‘The Asylum’ by Zahid Zaman, published by Arkbound Publishers in 2016, is a dark yet strangely uplifting journey down the rabbit hole of life within the walls of a modern day asylum, and one man’s ominous journey to rescue himself from the clutches of Hell.
Told by Zahid himself, a psychology graduate working within St Mark’s Psychiatric Hospital, this short thriller has a complex story which develops rapidly and keeps the reader guessing, with demon-possessed psychiatric patients, bizarre unexplained goings on at 6PM each evening, and inferences to a disembodied “Him”, leaving you unsure of what is fiction and what is reality and where one begins and the other ends.
This uncertainty is further compounded by Zahid himself, who early on in the story reveals that he himself has a complex psychological past of his own. As you delve deeper into Zahid’s strange new world at the hospital, you find yourself mirroring his feelings of paranoia and distrust as you try to discern who is friend and who is foe amongst the staff, patients, and unusual local residents.
Despite the sinister content, Zaman still manages to interweave a charming romantic element throughout the book, sweetly juxtaposing and giving moments of light relief to a sinister tale which pokes and prods at some of humanity’s darkest fears.
The shape of St Marks Psychiatric Hospital itself is that of a crucifix, and repeated references to the full moon, Lucifer, magic, and demon possession make this book a perfect read for fans of the occult and supernatural phenomenon.
At just shy of 100 pages in length, ‘The Asylum’ is a perfect ominous tale to read on a dark rainy night curled up under a blanket by candlelight for those of us who simply can’t resist a good scare – You’ll certainly want to make sure your doors are firmly locked after reading!
Many thanks to Arkbound Publishing for providing me with a copy of ‘The Asylum’ to review.