Review ~ 14

This book was provided to me by Permuted Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

14 by Peter Clines

Cover via Goodreads

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… (via Goodreads)

A few weeks after I moved into my current apartment, I closed the door to the back bedroom from the inside of the room and found that the doorknob on the other side, which I had not seen until then, was of a completely different shape. Instead of a normal round doorknob, it was one of the push-down handle sorts. There isn’t another one like it in the entire apartment. While it’s not a big deal, my landlord just had two mismatched handles,  for a moment I was disturbed. It’s that feeling that Peter Clines wants to invoke in 14 and he succeeds often enough. This book is similar to Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Danielewski’s book does a better job of capturing that unease, but Clines’ 14 is saner, more coherent, and doesn’t require textural acrobatics. 14 is more genre and less literature, and that’s not a bad thing.

The characters really made this book for me. Nate could have been a whiner, but he’s not. He’s just a guy in his 30s who’s ended up in a very plain life. I don’t mind at all going on this adventure with him. I was especially appreciative of Clines’ capable female characters. Veek and Xela (and even Debbie and Mandy) are each very different but each has believable talents that are important in the story. They’re not just window dressings.

Plot-wise, 14 veers one way before shooting off in an interesting direction. I could use one word to describe 14 that would completely explain it, but that would be a big, huge spoiler. The characters did make a decision toward the end of the book that I didn’t feel was justified beyond the need for characters to see certain things, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Genre: Mystery, horror
Why did I choose to read this book? I like mysterious buildings, whether haunted or otherwise.
Did I finish this book? (If not, why?) Yes! Quick read. Finished it in a three days.
Craft Lessons: Don’t be afraid to take chances. Clines is doing his own thing here and it works.
Format: Kindle ebook
Procurement: NetGalley

Yes, once again, my review numbers are off. I’ll be posting about book #18 next week on its release date.

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One thought on “Review ~ 14

  1. Pingback: Best Reads 2013 | The Writerly Reader

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