Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review: The Complex by Brian Keene

The Complex by Brian Keene

paperback, 232 pages

Published March 2016 by Deadite Press

There was no warning. No chance to escape. They came suddenly. Naked. Bloodthirsty. Sadistic. They descended upon the Pine Village Apartment Complex, relentlessly torturing and killing anyone they could find.

Fearing for their lives, the residents of the complex must band together. A young trans woman, a suicidal middle-aged writer, a lonely Vietnam vet, a newlywed couple, an elderly widow, a single mother and her son, two on-the-run criminals and the serial killer known as The Exit. Eleven strangers. The only thing they have in common is the unstoppable horde that wants to kill them. If they are to make it through the night, they must fight back.

With two novels out this year and a successful podcast Brian Keene has been earning his Grandmaster of Horror award. Hitting the road this year with a tour to promote both Pressure his return to mass market publishing and Complex a paperback on Deadite our mutual publisher. Keene has been on the road alot promoting these books.

I listen to the horror show with Brian Keene most weeks, saw Brian Live here in San Diego and read both novels. To say I am a fan is not a stretch. It's funny I think in many ways Pressure was better written of the two but overall The Complex is the better story. Both were fun reads worthy of your time but I suspect The Complex with it's interesting characters will appeal more to the readers of this blog.

I liked the concept of the novel which anyone who listens to the podcast understands is inspired by an apartment building Keene lived in a few years back. There is a a horror writer character who stands in for Keene and the novel from my understanding ties many of his fictional works together more like F.Paul Wilson's Secret History of the World than Dark Tower.

My favorite aspects of the novel related to the character the Exit who is Keene's fictional serial killer. It made me realize I had not read enough of Keene's back catalog. I read books here and there. I realized that this novel would be stronger if I understood his whole catalog.

The concept is that Crazies or 28 days later style madness comes to the community and together the very different residents of Pine Village have fight together. Meth-heads, a Trans woman, a horror writer, a single mother a serial killer are all neighbors in Keene's universe. As a person who lives in apartment building the idea that I don't know my neighbors and how interesting it would be to struggle to survive beside them makes for a excellent horror concept.

The novel is written like a huge action piece, with unrelenting pace. This is the power of the novel. Is it's Keene's best? No but it is alot of fun and I enjoyed myself. I was sick when I read sorry if this review is short. Thumbs up.

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