Getting back to my Halloween reads of 2015, I heard of this title from The Telegraph’s 15 Scary Books to Terrify You This Halloween. A useful list to find horror reads old and new.
When published American poet Robert Luczack accepts an assignment from Tattler magazine to travel to Calcutta to investigate the authenticity of poems by an Indian poet, M Das, thought deceased eight years ago. He doesn’t realise how he is being drawn close to a dangerous and horrifying cult sect of worshippers of the goddess Kali.
Simmons uses the intimidating aspects of the busy city of Calcutta in the mid 70s to give this book a malevolent air and is not original in the use of Kali as an evil entity (think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). However, he uses every intimidating aspect of an alien culture to convey the out of place feeling and intimidation at the base of deep-rooted fear.
I think he may have alienated many Calcuttians after he executed this horror read in his portrayal of the city and its inhabitants. However, you have to bear in mind he wrote this in 1985 about being in Calcutta in 1977. Things change and with time more is understood and accepted about other cultures on the whole.
As a horror read though, this one will definitely give you nightmares as the perceived terrible goddess seeps into your subconscious.