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 am an audiobook enthusiast who reviews audiobooks for his blog, The Guilded Earlobe. You can find me on Twitter @guildedearlobe talking about zombies, robots, monkeys and audiobooks.
Read the full review at my blog The Guilded Earlobe:
I have become quite a big fan of Ray Porter’s narration style, and his rich voice. Porter is one of my favorite first person narrators. He understands that speech isn’t always fluid and flawless, but includes affectations, and inconstant pacing. Porter can do more with a pause and a sigh, than many narrators can do with poetry. Yet, this was the first time I have listened to Porter read a novel written in the third person. I wondered if his style would be as good of a fit with this type of tale as it is with his first person narration. Thankfully, I can report that it totally was. Porter perfectly captures all of Clines strange collection of characters. It was interesting to see Porter, who I know best as the voice of Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger, bring to life a character that is basically soft spoken and unsure of himself. Yet, Porter does more than capture the main character Nate well, but allows the soft voice he creates for him to grow stronger as the book moves on, highlighting the transformation of the character. One of Porter’s other strong suits is voicing exotic women, and that serves him well with the lead female character Veek. In fact, each character is given a voice that highlights their personalities and place in this story, which was very helpful with such a large cast of important characters. And I can’t talk about the ending. Really, what Porter does with the final third of the book is just nightmare inducing. It seriously freaked me out, people. Peter Clines novels are always highly visual, with intricately detailed action that comes across splendidly in audio. 14 is one of those books where even if you already read the print version, experiencing the audio version will bring it own rewards.
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Books like this one are the reason I keep taking chances on unknown (to me) authors and books. I really enjoyed the building of the mystery and the mystery of the building and the references to pop culture. It really helped pass the workday and held my attention throughout. I really enjoyed the performance and had fun listening.
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 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.
Love a good book. I am usually reading one and listening to one in my car (not at the same time, of course). I like just about any fiction.
I have listened to a lot of audio books and I have never felt compelled to share a review about any of them. That is not to say they were not great or that I didn't enjoy them and it is not an insult to those books but rather a testament as to how much I enjoyed 14. I have never read anything from this author before and I am not sure why I choose this book. I read the description and though it sounded interesting.
I was sucked in right away. I found myself taking the long way to and from the office. I was listening to it while doing yard work, I just didn't want to stop listening. I don't want to give anything away so I will not go into any plot lines. All of the characters are well developed and I found myself interested in all of them. I enjoyed the bond that builds between them as the story goes on. The plot was unique and mysterious. The narrator was fantastic and I think really makes the story come to life. Overall, it was one of the very best audio books I have listened to and I would encourage people to take a chance on this one.
I know I'm coming late to this book. There are thousands before me, but I can't stand not to put my 2 cents worth in. I am a woman. I find many male science fiction authors uncongenial because they seem to care more about their hardware (guns, spaceships, etc.) than about their characters. All too many of their characters are without personality or any characteristic which would mark them as actual people with pasts.
On the other hand, I find all too many female science fiction and fantasy authors uncongenial because they are merely dressing up their romance novels with lame science fiction or fantasy trappings. They have put in far too little thought about such trivialities as plot and world building and too much into descriptions of the hero's manly pecs.
Peter Clines has found the perfect middle ground. The ideas, plot, and hardscape are intricate, well thought out--amazing even. And yet the characters are also well imagined. Each character has her or his own personality. They bring a myriad of abilities to contribute to the solution of the various problems.
I highly recommend this book.
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!
So you have a diverse cast of poor to barely-middle-class Los Angelenos living in an old apartment building in which everyone is willing to ignore the occasional creepiness and green cockroaches because the rent is ridiculously cheap. When new guy Nate moves in, just another wage slave working in a dead-end temp database entry job, he actually starts taking an interest in the strange mysteries of the place, like the rental agent who turns out to be an actress, the doors that don't go anywhere, the absence of a connection to the city power grid, etc.
He makes friends with his neighbors, and slowly they all become involved in solving the mystery. Half the book is character spotlights, from Veek, the minimum-wage worker who has high-powered cluster computers in her apartment, to Xela, the nudist who dyes her hair in day-glow colors with matching carpet and drapes. Tim, the guy with all kinds of secret agent skills who says he used to be a small book publisher. And Andrew, the creepy Bible freak. There has to be a creepy Bible freak.
The other half of the book is plot, as the Scoobies go about solving the mysteries. And find it's turtles all the way down. All I need to do is drop the word "Lovecraftian" and I've pretty much told you all you need to know about the story and whether or not you're interested.
Is this a brilliant, genre-breaking, or Hugo-worthy novel? No. But it's a pacey adventure with a little romance, a little death, a little SAN loss. The big reveals make sense, given the necessary suspension of disbelief, and Peter Clines has created a consistent world in need of saving.
I've come to rely on Peter Clines to deliver good dark fun with straightforward prose and storytelling in gleeful genre mash-ups, and that's what 14 is. So: Lovecraftian adventure in a creepy old Los Angeles apartment building. You in or not?
As a mom of teenagers, I spend a lot of time in the car, and a lot of that time is spent listening to Audible. Because of that, I tend to listen to a lot of YA novels, and my reviews will include the "Mom View" of cussing, sexuality, etc...
I bought this while it was on sale, & I'm glad I did. I wasn't really sure where the story would take me, and was delightfully surprised along with the characters as their investigations deepened. The characters were well developed, and Porter did a great job with the voices, so that they were all easily distinguishable from one another. He also made it easy to picture the characters and events in my head. I would definitely recommend this to others.
**Not, however, for YA listeners. This novel has plenty of cussing in it, and even one (none too steamy) sex scene.
I love Clines Ex heroes series but this wasn't for me; the story was structured a bit poorly and jumped all over the place.
An excellent mystery story jumping to an alternative dimension story fractured the experience for me.
Brilliantly narrated apart from the "big evil" which sounded like golem with a sore throat!
I would have changed the climax to keep it in the real world with experiences of alternative dimensions.
I'm not saying it's a bad book, but it's not fantastic.
"Very pleasantly surprised"
When I saw the description for this it piqued my interest and as I had a spare couple of credits I decided to take a chance on it.
I am so pleased that I did.
The story kept me guessing most of the time and the narration was excellent. There were many surprises along the way and I did enjoy how the characters were developed.
I didn't realise that Peter Clines was the authour of Ex-heroes which I had previously enjoyed. I'll be looking at getting more of his in the future.
the second half
the path of the story from about the middle
It started well with interesting scientific connections and was looking like a good thriller, but became more and more disconnected from plausibility as it progressed. It started out as one thing and became something wholly different.
"LOST - the novel"
This book relay has that "cant put it down" factor! As more and more mysterious happenings are revealed i found myself shouting "what is this building!"
This book reminded me a lot of the LOST TV series especially towards the ending where it gets a little bit crazy. If your not a fan of sci-fi then this book is not for you, but to all others I would definitely recommend.
The narration is also fantastic, one of the best I've listened to in fact, many different male, female and ethnic characters and Ray Porter does a brilliant job bringing them to life.
"King +Tarantino + Lovecraft + Lost = 14"
I liked the interaction between the main characters. My headline mentions Tarantino and Stephen King. The book as the smart talking banter of a QT film, the characters riffing on Scooby Doo, Lost etc. Like Stephen King it features well rounded characters who are in events well over their heads. You care for them when things start going wrong and I guarantee you'll be rooting for at least one of them to come out of the events in one piece! King was also a huge fan of Lovecraft and the Eternal Gods and that influence is strong in 14. The book also is comparable to the TV show Lost because you aren't sure what is going on and you want to know why the government is covering up the events in the house.
The walk down the tunnels below the house was really well read. Its where the books mystery is begun to be revealed.
It would give away too much of the plot to reveal that! I think the strength of the book is until at least half way through you're not really sure what the mystery of the house is.
I listened to 14 over two shifts and I think you could quite easily be drawn into the book and listen to it in one go! The first half you're trying to figure out what's going on at the house and by the second half you want to know who survives. The book opens with a narrative enigma and you hope its not your favourite character that is involved in that sequence!
Kudos to Ray Porter for a great narration. There are some scenes where there are half a dozen people discussing what is happening and its easy to follow because Porter gives each character their own voice.
wow , whatever you have just been reading, this will something completely different.
For once I had no idea at all what was going to happen in this story. Some people have compared this to the tv series lost , allthough I can understand why , I don't totally agree because this one makes much more sense.
It's intriguing and exciting throughout.
great narration .
"Scooby Doo meets Dr Who and saves the world"
I brought this book on the basis of the reviews. How anyone can say this is a "thrilling", "gripping" or "nerve wracking" listen is beyond me. I suppose if you like characters who repeat parrot fashion "language please" every time they say "dam" or "hell", then it would appeal. In fact Im sure I have seen a similar Scooby Doo show where they save the world from the evil mutants and/or discover a time machine. Maybe the time machine is Doctor Who, although the Tardis is truly wonderful. Personally thought it was just truly awful. In fact I didn't even finish it, I suddenly asked myself "why are you listening to this drivel"? and then decided to delete it. Heads up to the narrator who did his best with this nonsense.
"Still sitting in the car 10 minutes after arriving"
I listen to audio books while I drive and often measure the quality of the book by how much respect I give to stopping the playback upon arrival. Some books I'll just pause as soon as I stop, mid sentence, mid word, they tend not to be great. Others I'll wait until a paragraph end - these candidates consider themselves "a good read".
I found myself still sat in the car 10 minutes after reaching my destination with 14. Great characters, an enthraling story and some really great plot twists left me always wanting more. While not without some minor plot holes this book is just plain entertaining.
"Starts as a puzzle and ends as all out madness"
Just wonderfully mad, as if the author starts out to create a X files creepy thriller then gets all Lovecraft berserk and goes sailing into la la madness... Great fun.
"A Twist at Every Corner"
Gripping, Innovative, Surreal.
Hmm, there's not really anything I've read that compares, It's an original tale.
He reads the book well and conjours up the different characters with his voices.
Yes! Although I couldn't but I looked forward to each listening session to find out what was going to happen next. A real edge-of-the-seat ride, and you WILL NOT get the ultimate twist in the tale.
If you like science fiction and want something original, buy this audiobook.
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