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    Book Synopsis

    Gemma, a novice psychologist, found that her world was turning upside down after she had met Yacob, her first ever patient. But Yacob wasn’t any ‘normal’ patient, in fact, Gemma found him a very mysterious character but that didn’t stop her falling in love with him. He allegedly ran away from a war-torn country where horrific massacres had taken place.

    Gemma’s strong agnostic beliefs begin to wane in the face of the mystifying events that were engulfing her life and Yacob’s. And more was to come when Gemma coerced Yacob, by then husband and wife, to pay a visit back to his homeland in the hope of forever banishing the dark memories of the place where all his family were butchered to death.

    Once there, they were faced with the inevitable, yet surreal, reality that was haunting them since childhood, as everyone around them appeared to conspire to lead them up the Devil’s path, quite literally, where they would finally be reunited/acquainted with their chilling destiny.

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    Paula will review this book.


    Book Review – By Paula, August 20, 2009

    SHIMOZ by Sidali Nessal

    (Paraphrased from the author’s online synopsis on Shimoz )

    Gemma Dean, a novice psychologist, found her world turned upside down after meeting her first patient, Yacob Edin. Gamma is aware of a mysterious side to Yacob. Gamma’s agnostic beliefs are challenged in the face of terrifying events that permeate her very soul. Gamma and Jacob fall in love, marry and the demons and strange occurrences are a constant part of both of their lives. Some years back,Yacob had run away from his home country where a horrific massacre had taken place. Gamma convinces Yacob to go back to the country he fled to face his demons and put to rest the horrors he experienced. As they embark on the trip, Satan conspires to lead the couple up the devil’s path to meet their chilling destiny.”

    The title of Sidali Nessal’s first fictional novel Shimoz is intriguing as the cover picture itself. The story is present day, and locations are London, England and in the country from which Yacob fled some years prior.

    The author never mentions exactly where Yacob’s ‘homeland’ is located. The only clue I picked up on a probable location, was a hint about the architecture of a home Yacob and Gamma visit while travelling in that country, “They arrived at a picturesque farm scene of orange groves and vineyards, the centerpiece being the 18th century French house, large and built like a small castle”.

    Normally one is not intrigued with an index of a book. However the index for Shimoz is rather out of the ordinary. There are 78 chapters, with each chapter being not much more then 2 or 3 pages in length. The whole story is completed within 314 pages. Font size and bold type for the indexing is reminiscent of lay-outs for the old Horror Magazines (ie Weird Tales ) that one can find in antique book stores. It would have been nice to see each chapter receive a title of some sort as an information connector from one chapter to the next.

    The Prologue sets the stage for the unfolding of the story and I knew at the onset this book was going to take me on an adventure with Satan, symbolism, the occult, and Gods of all descriptions. The subject matter is not unique. It is the ‘Satan power battles God power’, or ‘evil versus good’, storyline. The book is full of metaphysical beings, horrors of all descriptions, shadow dwellers, prophecies and individual destinies, symbolism, spirits, cult rituals, demons, and the devil himself. Historical facts are also interwoven within the storyline, adding another level of interest.

    There is more to the story then an adventure/horror story however. It was my feeling, almost from the first page, that the author used this novel as a vehicle for addressing his political/religious concerns. I quote again from Shimoz,“..all the world’s people have turned their religions and differences into tools and weapons against each other”. His thoughts on this subject are interwoven in a number of unique ways throughout Shimoz.

    On corresponding with the author, he did mention that he endeavors to incorporate highly contentious themes into fictional work. Well true to his word, ‘˜he did’!

    I credit the author for a very lively, colorful imagination with a fast-paced story. There are numerous characters, many of whom meet an untimely and horrific death. Reading Shimoz, you do have to keep focused. I found on a number of occasions one chapter did not run with continuity to the next chapter and you had to figure out,“Okay, what happened! Did I miss something?”. I feel the author, with more experience under his belt, will improve on this point.

    There are other weaknesses with this first novel however, and if corrected prior to publication, would have made a much better read. The most noticeable was poor sentence structure,(some lines very long and rambling). Sentences should be fluid in structure. There were numerous spelling errors and grammatical problems. I strongly advise the author to find himself a good proof reader with excellent grammatical skills, who can fine tune future novels ensuring good flow with sentence structure and proper spelling and also, I wish to note, for the use of a word in the context intended. As one example of this, I quote from the novel, “bare with me while I figure this out on the fly,”. Proper spelling should have been ‘bear’ in the context the author had actually meant as ‘put up with me’ or ‘endure with me’.

    I am not a Horror/Adventure avid novel reader. However I was rather captivated with the two main characters Gemma and Yacob. The author is planning sequels and also a prequel to Shimoz, with much of the writing already underway. The meaning of Shimoz is self explanatory within the novel. I leave you to search for that information when you read the novel.

    Sidali Nessal is reluctant to divulge much about himself. He would prefer that people concentrate on the work, rather than on the author. However he did indicate to me that he was born in France, raised in London and is of mixed heritage, spanning cultures and races, specifically Jewish, Arabic and Greek. With his background, he felt it allows him to have a more encompassing perspective on the subjects he writes about. As Nessal stated to me, “The main inspiration and motivation for my writing is to connect with real people, because well and truly, that is what it’s all about”. And as true as that statement may be to Nessal, I believe he holds a special place in his heart for the unknown spirit world. I do not think one could write a book on this subject matter, if this was not the case.

    For readers who gravitate towards this type of novel, and there is a large following, I am sure you will find Shimoz entertaining, taking into account the grammatical weaknesses. This is Sidali Nessal’s first published fictional novel. I am sure his following novels will be very carefully edited to ensure grammatical correctness and more fluidity to sentence structure. In closing this review, I leave you with a line again from Shimoz, “You have to think outside the box a little; literally, outside the box that your mind is locked in, outside of your body”. So pick the book up,keeping the above thought in mind, and embark on an adventure into the unknown spirit world.

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