Audie Award Nominee, Science Fiction, 2013
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 neighbor 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....
©2012 Peter Clines and Permuted Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"A riveting apocalyptic mystery in the style of LOST." (Craig DiLouie, author of The Infection and The Killing Floor)
"A wholly original story that weaves together mystery and the apocalypse like a finely tuned band." (Evan Roy, Bricks of the Dead)
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
SciFi is not my usual genre, but the almost universal rave reviews with promises that this was new and different than any other book around made me take the leap of faith. Ultimately I was both disappointed and pleased at different points in the story.
I hated the slower than molasses set-up. It took right at half the book to get beyond the introductions to the cast of characters, and as much time as the author took to work everyone into the narrative, there was little depth to any of them. You could see the broad stereotypes from central casting. The comparisons to Scoobey and the gang sounded somewhat intriguing in the reviews that I read, but especially in the front half of the book it became tiresome and trite.
Once I hit the halfway mark, things picked up considerably. There was action and the wild ride creativity that had been promised in the reviews. It was Scoobey Doo meets Dr. Who, and I mean that in a good way. (Yes, Dr. Who is my one scifi guilty pleasure). Well written, unexpected and breathtaking. The characters took on greater depth and dimension as they were (finally) given something to do.
Then I hit hour 10. After the thrilling Act 2, I wondered what the author was going to do for four more hours. That's when it hit some hard core scifi that I don't mean in a good way. The fans of the book who gave the rave reviews obviously had no problems with the turn of events. But it didn't appeal to me. I don't want to ruin anyone else's pleasure with spoilers, so I won't be specific about what disappointed me. But the movie Jaws came to mind in the sense that for most of the movie we never saw the shark, and we were scared to death. It was after we actually saw the shark that it didn't quite match our imaginations. That was the kind of let-down that I felt. True fans of Clines may be better pleased. But for my leap of faith - my bad.
I purchased this novel on a whim, primarily on the strength of it's description. It turned out to be a great investment and a pleasant surprise! It's best experienced without much knowledge of the plot as most of the fun comes from the characters (who make numerous pop culture references and even compare themselves to Scooby Doo and his pals) unraveling the mysteries of the building where they live. Cline has a to-the-point writing style, a good sense of humor and he keeps this story rolling along.
14 isn't a deep novel or a book that will blow the reader away with tremendous, in-depth characterization. It's good, fun genre fiction with a memorable cast of characters and some genuinely surprising twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I am thrilled to rate this book with 5 stars. What this book has.....
terrific character development, I got to know and cared about each and every character; story/plot, I just couldn't put this book down (what is the audio equivalent of a page turner?); intrigue and suspense, the tenants of the building have a mystery to solve that is a matter of life and death;
romance that is hip and cool and relevant, with plenty of references to current culture;
and equal to the wonderfulness of the book overall is the expert narration, I am thinking that Mr. Porter is perhaps one of the best narrators ever, he did everything right, accents, pace, tone, and inflection.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, oh I agree ......happy dance!!!!
Great reading. Characters had distinct voices and brought the story to life.
I loved the suspense and the science of the first half of the book. It was mature and I enjoyed the theory and the intellectual approach. I couldn't wait to get back to listen to more. THEN...Somewhere near the last 1/4th of the book when the characters actually discovered "the answer" and the "monsters came out of the closet" so to speak, all the suspense flew out the window and it became a silly, contrived action adventure and I was glad when it was finally over. I actually felt a little anger at this book. How could it have been so good to start off and then end in such pure cheese?
As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
After talking my my co-worker Chris into checking out some of my favorite YA books it was my turn to take him up on a recommendation – and his pick for me was WAY outside of my normal listening zone. 14 is a Lovecraftian sci-horror novel that feels pulpy and modern at the same time. There’s plenty of kitsch, and lots of old-fashioned sci-fi techniques are on display here, but the voice is still totally fresh, as is Ray Porter- who totally nails the narration. It’s one of the weirdest and best books I’ve ever listened to, and from the number of 5 star reviews it would seem our listeners agree!
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
What on earth is this book about? At 2/3 of the way through nothing had really happened, and nobody had really done anything, but I still kept reading because I wanted to know (probably as badly as the characters wanted to know): what is up with this building? And why is it titled 14? And why has it sometimes been tagged as "horror"?
That makes it sound like the first 2/3 dragged... it did not. For some reason the story kinda grabs you and pulls you in, even if it spends a lot of time keeping you in suspense as to what the story is actually about.
When I (and the characters) finally discovered what was going on, the story picked up the pace, and perhaps got a bit far-fetched... and it ended up not being at all what I thought it had to be. Of course, you have to suspend disbelief when reading. If you can do that, you should enjoy this book. It has a nice sense of foreboding and suspense and you're never really sure what's really going on.
I even liked the ending, pat though it might have been. I'd read more by this author. It is mostly sci-fi-ish, not really horror at all... There is a bit of violence, but it's not graphic or over-done. There is no sex and I don't think there was much in the way of swearing. The narration was very good.
I honestly think I lost IQ points listening to this book. The worst part was that I got sucked in initially by the reasonably suspenseful plot devices. I put up with the cardboard characters and cliched writing because I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the building. But the pay-off was so bad, so ridiculously bad, that I felt like an idiot having wasted any time on this drivel. I want my time back and the brain cells I expended in the effort. The narration was ok, although some of the accents were pretty lame. (Ray Porter's German is much better than his Indian.) I just kept wondering, "Isn't he embarrassed to be reading this?"
I understand from reading many other reviews that mine is a minority opinion. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
I think there are three things that work very well together
1. The book is full of great character development and chemistry between the residents of the building. You want them to succeed and believe they are friends.
2. The mystery unfolds at a satisfying pace and doesn't disappoint. I had a very hard time putting it down. I found myself looking for moments I could steal way to listen.
3. The writing is witty and clever.
That is very hard. They all work so well together. If I had to make a choice I would say Tim. Mainly for his patience, wisdom, and things that unfold in the book.
I have not. I was very impressed with this narrator and even looked up his other books to see if there was anything I might like. I really liked his performance!
I listen to a lot of books and a lot of those are mysteries. There comes a time when you see the same patterns being used over and over. I was getting a little tired of what was out there. This was an incredibly fresh book. I will caution people that it does have a sci-fi feel similar to the television show, "Lost". If you prefer linear police detective books over unexpected thrillers, then you may not like the content. You can't argue, however, with the superb writing and the excellent narration.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
This book is 12 hours and 42 minutes long. For the first 10 hours, I was so pleasantly surprised I couldn't believe it. It was imaginative, and mysterious, and unlike any story I'd heard before. The tenants of this bizarre apartment house become an amiable team of unlikely amateur sleuths, each of whom has their own secrets, and each of whom hold some sort of special skill or knowledge that seems to come in especially handy in this undertaking. As an added bonus, it's narrated by Ray Porter. It was like a mini-vacation at home, with this crazy fantasy romp.
Then, we hit hour 10, and a marked corner is turned. What followed was, in my opinion, a complete meltdown of everything I enjoyed about the book. It reminded me of a certain 90's sci-fi flick; one I didn't much like to begin with. I wish I could be more specific, but without giving things away, that's about as much as I can say.
Right before the plot fell apart, one of the tenants remarked that they may have figured out enough about the mysterious apartment building; Perhaps (this character suggests) they should bring the investigation to a close?
I couldn't agree more.
Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.
Although I typically read Romance Books I just loved 14! After reading so many good reviews I decided to give this one a try for something different. WOW!
I don't want to give any of the plot points away so I will just say this book is funny, scary, mysterious, creepy and a little weird. It's Dean Koontz meets Lost. Just the right blend of sci-fi and horror.
The narration is outstanding. Ray Porter did an excellent job of bringing all the characters to life (even the evil ones).
Definitely a credit worthy listen.
I didn't know what to expect with this one, I got it because I really enjoyed clines other creations.
But I quickly fell in love with the whole story, you get to know each and every character and the twists are great.
It is hard to review without giving anything away, alls I can say is very enjoyable and really well narrated to the point where you can easily pick out each character by the narration.
This was brilliant - characterisation was wonderful, plot was brilliantly woven together with lots of nice pop culture references (loved the totally throwaway "bowties are cool"), and pace was such that I stayed up much too late to find out how it would end. Ray Porter's narration was also excellent, with clear delineation of the various voices and a great line in comic timing amid all the impending horror. Off to look for more things by Peter Clines/more narration by Ray Porter...
This was an odd one for me, I really enjoyed the first 8 hours of the story a lot but the last 4 hours not so much. That's not to say the last 4 hours are terrible or anything - its fine, but its almost like a different storyline somehow. Hard to explain without spoilers really, but for me the writer had the first part of the story done really well, and the latter part not so well - but it was an interesting story well told, just seemed to go a bit odd towards the end.
Hilarious, entertaining madness.
It's impossible to put into words without giving massive spoilers, but the characters in this book have much more depth and realism about them than pretty much any other book I have ever read. I found myself sharing all their emotions, and rather than guessing the ending, was anxious to find out what they were leading to. This book is so well written, it's truly edge of your seat stuff.
Ray Porter's performance is fantastic. A couple of the accents may have been a little ropey, but he still managed to make them believable, even his women had the correct balance of strength and fragility that so many actors tend to get so wrong. His pace is perfect, and his acting highlights all the humor and / or tension that each scene requires. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of his narration.
I could've lost a whole weekend to this book. I was due to take a coach journey when I was about a third of the way through it, and decided to listen to more of it rather than my music. On the way home again I was pretty tired, and thought I would continue with the book, maybe have a doze on my way home...no chance. By the time my journey ended I was LITERALLY on the edge of my seat. The girl next to me must have thought I was crazy with all the fidgeting I was doing as events unfolded in my ears. By the time I actually got home, the story had become so intense that I was glad my other half was back from work so I didn't have to sit in the house on my own while I listened to the end.
I've been chewing all my friends ears off (figuratively) to try and get them to listen to or read this book. If you give it a chance, I promise you will too. Pretty much jumped straight into my top five favourite books and gives Neil Gaiman a damn good run for his money.
"Solid first 3/4's...dissapointing finale."
Hmmm, not really. [Spoiler free] - Ive said that the finale is dissapointing, but this has little to do with the plot/story - which was fine, if a little derivative. The build up of quiet dread, and the slow unfolding of the mystery was a lot of fun. No, it was the character's response to the events towards the end that didn't sit well. Up to the final quarter of the book, Nate and chums responded plausibly to what was going on. However, their friendly banter, and muted reactions (to what was, a roller-coaster of terror and madness), seemed more in keeping with getting lost in the woods, and not being sure if you're going to make it home that night, rather than, what was, a prolonged waking nightmare.
Putting people in bizarre, and horrifying situations, and making their responses believable, is something that writers like, Stephen King or Richard Matheson, seem to make look easy. And its essential in stories like this. Peter Clines' difficulty just highlights how hard it is to actually achieve, and the difference between writing a book thats good, and writing one thats just alright.
The narration, although a little flat and stacatto at times (during the 3rd person narration, rather than when people were 'talking'), was quality. The characters were distinct and well portrayed.
"Oh I loved this book!"
Fresh believable characters, incidental love interests that didn't detract from the story in any way! Unpredictable twists and turns, appealed to me (at 60) and my daughter (at 24) test of a good story. Different to my usual read but I'm really glad I took a chance and listened. Easy to follow without being boring, unusual concept but believable, even the weird bits!
Can't compare it to anything really, all new and very enjoyable!
Veek is very cool (not sure if that's how to spell it) she has a wicked sense of humour, Zeela is also pretty cool.
Both - I found my jaw clenching in parts, shouted out loud in the car a few times, couldn't wait to get out of work to start listening again!
Buy it if you like a good story, fantasy, suspense and laughing!
Nate moves into a new flat in a very strange apartment building. It seems that every apartment in the building is different and has something strange about it. There are the green cockroaches, the lift that has never worked, apartment 14 is padlocked, and many other strange oddities.
This was a wonderful book, with lots of twists and turns, and some fantastic ideas. And every time something new was revealed about the building I had a new theory about what was going on. I loved this book and will be looking for more books by Peter Clines.
Loved every minute of it.
Really great listen, highly recommended.
"A crafty nod to the old master"
The Kavach building is a wonderful creation set in the middle of LA. A gothic monolith filled with strangely disproportionate rooms and even odder tenants. In comes Nate, an all American loser but all round nice guy. His flat is let to him at an unfeasibly low rent,with all utilities included, but with an ominous message that people move out because things aren't quite right there. The story begins gently with Nate investigating his surroundings and meeting his fellow tenants and from then on it becomes brilliantly weird.
This story is heavily influenced by another American writer and makes no attempt to hide this.
The narrator is terrific and handles the material in exactly the right way.
I can close my eyes now and see the Kavach looming over me.
And as for number 14 ...
"Totally unexpected and unexpectedly enjoyable"
This kind of feels like two separate books but I don't actually mind that at all. It flips between the mundane and the weird and back again before exploding off into a totally unexpected direction. I can't think of anything to compare it to really: it's a bit Lost, a bit House of Leaves, a bit... it's own thing.
I like the narrator a lot. All the characters are differentiated and believable and I enjoyed his laid back tone as it lulls you into a false sense security before the weirdness kicks in.
An oddity but an interesting one. Oh, and I really appreciated all the H P Lovecraft references.
"Zoinks don't open the door!"
This was a fun, entertaining listen. With lots of twists and turns to the story, all of which managed to keep me on the edge of my seat. And seriously I would never of guessed at that ending.The author created some very memorable characters particularly liked Veek and Tim.
Ray Porters narration really brought the book to life loved his characters,they were all top quality, he did a great job with the female characters and Roger was a joy. You could easily tell them all apart, only felt his third party narration was sometimes a little flat.
All in all this was a great listen wouldn't hesitate to recommend it,well worth the credit spent. And will definitely look for more from both the author and narrator.
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