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A look at Khurram Elahi’s ‘A Change of Season’

by Northern Life


A Change of Season is a recently released book by author Khurram Elahi, who is one of the new generation of Northern writers. Published by‎ The Conrad Press in paperback format in 2021, it’s proved to be successful and has gained positive reviews, so what do you need to know about it and its author?

What Is It About?

This 2021 book is a horror story whose main character is called John Winters. A 50-something warehouse manager for a furniture company, he’s going through an emotionally difficult time in his life following a divorce and with a heart operation coming up.

We find him stuck in the hospital on his own as he goes over in his mind the things that have gone wrong in his life. He struggles to work out the meaning of recurring memories and dreams that have plagued him since his childhood. Things then take a turn for the worse when John has a worrying encounter with a nurse called Diane.

The story then gets stranger after the heart operation is carried out successfully. John seems unable to control himself as he suffers the unexpected after-effects of the operation. Simon is the only person he can turn to, but Simon has his own issues to deal with and the two characters seem unable to help one another.

The title comes from the fact that we follow John’s story as he goes through the different seasons of the year. His operation is in spring, and he then changes throughout summer, with autumn bringing the first cracks in his personality and winter seeing him reach his limit.

Reviews have generally praised the book, particularly the rich vocabulary used and the author’s interesting way of looking at everyday topics and ideas in a new light. It’s fair to say that this is a psychological thriller rather than a bloodbath type of book, with a character called The Jester constantly niggling away at John’s mind as he begins his slide into mental illness.

The more negative reviews have tended to focus on the fact that it’s a fairly difficult read. The author has a habit of writing long and complex sentences, while the number of characters and the way the story is written make it difficult to follow at times.

The Popularity of Horror Themes in Various Types of Media

The long-standing popularity of the horror genre shows no sign of coming to an end, and this book shows us how it can cover a wide variety of themes without necessarily resorting to the sort of bloody action and cheap shocks that are seen in some of the most famous horror movies.

For example, the massively popular Stranger Things on Netflix shows a group of people witnessing how supernatural forces are working on their town. The series gets more disturbing by the time it reaches the fourth season but never resorts to the sort of horror clichés that we’ve seen in other places.

We can also see video games featuring a horror theme, with some using a subtle approach and others more disturbing. 1996’s Resident Evil no longer looks as scary as it once did but it still deserves its place on the list of the top horror games, along with titles such as Outlast and Alien: Isolation.

Horror themes have also made it into the world of online slots, as can be seen in this review of some of the most popular slots online. The Tombstone RIP game has an over-the-top setting in the Wild West where a set of fearless characters give it a dangerous feel. It’s listed alongside other slots like The Walking Dead and Blood Suckers that also have an edgy feel to them.

About the Author

Khurram Elahi was born in the Lancashire town of Haslingden, where the book is set. After studying Public Administration in Manchester, he began a career as an IT consultant, travelling to different parts of the world during his career. At the time of writing, he’s working in the Middle East, where he’s been based for the last 17 years.

Elahi’s writing career started with short stories, and A Change of Season is his first published book. He confirmed on his Twitter account that a second book is on the way, and it sounds like another horror story as he said “now you’ve more to fear”. However, no further details have been released yet.

It’s unclear whether the second book will also be set in his native Lancashire. Despite living far away for at least the last couple of decades, he used his hometown as the setting for A Change of Season and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see him return there for the next novel.

A Change of Season has proven to be a solid debut and fans are sure to be waiting eagerly to see what Elahi produces in his second novel.