SHUT THE LIGHTS by Smita Bhattacharya

Book Blurb

A dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets… and the lengths we go to, to save the ones we love. For lovers of non-formulaic domestic noir suspense.

For this family, the lockdown came as a blessing.

On 24 March 2020, with merely a four-hour notice, the Indian government declared a three-week lockdown as a containment measure for COVID-19. In terms of scale and severity, this lockdown was unparalleled worldwide. However, quite unexpectedly, for a family of four, cooped up in a plush Mumbai apartment, it came as a blessing.

On the face of it, Suvini, Mridul, Damien, and Tara belonged to an upper-middle-class family, with its typical privileges and pressures. But inwardly, each of them held a dark secret that threatened to derail their very existence. And the shutting down of everything had given them the unique opportunity to get away with it.

Or not.

Inspired by actual events.

For readers of Herman Koch, Elizabeth Haynes, and Leila Slimani.


Genre: Suspense Novel

Book Review

  • The story revolves around the Kakkar family, a family of four, Mridul, Suvini and their kids, Damien and Tara. It is set during the time when initially a 21 day lockdown was initiated in India due to the pandemic. Each one of these people have their own dirty secrets, living under the same roof, trapped. The kids keep hiding stuff from their parents and the partners kept secrets from each other. It was then when the lockdown comes as a blessing in disguise to them.
  • We liked how the story unfolded slowly and in a creepy manner. It’s scary and we like this. On top of all these secret keeping and dilemmas, the fear of also catching a dreadful disease, it was just too much drama, loved it. The fact that this story is based on true events makes it even more scarier.
  • is an absolutely fantastic psychological tale. The language was easy and understandable. The story was normal paced in the beginning half but it catches up in the second half. In the beginning we can even relate to their lives because we have all been through the existential crisis during covid period. But then it slowly got uneasy, like it was getting into our nerves by the page. And then boom, plot twist. We gasped and also cried at a few instances.
  • Would give trigger warnings though, based on our personal experience here. We would recommend this to people who like psychological thrillers. Loved the story. So no remorses. Totally recommended to all the thriller genre lovers out there.

– Sakshi Tiwari