Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: 14 by Peter Clines

14 by Peter Clines

350 pages Permuted press

Nate finds the perfect apartment. For LA it is amazingly cheap, so cheap he is surprised there is even an opening. After he moves in he finds that only one or two of the residents have been there very long. The German caretaker is an odd duck, and yeah he has been around awhile. He doesn’t like the residents getting nosey about apartment 14 that is double locked. The basement storage that is locked down, or the odd markings on the cornerstone of the building. Some rooms have crazy lights, some never get warm and many more mysteries.

Once Nate moves in he finds out that the strange-ness of the building has driven out several people who lived in the building. Some leaving months on their lease. Nate makes friends with the people in the building and begins to investigate.

14 as a novel is many things, Gothic horror, a supernatural mystery, A haunted house story, (in this case a Los Angeles apartment building) and a Lovecraftian bizarro freak out. All those elements make for a fun novel but what makes it work are the well- written characters and perfect story structure. The three acts of the book connect well but each have a different feeling in a strong way.

I am positive I’ll be writing about this book again when I do my end of the year review. The setting is effective and as creepy as meant to be. Clines really gives the building a living breathing feeling, without this sense of place the book would have failed. On the same note the strongly defined characters are essential for adding weight to the mystery.

I read the first book of Clines zombie super heroes cross over and was impressed by his skill. 14 showed me that novel was not a fluke. He is a powerful story teller.

Would make a great companion novel to Lisa Morton’s Castle of Los Angeles. Both have a great LA gothic horror feel.

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