same thing we just learned, several times.
It also seems like the story starts a bit too early. We're a third of the way through the book before they even like each other.
More than once, I thought the characters should really just call the police, but then I had to remind myself that I have no idea what the police are like there. So, maybe that's just not a thing they do.
But, the good is good. There are some incredibly creepy scenes. The same language that makes some scenes seem awkward and strange also weaves together some truly frightening descriptions. I loved reading about the Aghori and the traditions of the faith.
The characters are engaging. It was really great to read a book with a mostly female cast that were all likable. They gossiped, talked about sex, loved each other, and felt real. Even when they fell apart, it seemed like an authentic emotional event, not something that was happening because they were weak or female.
I would definitely recommend this book, though I would let the reader know about my issues. I had a hard time deciding between 3 or 4 stars, but, in the end, chose to give the author the benefit of the doubt.
*I was given a free copy of the book to review.