Horror Book Review: Try Dying by Rajeev Singh

Horror Book Review

Try Dying
Rajeev Singh
Publication Date: March 14, 2021
Genres: Horror

Much like Blood Rain, my first encounter with Rajeev SinghTry Dying is as imaginative as it is deviant, another well-written slice of erotic horror, but one that will leave you feeling even more guilty about enjoying it. It is most definitely not for the squeamish, but beneath all the blood and sex and gore is a fascinating character study.

Aiden is a wealthy businessman who is excited by violence and aroused by death. The more he indulges his fantasies of violence, however, the more he craves the ultimate realization of everything he desires. It's that insatiable thirst that brings him to an exclusive snuff performance by an underground theatre troupe, in which the beautiful Nikita Cleaver is tortured and beheaded for the audience's pleasure . . . night after night.

While Aiden is the protagonist/antagonist here - the abuser, the murderer, and the molester - he's not a villain. Yes, he does deplorable things, gets off on the most despicable acts, but Nikita is a willing, enthusiastic participant. With several lifetimes behind her, she's tired of her curse, weary of cheating death, and she's eager to indulge Aiden's increasingly more destructive fantasies in hopes that he'll find a death the curse can't cheat. As for Aiden, what began as an infatuation borne of a dark fetish becomes something closer to love, and that emotional attachment slowly changes their dynamic.

As disturbing as the graphic necrophilia is - and Singh's imagination comes up with some brilliant deaths - it's Nikita who makes Try Dying so fascinating. It's her personality that elevates the story, and her history that gives it meaning. Once that emotional dynamic shifts, and Aiden begins pursuing death for the sake of her peace rather than her pleasure, the story finds its heart - its bloody, broken, still-beating heart.

I loved the story's climax and the way it brought the story of Nikita and her curse full circle, but I'm not so sure how I feel about the final scenes. I think the story was stronger without that descent into the monstrous, more fascinating when it was about the dark side of humanity. Metaphorically, it has some resonance, especially in terms of Aiden's personality, but it just felt like too much . . . which is saying something for a story where a reader could cry 'too much' on just about any page. 

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀ 1/2

My sincere thanks to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.