Saturday, October 27, 2018

City of the Shrieking Tomb | Patrick Rogers

*Free copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Rick is a photographer who's wandered the world photographing the most beautiful mosques in the world. He's in some of the more remote parts of India trying to get to Bidar to see their mosques. Unfortunately the engine of the bus he's on literally falls out and he's stuck in the town of Humayunpur, which he's never heard of before and has little contact with the outside world. While he's there, he's warned not to go near the tomb, don't even photograph it. A demon lives there and killed the village's imam who thought himself stronger than the demon. Rick's curiosity and skepticism get the better of him and he ends up staying longer than anyone in the village thinks he should.


This book scared me. I read it late at night with mood music and definitely wasn't going to sleep any time soon. Rogers does a great job of setting up the environment and describing the world. I could visualize everything that was going on and was easily spooked as a result. The vivid nightmares, the haunting noises that woke the entire town, the blood filled stories about the tomb's history. All were really well done.

It was also one of those books that energized me because I kept wanting to reach into the book and smack some sense into the main character. He's seen the scary stuff with his own eyes! He's heard it with his own ears! And yet, he's still driven to photograph the forbidden stuff and stay in the village. He even asks "but does that mean I should leave?" YES! I get that this revolutionizes his work and interest in preserving the masques, but still.

The ending of the book, though, I found really appropriate. I'm really trying not to spoil anything here, but it was one of those "what did you expect?!" kind of endings. In some ways it was heart-breaking, I feel really bad for Rick's friend, Awaz. In other ways it was pretty predictable, if still disturbing.

Really the only thing that didn't quite fit into the book for me was Rick's encounter with Rocket Rajan. He gives a lot of needed exposition but feels so very out of place. His sudden appearance and disappearance don't help and part of me wonders if he was actually a heat induced mirage with a spirit guiding it to give Rick information.

I'll admit, I'm sensitive to the spooky stuff so this probably won't scare those who are well-versed in the horror genre. But I really did enjoy the very different setting, the mystery over gore approach, and the mythology. It was well written and certainly an entertaining read. 4 hoots!



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