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)
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Well written, highly imaginative, apocalyptic thriller, ably narrated by Ray Porter. Listen, and you can expect several hours of entertaining diversion ... IF ...
You suspend disbelief in the fantastic. This plot moves from engaging mystery to wild apocalyptic fantasy. Let me repeat: WILD apocalyptic fantasy. You have to drink the Kool-Aid for this plot to work. AND
You also suspend logic and critical thinking. Here is the greatest flaw in this novel. Fantasy is not an excuse for sloppy plot development. And as well written as this novel is, it is bloated with illogical or unexplained plot elements, and not a few distracting contrivances.
If you think me overly harsh, consider just a few examples (minor spoilers follow):
~ Do we really believe that a government so concerned about a particular building that it would track public inquiries would not have more capable agents on site?
~ Do we really believe the same government would go to such extraordinary lengths to screen tenants and NOT track or arrest the cult whose actions it fears most?
~ And don't we find the explanation from the mysterious "owner" at the end to be a little too contrived, relying a bit too much on the "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you" contrivance.
Nonetheless, if you can, you should accept the world of 14, turn off that part of your brain that demands logic and internal consistency, and take this ride. It is a wild one.
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?
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!!!!
This mystery of a weird rooming house with strange happenings looked like it might be fun at first with a bit of mystery and quirky characters, but those characters never got interesting after the intro, and the plot was very slow moving. I think had I been a 14 year old boy, I might have liked this. The dialog was snappy. After listening to more than half, I found myself thinking more about what I'd listen to next, so I stopped and got a new book.
At the risk of being obnoxious, I'd say this book "jumped the shark" about half way through.
It started as a well-written and interesting urban psuedo-fantasy mystery. I was curious about what was hidden behind the strange occurrences and was drawn along with the characters.
However, as the mystery was revealed, it got odder and odder. Eventually it stretched my ability to suspend my disbelief. Not necessarily because the circumstance became so surreal (and they did) but because the characters, for the most part, took it all so well--as if it were just another challenge to overcome.
All in all it kept me entertained, but I'll think twice before buying another book from this author.
Like a lot of books, this one starts out great, so good in fact I was already looking at other titles written by this author. The dialog is great, the characters extremely well crafted eccentric and imbued with great chemistry. The story takes off and begins to take you into the world of the apartment, building some great creepyness with what the troop finds. I do not want to give out any plot spoilers so I will just say that for a bit the books takes things into the surreal just a bit to far, it crosses the line into silly, then comes back. I was bummed by that because the book overall is really good, there is tension, a great storyline that is unique, well crafted dialog and evidence that the author has talent actually writing, that segment though dampers the experience a great deal, does not ruin the book but takes it out of the four or five star category. As a mention, the narration is well done and fits the mood and characters of the story very well.
Recommended with a sigh at what could have been a great book, but what is in fact only a pretty good book
This book starts out with a great premise. Kind of an X-Files, or Twilight Zone vibe. Unfortunately the writing is not very good. People are continually saying and doing things that just ring false and contrived. Every time that happened, it took me out of the story, and it happens OFTEN. It's irritating. Several times I almost stopped listening.
The other complaint I have is that, once the big secret is revealed there are about 10 or so more chapters, and everything from that point on is utterly predictable. Basically, once you get to the big reveal, you can pretty much stop listening. Just imagine how the story would be resolved if it were a Disney movie, and you've got it.
Also, there are a LOT of loose ends. Many of the "oddities" that set up the premise of the story are never explained, at least not to my satisfaction.
The narrator does a good job. I liked that all the characters are given very distinct voices.
Like many reviewers have said. this book takes a left turn about 2/3's in. Not long before that point, most readers will have realized that there is absolutely no way this plot will ever come together neatly. Even venturing into an alternate universe is insufficient to bring it all together. Probably the biggest loose end for me was why this magical building is not being carefully studied by scientists 24/7. Especially because someone has seen fit to develop spare parts!!
The narrator (Ray Porter) is really amazing and the only thing that made me stay with the book to the end.
I hate writing this kind of review because I know it's probably not helpful -- I can't totally recommend this novel...but I can't tell you to stay away either. The writing is OK. The plot is imaginative. (The performance, as is customary for Ray Porter, is terrific.) And yet...
As other reviewers have already pointed out, the plot takes a somewhat bizarre twist (not totally unexpected for me, perhaps simply because I had read the other reviews). It is not really science-fiction, but it's not "horror" (as you would perhaps expect from the initial plot of X-number of individuals living in a building where unexplained things seem to happen), The twist makes the novel fall somewhere in limbo, genre-wise, making it harder to like.
The novel starts out slow. Much happens before anything really does. In a way, this is not totally bad because, by the time the characters seem to be in danger, you find yourself actually caring for them. Still, it does drag at times...And some of the characters remain cartoony till the end.
Perhaps the novel could have used another edit -- or more careful plotting ahead of time.
And yet...I did finish it and it kept me hooked at times.
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 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.
"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.
"It's locked for a reason!!!!"
It's been a while since I got totally immersed in an audiobook. This didn't really stand out to me, I only got it as it was in the sale, but I'm glad I did!
Nate works as a temp, going nowhere with no cash, so when cheap digs are offered he grabs them. Once he moves in, he starts to meet his neighbours and they soon realise that not one room in the whole building is structurally the same. Not only that, the building doesn't appear to be attached to the power grid and nobody's heard of the landlord.
I can't go into too much without spoiling it, but needless to say the atmosphere when they go past the basement and into room 14 is so tense you'll need to put the light on!
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...
"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!
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.
"really unexpected, loved it all."
I loved this book. Not what I expected at all. The narrator was wonderfully. The story kept me guessing. I ended up sitting in my car in the driveway with people staring at me because I wanted to hear what happened next.
Hmmm... that's a hard one. It reminded me a bit of the TV series Lost.
Every character had a distinct voice and even one word replies were easily identifiable. Especially enjoyed his portrayal of Tim the "retired publisher" and Roger the laid back "dude". This narrator is a safe pair of hands.
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 ...
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