Where dreams are controlled, where friends murder each other, where a mad-woman is haunting the village – Rudrakshapalem, you can’t have a weak heart to read The Puppeteers of Palem by Sharath Komarraju.
I would say this book has been a surprise read for me this year. The spooky element of this haunting tale makes it absolutely engaging and refreshing. While reading it, a reader is sure to find themselves hooked in the complex threads of the puppets and the puppeteer. As it progresses, the story haunts you but makes you curious to know where it leads. At one time you may even fear dreaming and the creaking sounds of the door in the night would send chills in you, but keep reading.
Usually there is a protagonist who takes us through the narration but here there is a village Rudrakshapalem which tells it own dark story. ‘The Puppeteers of Palem’ is a story crafted around bizarre incidents around this village and 5 kids who have grown up in this village. Destiny takes them all to different places but eventually a mysterious letter makes them all return to their ancestral place to fight out its eeriness and spookiness. All this time their dreams have been controlled or they have been doing it themselves, no one knows. However, the revenge will be taken because they had messed up with her at the Shivalam in their childhood. Who planted the seed in their minds to do all this?
The story moves in different time-frames but majorly its around 1984, 2001 and 2002. The kids loved hearing Avadhani thatha‘s stories in the village. Using this to his own advantage, in one of his story-telling session, the old man Avdhani tells them about a mad woman who is feared and isn’t talked about much. He tells them that this lady was good looking, intelligent, educated and had a mind of her own. She had married by her own choice against her parents. Also she loved him a lot but one night she had smashed her husband’s head with a big stone, kept it in her lap for the whole night while singing a chilling song. Later, the villagers had seen her appear on the full moon nights around the Shivalayam. Soon her haunting stories had found their way in the village and people feared wandering around the outskirts of the village.
The five friends return to the village because the haunting soul wants them here. They come to convince themselves that its all fine here unaware that its a death invite for each of them. No one knows whose pulled them in this whirlpool of murders, whose controlling whose dream but at the same time each one has their own reason to do the harm to the other. Since a lot of unexplained and fearful events happen in the village, a reporter comes to find a story in the village. As we read through the diary entries of the reporter Sonali Rao, there we learn that the village has turned into a sleepy, spooky place where no one remembers their dreams. Lastly, when the dots connect and the revelation happens, the reader sits upright in fear and shock.
The Author has done a splendid job with this book! The brilliance of this paranormal fiction is such that it makes you a part of its thrilling and dark journey. The horror fiction fanatics must not miss this one and others should read to take a refreshing break from the other genres.
M – Also blogs actively at Pendown: Her breathing space for creative expression, and a wonderful collection of book reviews, product reviews and travelogues. A full time author in the making and a proud iMelonite !You can leave your comments on what you expect from this book. And any questions for the author. You can connect with the author : On Facebook and Goodreads.
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It costs less than a popcorn pack that you buy at a multiplex & much less than the spa you get for your actually tired mind and not body!
– An initiative to feature notable authors.
The Puppeteers of Palem by Sharath Komarraju is our book in focus this month.