An interesting collection of short stories of different genres, some out-of-the-box plots, gripping narration, mind-boggling twists to impress every reader. The author Rafaa Dalvi’s efforts in penning each story was prominent and his storytelling style was impressive.
Chasing Nirvana was a wonderful tale about the life and downfall of a rockstar. Characterization, narration, presentation and ending was finely handled. A gripping tale that kept me hooked till the end. Five Stars- A suspense thriller, this one was an out-of-the-box plot. The twist at the end was heartbreaking as the innocent taxi driver lost his life for no reason. I liked the characters, the plan was a well-thought one, and the author’s grip over the story is appreciable. No extra words, smooth narration, and finely executed. The Good Friend is a revenge story, quite different and comes with a lesson that it’s not right to trust anyone blindly. The author is adept in handling different kinds of plots. He managed to bring the twist in at the right time. This factor keeps the readers engaged till the end. Good one! Time To Hunt- An intriguing story of a soldier who hunted down his enemies singlehandedly. Fine detailing of the war zone made me visualize the scenes. The author maintained the suspense till the end. The MC made me connect with him, his thoughts, and the story had my complete attention. A skilled writers work indeed.
Stories like The Other Woman, On the Verge, The Masks We Hide Behind were heart-warming and inspiring while The Immortal, A Moment in Time talks about a high-tech research idea and time travel respectively. Both were engrossing and thoughtfully executed. What’s for Dinner, The Silent Ambulance and The Heart Wants What It Wants were humorous and felt like fresh air after all the serious reading. The catch lies towards the ending, so the readers can have a hearty laugh before turning the next leaf. Zodiac, Naina and The Muse, were psychological thrillers and the twists in the plots added value to the stories. The author managed to hold the suspicion till the end with minimal characters and his gripping narration. God Guides is a simple and funny story, where the innocence of a little girl was expressed beautifully. The Chosen One- I loved the smart thought behind the story. Monster House was quite a different take from the usual haunted house stories and was thus very engaging. The Anti-Social Club was another hilarious one and the title was quite apt. The list of names were funny but made sense. The poor MC topped the List of Pappu thus inviting his doom.
Rafaa Dalvi knows how to keep his readers entertained with the right kind of stories. I must say, he is an expert in incorporating twists in his tales. In his story My Girl, I didn’t realise the truth until the twist came around and showed me what was actually happening. Illusion kills; destroys. The author has portrayed it in a tricky way. Interesting plot; well-presented. The Visit and Safe House were interesting stories where the twist will take the readers by surprise. Very well composed stories and even though a few are quick reads, they were crafted skillfully and made complete sense. And then came Wrong Number that connected two strangers from different parts of the country. It had a nice message and an empathetic approach. Victim No More and Pentimento brought out the contrasting characters of two men- one, a father who abused his children and the other who adopted and embraced an orphan as his own. The stories made me wonder about the various phases and pieces of human life. Some stories are gut-wrenching; some will make you feel the warmth and smile.
The Conversation, Smoking Kills, The Switch, Hook, Line, and Sinker were yet another set of interesting stories where the author didn’t fail to exhibit his excellent writing skills. Each one was unique. His grip over the varied genres will definitely impress the readers. Take Two ended on a positive note about a couple who managed to sort their differences and was all set to welcome their baby. Quite a nice message the author sent through this story. Fortune Favours The Bold- a contrasting title to the story that said otherwise. The ending broke my heart, especially for the unborn child who’d pay the price of his/her fathers mistake. Greed kills and that’s what the author showed through this story. AURA Knows It All is both hilarious and eye-opening ‘cause it shows the boons and banes of AI. The Escapist is another gut wrenching story that brought out the harsh reality of human trafficking and the torturous life the girls live through. In his story The Eighth Sin, Rafaa Dalvi spoke of the reality that’ll make the readers ponder. The personification was well handled to make the readers think and feel. Inside The Criminal Mind- This story shook me to the core. An investigative journalist and humanitarian doctor gets intimidated by the words of a rapist he once interviewed, and victimizes his wife until she was compelled to kill him in self defense. The tension was gradually created to make the readers connect with the characters, feel the wife’s agony and get into the flow of the incidents that unfolded henceforth.
The twist at the end of the story You’ve Got Mail didn’t shock me much, though it was another child abuse story. But even with minimal dialogues, the author managed to build the tension and disclose the truth in a calm, yet tricky way. Through the story Reality Bites, the author presented another beautiful story, an inspiring one with a message to give life a second chance. Reality is indeed harsh, but we need not give up but accept it and move on. I liked Ankita’s character here, who stood by her friend and guided him towards a better tomorrow. An Exclusive Deal is a funny, yet an eye-opening story about how a restaurant manager gets conned. The witty exchange of words between the characters and the ending spiced up the story thus making it an interesting one to read. My Royal Mother Figure is all about how we can inspire others by being ourselves. A wonderful tale with a nice message on adoption and how a teacher’s life inspired her students to shed the masks and move on.
Each story was handled and executed efficiently. None of the plots were repeated thus giving every story its own space to connect with the readers. I received this book as a prize at one of the monthly writing events at Penmancy and the title lured me to read the book. I’m glad I did and I completely enjoyed reading almost all the stories. The stories made me wonder; smile at times. I connected with several characters and felt for them. A few minor typos, a few stories didn’t interest me, a few I thought didn’t get enough space, but then the rest of the stories balanced it all.
Overall, it’s a good collection of short stories and a must read. The author made sure that there’s a story for everyone. He set good examples of story writing techniques- fresh plots, fine execution, grip over the narration, characterization, lucid language, revealing the twists on time, and keeping the readers engaged till the last line. The book is unputdownable till you are done with all the stories. Grab it today! It’s worth the read.
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