12 November, 2015

Book Review : Khel - The Writings

I've always loved to curl up with a spooky movie or a chilling book. So I was all thrills when BlogAdda gave the chance to review Vishal Goswami’s horror book Khel – The Writings. I won’t give much away, just the necessary details.

Dare to play with Evil!

What’s it about?
Khel – The Writings turns something as innocuous as a deck of cards into a paranormal entity. The playing cards form the crux of the whole story. In this book, fictional Bhramdev, a hill station near Mumbai, is a pleasant location except for the dubious Haveli that everyone fears due to its dark history and mysterious occurrences.

Enter investigative journalist Sanya Sharma, a widow, also mourning the recent loss of her daughter in a fire. Surviving with a son and barely getting through life with the help of alcohol interspersed with psychiatric help, she is given a chance to investigate mysterious deaths that took place in the Haveli. It’s her last straw to hold on to for redemption – but at what cost?

Sanya partners with Bhramdev’s local police inspector Kabir to unravel the secrets and mysteries linked not just to the deaths she was asked to investigate but also the horrifying events that seem to follow her wherever she goes. Is there more to the Haveli than the local rumours? And was its Nawab and his family involved in something no one knew? These and more questions haunt Sanya ever since she immerses herself in the case.

Can Sanya turn the cards of fate around? Or do they trump an ace? Will the eerie writing on the cards come true for Sanya? Or can she defeat it at its own game?

What I thought about it:
PACE: Like I said before, a good horror story gives me an adrenaline rush. This one didn't really get me pumping except towards the latter half of the book. I found it a bit slow in the beginning, maybe the author wanted to set it before launching into the thrill factor, but a little more speed at the start would have piqued my interest a bit more.

STORY: I loved the concept of the writing on the cards. Really felt like it signified the cards dealing out your fate kinda story line which fit well. After reading and watching several ghost/paranormal stories before, I couldn't help feeling that there were strong influences of ‘The Grudge’, ‘The Ring’, and ‘The Conjuring’. Don’t worry, it’s not in major parts, just here and there. The story has a good element of intrigue and suspense, especially near the end. The script could have been made tighter for a more gripping read.

CHARACTERS: The protagonist, Sanya Sharma’s character tackles the supernatural events better than her real life crisis. She comes across as a warm, receptive and charming person were it not for her personal setbacks. She never gives up though on this unnerving case and follows it right to the end. Sanya exudes a contradictory sense of brittleness and toughness, uncertainty and determination, depression and steely will, making her an immensely human character which is great!

Kabir as the local police inspector could have been sketched into a more than just a sidekick role. His character held a lot of potential that was sadly untapped. He makes his mark as a stable guide and companion to Sanya as she explores the damned Haveli.

LANGUAGE: The book has been written in a simple and modern style. It’s easy to read with not too much unnecessary vocabulary. Two to three more proof-reads would have ensured a well written book. Minor spelling mistakes, usage of SMS language (e.g: Coz) and punctuation errors, coupled with a series of 3-5 sentences starting with same word drew down the excitement needed for such a book/story.

HORROR FACTOR: I would have to say, maybe a 6.5/10. Some parts were predictable and somehow the spookiness didn't quite come through. Again, the last part makes up for it. Now don’t you go reading the last part first!

COVER: The front cover sports a purple hued castle (Haveli), an ace of spades with a skull, and a blank eyed-red lipped spectre. The book’s title is written in blood red and white, with a horror-specific font.

The back cover also has a purple background with the gist of the story encapsulated.

About the author: Vishal Goswami is a MBA – Finance graduate from USA. He is passionate about reading and writing. This is the first time I read his writing and liked the simple and thoughtful way he penned down the novel.

Number of pages: 146 – I finished it in one sitting. The easy language and the adequate number of pages make for a quick read.

Genre: Thriller / Horror

Cost: INR 145 | $6

Published by: Frog Books

Personal Overall Rating: 7/10

If you’re looking to read a book to keep you occupied on a journey or if you want to take your mind off something for sometime, Khel – The Writings is a good book that serves both purposes well. If you’re looking to get spooked out of your bones, then this may fall short of matching up to your expectations - depending on how sensitive you are to horror. ;)

You can have this spook book for your own from Amazon.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Venice :)


  1. Horror! I am already scared :D I don't think will pick up the book due to the genre :(

    1. Wha-at! I always think of you as a daredevil Richa - so this has taken me by surprise! I love horror, chills and thrills - love the exhilaration and adrenaline that courses through while watching/reading them. What genre do you like?


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