The Puppeteers of Palem is a Paranormal Horror Mystery novel written by Sharath Komarraju and published by Westland. The story is set in a small village along Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Five people return to their childhood village after receiving a mysterious letter from an old man who doesn’t remember sending it to them. Who/what made them come, and what does it want from them? Will any of them make out of the village alive, as sins from the past catch up with them in the present? Are people in this village even free to think by themselves?
The Puppeteers of Palem is a very different book. If the mystery keeps you hooked, the vibrant imagery helps you visualize and feel the people and situations, and provides a sensory experience that is memorable. Except for the mind-controlling aspect of this novel (whose logic was incomprehensible at places), I liked it very much.
The author hooks the readers with the upcoming gloom right in the beginning. While the hook worked, I just thought the details of who died and who lived need not have been mentioned right in the beginning. But that would have come at the cost of sacrificing the powerful hook. So it’s a dilemma, actually.
The book starts at a slow pace and continues at a faster pace. But the end, even though we know what’s coming, the story is fast paced and mind blowing. Though we know what is going to happen, we don’t know who is going to do it and why. Some scenes near the end sent a shiver down my spine!
The imagery created by the author is another plus. The detailed scene and character description transport us right into the village. I was able to feel the parched earth and it felt as if I was standing right next to the characters when the events were unfolding.
This book is also a pure (and well-written) mystery that keeps us guessing till the end. If the paranormal aspect of it was omitted (I like to read realistic stories nowadays, not ghost stories!) the book could still have been a solid stand-alone mystery.
Nevertheless, it’s an excellent attempt and I was glad to read something different. Actually, I ‘listened’ to this book using a Text-to-Speech (TTS) app on my Android Tablet called FBReader, as Sharath had sent me the eBook.
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