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January 5, 2013

Book Review - 109 : The Mine

Author : Arnab Ray
Publisher : Westland

What happens when the evil lurking within men is brought out for the world to see? Is the Devil just a fa├žade created to cover the will of God? Is it universally true that the greatest evil lies deep inside?

Arnab Ray describes the terrifying experiences of a group of miners who are employed at an ancient site of worship. They starts experiencing nightmares when darkness falls, and during the day, the carvings on the underground dome drive them insane, albeit slowly. An investigation is launched with a group of experts when things get out of hand, and what they discover next sets the tone for a spine chilling journey, one that they need to get out of - alive.

The book starts sluggishly, taking its time to build the drama. Progressively,you are introduced to the various characters and their intentions — scheming scientists who will stop at nothing to attain their vaulting ambition, a female archaeologist with an insatiable hunger for sex, a clinical psychologist who gives false testimony against an actor to avenge the rape she had been subjected to, children molested by sexual perverts, an elderly doctor indulging in sado-masochism, an innocent-looking schizophrenic waiting patiently for his gory pound of flesh and more.

Philosophical at places, the book shakes you a little with the insights. A diligent mix of Science and Karma, the suspense and the thrill in the book will give you goose bumps with every new page. Ray follows the classic three-act structure to produce a solid narrative though peppered with famous Bollywood and pop culture references. At times you have to disbelieve some of the intentions and reactions in certain scenes as they don't fit in the bigger scheme of things, but since the narrative is kept at such tight leash, you are willing to forgive such minor flaws.

I am going with 4/5 for Arnab Ray's 'The Mine'. Horror in Indian fiction is a rare species, this book may have just started the trend in this genre. It is taut, exciting, eerie and there are flashes of brilliance. As the indication goes by, the sequel : The Mine - Resurrection is on its way. It will be an interesting follow-up.

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