FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker's fee.
Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment. Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it's too good to pass up. Big mistake.
Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs... or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she's going mad - until a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell.
©2011 Ben H. Winters (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Bedbugs is a pretty standard horror. A young family moves into a new home and it seems like a dream come true, until of course things start to go wrong. Strange smells, strange noises, strange neighbours, and increasing tension within the family itself. Where it differs from a lot of horror, however, is that this time it's the mother, rather than the father, who is affected by the new place and whose sanity slowly starts to unravel and turn her against her own family.
I really liked this different perspective on the classic horror narrative. I liked the family at the centre, and loved Susan and Alex's relationship, making it hard to watch it start to unravel. True, Susan thinks some awful things even before she starts to go crazy, but that didn't make her an awful character - I found her to be incredibly realistic, actually. Everyone has bad thoughts they wouldn't ever say out loud, and it was kind of refreshing to see them on the page. I also really related to Susan's own guilt and anxiety, particularly about her painting - she left her job to focus on her art, and finds a million things to instead so she doesn't have to begin and risk failure. I wasn't expecting to connect so much on an emotional level in a simple horror story, but I guess deep down good horror is about everyday anxieties amplified.
Which I suppose is why this book puts the hysteria over bedbugs that happened in New York a couple of years ago at front and centre. It's a good device, a threat that most people recognise, and yet I do feel like it wasn't used entirely effectively here. What was most interesting was Susan's inner chaos, and the bedbugs could have been substituted with any kind of threat or annoyance, really. They didn't form an essential part of the story. If anything they made Susan's unravelling seem a little more unrealistic, because not a lot actually happens regarding bedbugs before she's totally freaking out over them and becoming obsessive. I get that there were other things affecting her but it just seemed a little ridiculous in spots.
There's a slow build to this book that I quite liked but it did drag in spots. It was very creepy for the most part but sometimes I just wanted something to happen. But when something did happen I was a little disappointed, the creepiness disappeared and it just felt a little... silly. I still liked it overall but I didn't LOVE it.
The narration for the most part was very good. Elisabeth Rodgers captured Susan's voice really well and the supporting characters were great, with one exception - Emma, Susan and Alex's daughter. I get that it's hard for a grown woman to do a toddler's voice but it really got on my nerves. I think part of that was also the writing - some of the dialogue coming from Emma just didn't sound authentic to me, it was frequently overly cutesy, like how someone thinks a toddler would sound and not how a toddler actually sounds. But otherwise it was a pretty good listening experience.
I really didn't like this book. I think the author had few good ideas (which makes me give the book 2 stars instead of 1) but wasn't able to execute them properly. My main critique is that the book doesn't know what it wants to be - is a haunted house story, a thriller or journey into one persons growing madness? Of course blends of genres can work, but in this case they don't.
A fun listen. I totally identified with the main character as I'm always imaging vermin in my house. I did feel sorry for her as I know she was miserable. I was a psychiatric nurse and I know the torture a person suffers when no one else believes their fears. You'll have to listen to the book to find out if there really were bedbugs.
I liked the plot twists the best, that was probably the only thing that kept me listening. I did not relate to the main character. She struck me as selfish
I listen to a lot of thriller/suspense fiction and this was just plain nonsense. Seriously. I understand that this genre requires a suspension of reality (which I love and do on a regular basis) but this was just plain stupid. Demonic bedbugs? Shame on me for buying it in the first place. I am embarrassed that I spent a credit on it. Get the book from the library and read it for free if you are so inclined just don't listen to the overly dramatically read, silliness that is this book.
Elisabeth Rodgers is definitely one of those narrators who delivers and execute each character she is giving she did an excellent job Any book narrated by her is worth a try
Throughout the book I found myself getting really annoyed at the main character but her character also kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time which made the book enjoyable
I listened to this book in one sitting I really liked it and it was worth the credit for the for the moment. It did deliver on suspense as I said and kept me on the edge of my seat although I more than likely will not listen to it again just because
My husband and I listen to this book since there were rumors of his favorite director working on a screen play for it. The book gave me the chills, so I can't wait to see it on the screen! Great concept and good twists!
I used to whistle while I worked. Now I read a book!
Probably, lots of twists and turns. left me unsure.
I'm not sure how I feel about the story. I couldn't tell at the end if the bedbugs were real or if she was just crazy as a bedbug. lol
No, this was a first
I could picture it on FearNet of Chiller
Happiness is a good book!
This book scared the pudding out of me very vivid and well written. Bed bugs could happen to anybody.
if the story didn't go by the numbers to a painfully obvious conclusion, i'd like it more.
The characters were obvious and shallow in their relationship to each other, and the source of evil that causes the mayhem is unconvincing without the cliches that couch it.
rich, caricature, interesting
The anxiety of the main character was interesting, as one wasn't sure if it was insanity, or a supernatural reality tormenting the protagonist's mind. This was maintained for a little while.
The narrator has a wonderful voice, but her voice for male, baby, old lady etc. is so over the top, I would have been more persuaded if I was 5 and it was story time. She has read more than one book like this, unfortunately.
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