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Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2022
  • 979-8831908497 B0B672919Q
  • 191 pages
  • $13.95
Dimas Rio
Author
Who's There?: A Collection of Stories (Where Nightmares Dwell)
Dimas Rio, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Asian mythology and folk tales crossed with the supernatural horror of Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, and Arthur Machen! Drawing on local folk tales of vengeful banshees, dusk-dwelling monsters, ghouls hiding in the woods, and other forms of the undead, this collection transports listeners to the darkest abyss where demons forever reside: the human mind. A woman goes missing a week before her wedding. A man recalls his nightmarish encounter with the devil. Letters sent from beyond the grave. A phone call from deceased loved ones. Limbs that have a mind of their own. These ghostly tales of revenge, greed, and desperation writhe and squirm in the dark corners of modern-day Indonesia. Rich in cultural undertones that are uniquely Asian combined with classic horror. These stories are equal parts grotesque and poetic, irreverent and spiritual, unusual and universal. Revised and expanded including 3 brand new stories!
Reviews
Menace oozes off the pages of this collection of gripping short stories from Rio, a treat for readers who appreciate the surprising beauty of sheer horror. The tales delve into both the shadows of our world and “the hidden cavities of [the] soul” as Rio’s protagonists face both terrors rooted in Asian folk traditions as well as their own true selves: “drunk, paranoid and drenched, like someone just took a leak on him,” a man searches desperately for his fiancee on the eve of their wedding, only to discover nauseating death. Rio, who was born in Indonesian and uses that nation as a setting, keeps readers on their toes with ambitions not limited to a single genre. One story builds, bloodily, to a spike tearing flesh; the ghostly “The Voice Canal,” meanwhile, in which a student believes he hears the voice of his late father, pierces the heart instead.

Poetry and philosophy pepper and bookend the unsettling tales, without slowing down or undercutting narrative momentum, a testament to Rios’s artistry. Tension builds ominously as the nightmare realities of the scenarios dawn on characters and readers both—reading, it’s hard not to inch one’s nose closer to the page in shivering anticipation at “something old and mouldy” in the storeroom, or at a business man giving his “peasant” lover his mother’s necklace, a perverse sort of “coronation,” when the lover knows the the mother would consider her “a dishonorable woman” who “fornicates” with the son. Afterwards, the couple “maul[s] each other as if they lusted for blood”—as in, they make love—and when the trap snaps, the entranced reader is as surprised as the prey.

This Indonesia is haunted by ghosts and devils and dispatches from the dead, but also guilt, class concerns, and more. Repeating figures like overbearing mothers and disloyal lovers feels universal, even if the myths and legends breathing life into these stories are fresh to readers.

Takeaway: Gripping, unsettling horror stories of a haunted Indonesia.

Comparable Titles: Intan Paramaditha’s Apple and Knife, Adam Nevill’s Some Will Not Sleep.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2022
  • 979-8831908497 B0B672919Q
  • 191 pages
  • $13.95
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