Saturday, 23 May 2015

14 by Peter Clines

Keywords: mystery, science fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ story, ★★★★☆ narration

by Peter Clines
read by Ray Porter

Publisher's summary:

"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...."

My own impressions:

A contemporary science fiction novel set  in a creepy, old apartment building where every apartment has its own mysterious phenomenon to solve? Heck yeah, gimme gimme!

I had very high expectations going into this story, and for the most part, it didn't let me down. It's very original, fluently written, entertaining, and never boring. Full of suspense and mystery. The only thing that stood out for me in a not-so-good way was one scene that was so cliché I immediately thought "Oh no, please tell me you didn't! I've read and seen this elsewhere so many times, I know how this is going to go..." at its start, and then it went exactly the way I'd predicted, and I was disappointed. In a story otherwise so fresh and original, that scene felt like even more of a let-down. On the other hand, it was just one scene and only took up a fraction of the story's length, while the rest of the book was, at least to me, very interestingly original. So, four stars for the story.

Ray Porter did a really good job bringing the different characters to life during dialogue, but the actual "narration" parts - everything other than dialogue, that is - sounded to me quite flat and even a bit mechanical. So, four stars for the narration also.

In conclusion, I recommend this book to anyone who is not averse to suspenseful (in parts, almost scary) stories of the paranormal and extra-terrestrial and who is looking for something fresh and interesting in that field.