Review of ‘Check-In, Check- Out’ a collection of Short Stories by Keran Pantth Joshi
‘This is the most delectable collection of horror short stories served on your platter that will keep you haunting for a long time’…
Check-In, Check Out is Keran’s second book of fiction and it’s a collection of 10 short horrifying tales that have been divided into two parts within the book. The first part takes you to the jitteriest and thrilling ride of tales of ordinary people getting most brutally affected by the apparitions in the stories. The most interesting thing to be noticed in the collection is that all the stories are taking place in a Hotel called Villagio in Tasmania. The happenstance is that the author herself is an hotelier in Tasmania and she has based the stories taking the extreme inspiration from the place itself. In my last interview with her which we did in ‘The One Hour Talk Show’ I did have an opportunity to ask her that why did she choose a hotel for placing her stories, and she had most candidly confirmed that the whole lockdown period was keeping her sane when she was able to put all the puzzle pieces of scattered stories in her mind into their places by weaving them together. It was a phase when myriad stories have started coming out from the walls of the hotel that she runs and it worked for her as an inspiration, basically she understood and heard the silence that place had turned into and that further helped her to pen down those stories in the wee hours of night.
Now as well all know that nights are the most preferred time by all the writers, I wonder how did Keran managed to write down and bring out those ghastly figures of her stories into the world of her words, I wonder didn’t it give her the jitters and chills too. Well looking at her stories it seems they didn’t. The level of confidence in her writing and the lucid imagery of them speak it all. She has the most wildest and if I have to say it most bluntly has the most courageous heart to write down the stories in which all the main characters of her stories are either getting hurt or killed easily. The most intriguing thing I would admit here is that the protagonists of her stories are all ghosts. They are the ones around whom the whole plot of the stories are revolving and if you are an emotional person then brace yourself, these ghosts are real nefarious and they would stop only by killing their victims. She has taken to her liberty placing in her book, all kind of ghosts whom many of you must be acquainted with, from haunting and following spirits, to devils in disguise, and even depiction of the Jins and satanic things which I am sure you would find real disturbing to a point after having read the stories.
The language is lucid, simple, flowing and crisp, which allows you to actually visualize the things happening in the story and you would feel the jump scares at certain places. The next most absorbing thing about the book is that you will see that the Villagio Hotel working as an instrument in all the stories, as it has this certain strange vibe of attracting those people who are either getting followed or haunted by a spirit and ends up being there, and even the hotel itself has a reprehensible spirit that can certainly lead to death of its guests. Most of the characters have been linked with the hotel so wisely that they are checking in but never mostly checking out, and it seems as if it’s a game plan that is working in a certain way that all the incidents are happening in and around of the Villagio Hotel. And in the end we get to read the history of the Hotel itself that explains it all that why all kinds of spirits were getting attracted towards it, its acting like a vessel to summon and contain those spirits.
Nonetheless, all the stories are evocatively interesting and even if you are not much of a horror genre reader, this book is unique and a must read I would say. It has freshness of portraying the genre; the stories are all different from each other, no one character is linked with any other of the previous story so you read a new tale with each story and feel the fear of the most bizarre kinds of ghostly presence and haunting. Though all the stories are extremely well written but two of the stories that stayed with me for a very long time are ‘Virgin Mother’ and ‘The Foot in the Ceiling’. These two stories have the most bizarre, unexpected, unpredictable and unbelievable ending along with the start. And these two along with the rest of the stories surely confirmed me that Keran has the perfect hands and mind for crafting tales into this genre. One more thing that needs to be added here is that the book has the most unique and creative content’s section, it doesn’t simply names the story along with the page number, rather the stories are neatly put as names of guests who are checking in and they are being maintained into a crisp page of an hotel register. This is the most charming factor for sure, the most unique Content’s Page I have ever seen.
Chrysanthemum Chronicles’ Verdict: ‘Check-In, Check- Out’ is a collection of ten odd stories and its something that I would not suggest as a light read, you need a strong heart and emotions to grab hold of the haunting effect the stories can create in your mind. But as millennial readers are all about fast paced reading and stories that would keep them over their heels, this book is undoubtedly going to become the next best seller in this genre all across the globe I feel! The treatment of each story has to be dealt with utmost awe and if you have a vivid imagination you may feel like all the stories are playing like a movie in your head. I would recommend this book to those who have tried reading horror stories from some other authors also to give it try, as this would surely meet all the expectations of being the most perfectly written horror book. And in the end I would like to rate the book a 4.5 star rating on the scale of 5. I wish Keran Pantth Joshi huge success with this book of hers as she has made great visible efforts to bring it out into the breathing world of physical books.
Keran Pantth Joshi was born and brought up in Delhi and has a degree in Physiotherapy and is an MBA. She moved to Melbourne after marriage, in 2012 and has worked for various global companies in HR and workforce planning. In 2017 she turned entrepreneur and relocated with her family to Launceston in Tasmania where she owns and runs a hotel with her husband. Her debut novel, Beyond Forever in love was published in 2014.