Peter Clines – “14”

Break-neck pace, witty, and intriguing — 5 stars

 

14 by Peter Clines is hard book to offer a summary description of that isn’t full of spoilers. And if there’s one book on my recently read list that I don’t want to spoil, it’s “14.”  I’ll let the Goodreads summary do the talking on that one for me:

Chosen by Audible.com as the best sci-fi novel of 2012!

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches. There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.

Or the end of everything…

Walking like a cat on a rail fence between Science Fiction and Horror, Clines does an outstanding job of marrying the two without diluting either. Using little mysteries and quirky questions to propel the story, “14” is an attention-grabber.  A hook here.  A hook there.  Another, and another.  Any of which an inhabitant of the story could pass off as peculiar on their own.  A misunderstanding. Your imagination maybe, getting the better of you.  But taken together, the pull is too strong to be ignored, for both characters and readers alike. The pages keep turning with impressive speed.  A hundred little hooks, all pulling you toward… Something sinister?  Something mysterious? Something otherwordly?  Something evil? Yes to all of the above.  Clines has an outstanding sense of pace and timing, knowing that a mystery kept mysterious for too long is boring and a premature reveal steals the impact.

There’s little more I can say about “14” without spoiling the fun, but I recommend it without reservation as one of my favorite reads of the year so far.

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