Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: "14" by Peter Clives

Every now and again, someone blindsides me with a recommendation. I get exposed to a book that really takes root in my psyche and burrows into my imagination. It messes with my mind to the point where I walk around in the real world and I think about the book to a point where I wonder what life would be like if the book were real and the circumstances part of my everyday life.

"14" was recommended by a friend and I picked it up off of Amazon in a glut of purchases for my BART commute.

I wasn't sure what to expect with it, so I let it sit for about a week then took it on BART one morning.

I think I managed to stretch it out four days.

And that was a struggle.

So "14" is... um... hm. One review I read suggested it has a lot in common with "Lost" (when "Lost" was good). That's a fair representation.

If "Lost" had been set in a Los Angeles apartment building instead of a desert island, it would share a lot with "14". If it had a torrid affair with H.P. Lovecraft's works, that would fit too.

Where it differs is that "Lost" got... um... lost... in its own mythology and mystery. "14" doesn't have that problem. From the get-go, Peter Clives knows where the story is going and just what the mystery is.

"14" is the story of a number of people living in an apartment building that's got cheap rent and a number of oddities. Several of the rooms are quite odd. A few are padlocked shut. The landlord is uncommunicative on just who owns the building and it's got some seriously-weird pests.

One of the tenants, an everyday guy in a dead-end job, starts poking around and, in the process, befriends his neighbors.

And then things get weird.

And then things go horribly, horribly wrong.

"14" is the sort of book that I kind of want to see as a well-done mini-series on TV. And by "on TV", I mean by a network that has a lot of flexibility, like HBO, or by an alternate offering like Netflix.

It's a riveting story, and I really hate using "riveting" in a sentence. I highly recommend it if you like contemporary thrillers with really weird stuff going on.

Folks who like Atomic Robo will find a few things to enjoy about "14" as well.

1 comment:

Aaron Britton said...

If you liked 14 you should read his other book Fold. Same multi-verse. But interesting protagonist.