Thursday, May 1, 2014
Hello Dolly! Now go away | Review of JC Martin's The Doll
I’m not afraid of dolls the way I am of worms or the deep end of the pool. But I’m not too comfortable in their presence either. A minute alone in a room with a doll, and the walls start to shrink and their dead, unblinking eyes get bigger.
Why then, did I have to download a single about not one, but an entire island of dolls? Because you don’t stop sitting under trees or jumping into pools just because something scares you… even if you are the kind of person who doesn’t look into mirrors in the dark for fear of catching their reflection off guard.
The Doll by JC Martin has rave reviews on Amazon and at Rs 56 it is most definitely worth downloading even if it ends faster than you can say ‘Peek-a-Boo’. Single mom Joyce takes her daughter Taylor on vacation to Mexico where they visit The Island of Dolls which houses dolls in all shapes and sizes, whole and dismembered. Taylor takes to the place immediately, as would any child who hasn’t yet been traumatised by a certain Good Guy who shall not be named. Joyce on the other hand finds herself ill at ease conjuring images of said Good Guy.
As it turns out, the island is actually a shrine to a little girl who drowned in the lake. Evil lurks there and the dolls have everything to do with it. This evil follows Joyce and her daughter home where things start to get seriously creepy. And then Joyce makes a discovery that takes her back to The Island of Dolls... at dusk.
It isn’t a very long story. Nor is it very erudite, or grammatically sound for that matter. But it’s creepy as hell, especially when the writer links up to the sinister side of Palo Monte, a religion that developed in the Spanish colonies of South America. The bit about the Nganga, a cauldron of bones and ashes in which spirits are said to reside, is my favourite.
The language is like a runny yoke that could have been less casual, but as it’s narrated in first person, not to mention self-published, you may be able to let that slide.
Dolls have been done to death but this story has the X factor. I kept expecting demon doll to spring up at me from under the bed or in the bathroom the night I read this. However, the next morning, after giving it another read, I realized that it isn’t as scary I you initially thought. Somehow, as much as I appreciate short fiction, this is the sort of book that would have made more of an impact in a full-length novel.
JC Martin has a fine flair for storytelling even if her talent is a bit raw. If she puts this much thought and lore into all her scary stories, she's definitely going on my default reading list.
Download The Doll by JC Martin Amazon; Kindle Single