Pros: My favorite blend: SF, horror, and adventure
Cons: Some slow spots
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In Peter Clines’s 14 Nate finds himself moving into a suspiciously cheap apartment in LA. The neighbors are quite the group: the artist who likes to sun herself on the roof deck in the nude (Xela); the hacker who arranges free wi-fi for the building (Veek); the mysterious ‘book publisher’ who displays unusual skills (Tim), and more. The building holds secrets; more than one door is locked with a series of deadbolts and/or padlocks. There’s a room no one rents because people have died there. The hacker’s room is always 69 F, no matter the time of year or anything she tries to do to alter it. There are no power lines coming to the building, yet it has no power problems. Nate and the others gradually become obsessed with finding out what’s going on, and that obsession may kill them–and take the rest of the world with them.
This is the second of Clines’s books that I’ve read; 14 takes place in the same world as The Fold but tells a different story. I really enjoy these books; in part that’s because they scratch a very particular itch. I love a certain blend of science fiction, horror, and adventure, and Clines gets that mix just right.
Things start a little slowly as we get to know the inhabitants of the apartment building. I enjoyed this part–the characters are fun and interesting. One of the things I really like is that although Nate is the driving force, or trigger, that gets all of these people exploring their building’s secrets, the others end up jumping in too. It isn’t the standard thing where two people try to investigate something and everyone else is too scared or in denial to join in; this is a nice ensemble cast piece.
Soon the residents are exploring mysterious tunnels beneath the building, discovering writing on the walls hidden by layer after layer of paint, and opening doors that definitely should not be opened! There’s a touch of steampunk to the book, a twist of Lovecraftian horror, and a really interesting group of determined people. I particularly like the fact that there are some relationships that develop that aren’t the seemingly obvious ones. The characters are fun; they each have their own breaking points, their own actions and reactions, to what’s going on.
While I found 14 easier to put down than The Fold, it’s still pretty riveting in places, and it too made me want to read more by Clines. It seems I’ve found an author who likes just the sort of stories I do!