Written by: Tyler Reedy
When I initially opened Peter Clines’ “14” I broke the first rule of any avid reader: I read the last few pages first. I was kicking myself for breaking this rule and was struggling with the first 15 or so pages. Fortunately for me, “14” pulled me in so fast I couldn’t look back. It became one of those books that when it comes time to close the covers you just have to read one more chapter. In this case it’s a wonderful thing and I had some of my best late-night hours reading despite my early mistake.
This book is about Nate. He’s your run of the mill guy. Single, dead-end job, just struggling to get by in Los Angeles when he suddenly has to move out. By sheer luck he’s told of a lovely brownstone called the Kavach Building. The rent is low, closer to work, and even the utilities are included. So what could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot can go wrong… some very weird things at work here. Missing power cables, odd layouts, and a door that isn’t a door are some of the more mild ones. Mutant iridescent cockroaches seem of a more strange kind if you ask me. When Nate meets his neighbors who share in his curiosity they start to put things together, things that lead to a mystery bigger than any of them could have imagined. A mystery that their property manager doesn’t want revealed any time soon (and for a good reason). I want to just pour out more details but I can’t ruin this great of a book for anyone.
Clines does a great job of fleshing out the characters, making them feel real. Each person has their own personality and style that run the gamut from conservative self-righteous church-goer to rebelling tattooed nudist, cantankerous elderly woman to reclusive Indian computer nerd. While this is principally a mystery/horror novel, humor abounds and pervades all the dialogue. Not only that but the humor is organic and not forced, like if you were just hanging out with your friends having a chuckle. The details of these people also seem spot on when it comes to their occupations and I never found myself thinking there was a mistake.
Lovecraft fans will definitely appreciate this book, particularly towards the end. As a Mythos fan, I found myself wanting for more of this type of horror especially since at it’s core, this book touches on the apocalyptic. While 14 is suspenseful as a mystery/horror novel, you won’t find too much in the way of guts and gore and it’s perfectly acceptable (especially) for those who find themselves squeamish or prefer their violence on the lighter side. The mystery aspect is also a major factor and those who love when a books plot just comes together in harmony will be greatly satisfied. Clines does a wonderful job of explaining why things are the way they are and while a couple mysteries go unsolved I’m still greatly satisfied. This comes from a book lover who absolutely abhores plot holes and unexplained phenomena.
In the end, I’m very happy I read this near-perfect book and already have another of his on my wish list. I urge anyone who enjoys horror or mystery to pick up this 370 page joy ride. Move in and unravel the mysteries of the Kavach Building for yourselves.
Order 14 online right here.
Rating: 4.5 / 5