14 by Peter Clines

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 neighbour 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…

3 stars *** (some spoilers ahead)

I listened to this as an audio book and really enjoyed the narrator’s voice. Ray Porter was the perfect voice to put behind this novel. I have to say this may be the oddest book I have ever read. I struggled to finish this book even though it was filled with hilarious one liners that made me laugh out loud:

“I’ve got a thing about heights.”
Nate glanced at her. “I thought you had a thing about bugs?”
“I’ve got more than one thing, it’s allowed.”
“You were okay up in the loft, said Debbie.
“Because the loft is a nice big space with guard rails,” Veek said. “A ladder’s a flag pole with delusions of grandeur.”

There seemed to be little emotion in most the characters, outside Nate and the women,  just this ongoing dialogue of crazy unexplained phenomenons in the building.  No explanations, no evidence and there was no real mystery just a series of crazy unexplained facts about a building that just kept building up until suddenly bam it was all is there and the book is finished in the next 15 chapters (mind you this book is around 87 chapters).

In the beginning of the book I was interested, I really wanted to help Nate figure out why his building had these oddities and weird cockroaches (which was never explained). Before the midpoint I was done with the oddities I wanted the book to move towards a reason and a resolution. In the end I was just relieved that the torture of weirdness about the apartments was concluded. No emotional investment over what the characters had gone through or survived. Stereotypical characters and plot points outside of Nate and Veek had me groaning oh god this is what is going to happen next. Cue guy who could fix everything suddenly dying. Or the nice guy next door who just oddly picked up the ability to do everything from pick locks to speak Russian all because he was a “publisher”. The secret agent conveniently waiting for you right after everything is done and said and you just whispered their name (kind of like whispering Bloody Mary in a mirror).

I though seem to be among the minority and most people adored this novel. There are endless raving reviews online for you to look through on Goodreads and Amazon. To me this will always be a book that failed to define itself as it tried to mix love story, horror novel and mystery while maintaining some semblance of cohesiveness. It very much made me think of the adult version of Scooby Doo it played off as a joke the book. Jinkies they stumbled into another mess and surprisingly through random chance got away.

Check this out on Goodreads.


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