Nowhere is Safe by Zain Baig

Nowhere is Safe

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A man may prefer the raging snowstorm outside when his refuge turns out to be a mansion that could very well be haunted in this debut supernatural tale.

Adem’s looking forward to a Christmas-weekend visit with his cousin Alp in Boulder, Colorado. The traveler gets a head start to stay in front of the forecasted blizzard but is unfortunately sidetracked by attractive diner waitress Felda. Her offer of a night together is too much for 23-year-old virgin Adem to pass up, delaying his anticipated arrival in Boulder until the following day. He’s barely on the road again when his Impala skids into the forest, the ensuing accident leaving him injured with a crashed car and crushed phone. Luckily, Adem finds a mansion and butler Vladimir Barkov saves him before he dies of frostbite, hunger, or bear-mauling. Wadim, master of the house, certainly appears inviting, and gives Adem access to hearty meals, courtesy of a personal chef, as well as an inside pool. Then things get weird, starting with someone creeping into his room in the early morning hours. Soon he’s witnessing ghostly figures walking through doors or shouting vague, ominous threats—“You’re next!” The snow eases up, but a mass murderer on the loose results in a police lockdown in Boulder. Now Adem’s a virtual prisoner and apparently the only person able to see the ever-menacing ghouls. There’s a good amount of recognizable characteristics in Baig’s ghost story, from a message written in a foggy mirror to the sound of footsteps coming closer. The author makes them work in sheer abundance, with Adem relentlessly tormented by eerie individuals (sporting bloody-red eyes, for one) who inexplicably vanish. Recurring images set an ambivalent mood, like a candle holder rolling toward Adem or people heading into the “forbidden hallway,” signifying the house’s mysterious, off-limits left wing. Dialogue, however, is occasionally repetitive, with four different characters, for example, using the phrase “No worries.” Initially selfish, the protagonist at least feels guilty about choosing sex over his cousin, while the narrative provides sufficient resolution for all subplots, including Alp and the newfound romance between Adem and maid Maria.

A predominantly traditional ghost story, with enough apparitions to unnerve readers.

Pub Date: May 24th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4602-7103-2
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
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