I came across this one on Amazon and if fit all the criteria for me wanting to read it. There was a sort of mystery surrounding the novel, as the cover looked plain yet bizarre and the title was also along those same lines. Lastly, I read the description and was immediately sold.
As you know I usually like to write a brief snip-it about the author telling a little about their lives and other works. For multiple reasons I will let Mr. Clines himself tell you about his life, I got this from his website under the about me section –
Peter Clines grew up in the Stephen King fallout zone of Maine and–inspired by comic books, Star Wars, and Saturday morning cartoons–started writing at the age of eight with his first epic novel, LIZARD MEN FROM THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.
He made his first writing sale at age seventeen to a local newspaper, and at the age of nineteen he completed his quadruple-PhD studies in English literature, archaeology, quantum physics, and interpretive dance. In 2008, while surfing Hawaii’s Keauwaula Beach, he thought up a viable way to maintain cold fusion that would also solve world hunger, but forgot all about it when he ran into actress Yvonne Strahvorski back on the beach and she offered to buy him a drink. He was the inspiration for both the epic poem “Beowulf” and the motion picture-Raiders of the Lost Ark-, and is single-handedly responsible for repelling the Martian Invasion of 1938 that occurred in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. Eleven sonnets he wrote to impress a girl in high school were all later found and attributed to Shakespeare. He is the author of numerous short stories, EX-HEROES, EX-PATRIOTS, –14–, THE EERIE ADVENTURES OF THE LYCANTHROPE ROBINSON CRUSOE, and an as-yet-undiscovered Dead Sea Scroll.
I had a good laugh at that one, pretty funny. In all seriousness there is not a ton out there on this guy. He is the author of the EX-Heroes series, which I have seen on Amazon but have not read it, looks interesting though. He currently lives in California, other than that I could not find much else out there.
The story starts out in a Dan Brown sort of style, where you get a little bit of action from the characters yet you don’t kwon anything about those events. Albeit, it was not does as expertly as Brown and you quickly forget about these events as the story quickly jumps into introducing the main characters. Nate, working a dead end job entering data for a magazine subscription company is looking for a new place to live. Finally he has enough money to live by himself when a friend recommends a cheap place called the Kavach building. Nate is more than excited about the new place, its location is perfect and the low rent makes it the perfect place. Before long there are some mysterious things that he starts to notice around the building. Mutant cockroaches, locked doors, weird apartment layouts, weird writing beneath layers of paint, and a very strict maintenance supervisor named Oscar who reminds the tenants to not ask questions and keep their heads down. Nate is not alone many of the other tenants have also noticed the weirdness surrounding the Kavach building. Slowly it becomes an obsession as the tenants begin to peel back the layers of mystery surrounding the century old building. Soon the group is thrown into a situation that they had never imagined, and surprisingly the fate of the world may depend on them.
This is an interesting story and there are a lot of different elements at play. I am not sure what genre to classify this story under. There is a ton of mystery, a little bit of a thriller, and quite a bit if sifi thrown in as well. I would even add a dash of horror not in the slasher/serial murderer sense, but at times I likened parts of this story to Stephen Kinge-esque scary. I found myself a little scared wondering what was going on and if something was going to jump out from the darkness as I read each word faster and faster.
I liked the characters in the story, they are all very believable and real down to earth people. At times I found myself being annoyed with some of their personalities, to me that demonstrates that the author did a great job at portraying their personality to the reader. It is also interesting to see how the characters start to trust each other and develop a sort of bond. At the beginning there is no trust and you can tell everyone is hiding something, some more than others. Eventually they start to grow together and it is interesting to see the different backgrounds and the lives of the people that now call themselves friends and how they came together.
Despite my overall liking of this story the climax, I felt, was a little odd, for lack of a better word. Clines does an immaculate job of building this suspense and they mystery about the building, but when the puzzle pieces start to come together I was a little disappointed when the mystery started to unravel. It felt a little out of place in the story in my opinion. I was expecting something else, although I have no idea what else, but something different especially when the reader finds out what is in apartment number 14. I felt a different direction would have been better for this one, but what do I know.
I will say that the author does make a few cool references to some very famous people (Tesla and Lovecraft) and mentions how one got his ideas to write some of the most famous horror stories in history. The other through science helped bring those stories to life. I always think its fun to mix in some real world famous people and a little fantasy. If you read this one you will understand what I am talking about.
Overall this is not a bad read. The story is solid, great characters and tons of suspense and mystery, although I felt the ending was a little lack luster. As mentioned above the story does such a great job of building only to be let down with an ending that I felt did not fit. If you don’t mind some really wild turns and down for whatever while reading you will enjoy this one. If you have some free time check this one out, not a bad story.