Monthly Book Review: Mohini, Salyuta, Beyond the Reef by Bryan Knower

When a story grabs you at the very first line, you know it’s going to be good. That’s exactly what happened with three short stories by Bryan Knower, which I read this weekend. Each of them have that perfect mix of plot, action and exciting locations – what more could you want!

Mohini, begins with a dramatic car accident on a lonely road in the remote hills of the former Ceylon. As the two characters crawl free of the wreck, they face a long wait for rescue – in the very place where folklore says Mohini, a mysterious young woman, walks the midnight roads searching for dying souls.


Salyuta takes us to Mexico, where the hero is looking forward to a holiday after a three month work assignment. But at the car rental he sees a dangerously gorgeous girl – the type of girl to make him forget all his plans, to make him forget everything. Pursuing her along the coast, he becomes obsessed and reckless, as he will do anything to win her. Fast-paced, sexy, sophisticated and with a shocking and grisly twist, Salyuta is a chilling and fantastic read.


Needless to say, after Mohini and Salyuta, I was back at Smashwords looking for more, and found Beyond the Reef, the tale of a writer who visits the Dominican Republic, keen to go deep sea diving as research for his novel. Accompanying a young fisherman beyond the reef, the hero soon finds himself immersed (literally) in a tense psychological battle not only with the ocean but with his own past and fears.

What I love about these stories, is how the writer drops the reader right in the middle of the action – and keeps you there. The reader is enveloped by the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations of the story. You are right by the characters’ side, whether waiting by the wrecked car “in the heavy clinging mist” in Mohini, walking the backstreets of Salyuta, or gazing down through clear water “at the featureless sand that rolled away to infinity like desert dunes” in Beyond the Reef.  And you are completely involved with the characters, feeling their fear, lust, recklessness or panic.

When description, emotion and setting, blend together this seamlessly, you know it’s mighty fine writing indeed.

Five stars for them all!!!! You can find the stories here:

Mohini –

Salyuta –

Beyond the Reef –

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Also this month, I read Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. Published in 1872, Carmilla was one of the earliest vampire stories, and an inspiration for Bram Stoker when he was writing Dracula. Carmilla established much of vampire folklore: the mid-European location, the seductive beauty of the vampire, the crypt as resting place, the vampire hunter and the stake through the heart. What is unusual is that the vampire in Carmilla is a young girl, who arrives mysteriously one night at the isolated home of the heroine and her father. A must-read for readers (and writers) of the supernatural.

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7 responses to “Monthly Book Review: Mohini, Salyuta, Beyond the Reef by Bryan Knower”

    • You’ll enjoy Carmilla! I am now looking for Sheridan Le Fanu’s other supernatural tales. I’m going to try the dusty secondhand bookshop up the road from me, where an old man sits behind piles of books, frowning at customers (it’s an interesting bookshop)! Or then I’ll try Amazon.

      Check out Bryan’s work too! As a reader I just loved these three stories, and as a writer, I began to worry that I should work harder! I’d love to know what you think 😉

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