*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Who’s there, crouching like the moon behind the gray clouds?
Who’s there, writhing like pouncing thunderbolt?
Crawl out of the darkness, my child!
Called the Jungle, to the restless Hunchback.
Don’t you know? Darkness is my blood.
Howled the cursed Hunchback.
The Jungle cracked a smile, red and ripe.
They are my beloved.
Drawing on local folk tales of vengeful banshees, dusk-dwelling monsters, and other forms of the undead, this collection of five short stories will transport readers to the deep, dark abyss where demons forever reside: the human mind.
‘Who’s There?’ is a collection of five short horror stories from Indonesian writer, Dimas Rio. Translated into English, the themes range from murder to folklore, ghosts to demons, but always with the uniting thread of human darkness to weave them together.
Rio paints modern and relatable characters in horrifying situations. From a man fielding questions about his absent fiancé to a woman overpowered by the urge to cut into her own flesh without her young son seeing, each story has a slow burn beginning that builds the tension and anxiety of the story. Well paced and description, each tale brings the reader close to the characters and the thumping of their overworked hearts.
A particular stand out for me was ‘The Wandering’. It follows a night security guard as he paces his floor, the reader soon learning that Badrun is not the upstanding citizen that he presents to others, including his pregnant wife, and he has made mistakes in his past. Letters from a person who seems familiar but cannot place begin to turn up in the deserted office space and it seems that he is not alone. This story for me encapsulates the overall tone of the collection and the attention to detail in characters that brings the stories to life.
A short collection but one filled with nuance and dread, ‘Who’s There?’ will leave readers wanting more.
About the Author –
Dimas Rio was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He wrote his first novel in his birth home entitled “Dinner with Saucer” (Katakita, 2006) which was shortlisted in the “Talented Young Writer” category of 2007 Khatulistiwa Literary Award in Indonesia. He went to write a series of short stories for a local teen magazine entitled “Huru-Hara Rako” (Rako’s Chaotic Life) from 2006 to 2008.
Recently he published his second book entitled “Siapa di Situ? (Sebuah Kumpulan Cerita”) which was translated into English under the title of “Who’s There? (A Collection of Stories)”.
When not writing, he has a hobby of being lost. He spends his weekdays being lost in the sea of office paperworks, and spends his weekends being lost in procrastination. But his favorite state is being lost in a good book, an engaging conversation and cultural places that broaden the mind. And also B grade horror movies.
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