Book review | Murder At Moonlight Cafe & other stories by Ishavasyam Dash

Author: Ishavasyam Dash

Genre: Short stories

No. of pages: 159

Published by: Notion Press

Published on: 6th February 2020

Format: Paperback 

My rating: ★★★★☆

Omprakash and Dilip, police officers and best buddies, are catching up at one of Manali's poshest bars, when a most unsettling murder is committed right under their noses... Called upon by the gods to aid them in a losing battle, Parvati creates the immensely powerful Kali--but can she save herself from the hell she has unleashed in her own marriage? A strange spectral presence haunts a man day and night, eating away years from his life, until he takes part in an unorthodox ritual and comes face-to-face with his tormentor... Meet Mariam--a gentle, unassuming woman in her late fifties with a strange hobby--gatecrashing funerals... By turns delightful, morbid and whimsical, this is a collection of eleven tales that will transport you to the myriad worlds of magic realism and murder, mythology and horror, millennial mania and post-modern angst. Made-to-order for those with a taste for inventive idiosyncrasy, this book promises to provoke and entertain in equal measure.

Murder at Moonlight Cafe & other stories is a remarkable collection of stories tackling a wide range of genre. Ishavasyam Dash's stories are one of its kind. Each story is so unique and different for the others that reading a short story collection became engrossing. Because after every story I was almost excited to know what the next story would be about. Reading the book was very refreshing and fun. 

The first story 'Smoke and Mirrors' gives us behind the scenes picture of a social media influencer. Dash's take on this topic is very intriguing. Even though the story has no suspense to offer, it kept me on the edge of my seat. And this is just not applicable to one story only, all of Dash's stories have a hint of suspense in them. In 'The Herpetologist', the author gives us a glimpse of harsh reality of following one's dreams. 'Murder at Moonlight Cafe' is the only story in the anthology that is a true crime and this was my favourite out of all the stories. This is a story of a non-detective solving a mystery in a most non-detective way. My second favourite story is 'Mariam's Tears', which is about a woman whose hobby is attending funerals. I'm in awe with almost all of these stories in this anthology. 

Not only are the stories different from each other, they cover a variety of topic. As I already said 'Smoke and Mirror' has an unusual take on the world of social media influences, 'The Herpetologist' is about the hardships of being researcher, 'Ace of hearts' is about a YouTuber embracing one's asexuality and having the courage of coming out to the whole world, and 'Kalika' is about the complicated human psyche. Dash's stories cover various genres and various issues and that what makes this anthology worth your time. 

I have seldom come across short stories collection that are so eloquent and beautiful. This book literally amazed me. The author's capability of making her readers latch on to her words is applaudable. The stories are captivating and a perfect companion on a vacation or whenever you want to read something light but yet you want to be surprised. 

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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