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)
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?
List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
I guess this is classified as Sci Fi..... But it was a lot more then that. The narrating was awesome. I felt like I was up on the roof relaxing with everyone at times. Thanks for all the reviews - Like a few others - I wouldn't have listened to it otherwise. I am glad I did. I can't get the voice of the God out of my head - Thanks for that Ray Porter. I thought my ears were going to bleed.
For what it's worth....... J
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 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.
I had this in my wish list for a while and finally decided to take a chance. I thought the book was headed in one direction and it went totally another. The characters are believable. There is plenty of humour and snark. I think if you enjoy a good mystery you'll love this book.
Say something about yourself!
Cline has written a wonderfully creepy story that nevertheless manages to have a sense of humor, but be warned that if you live in an old apartment building you may never see it quite the same way again. Every quirky thing about it will make you wonder what is REALLY going on under the stairs or behind the closed doors (my visits while listening to this to a family member's apartment in the Village in NYC, with its crooked stairs and strange idiosyncrasies on each floor, were a bit weird). The mystery builds at just the right pace, and the best part of the book is the run up to the reveal. Once the monster in the closet, so to speak, is let out, the story becomes less original and less engaging, although you still won't want to turn it off. The ending is quite satisfying just the same, and on the whole this is one of the more original ways I've seen of treating old Lovecraftian themes of cosmic horrors just behind the veil of normality. Ray Porter's narration is also solid, with pacing and style that fits the story well. One last recommendation: If you like this story and its themes, then you should definitely check out "The Atrocity Archives," by Charles Stross, which is similarly Lovecraftian, but with a solid dose of some serious mathematics to ground the tale.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
This book is amazing...... loved how i got hocked to it.... loved how there are sooo many weird things going on in that world....
oh.... and love how each character is weird and has their own secret...
This was fantastic, I enjoyed it throughly. Its one of those I'm so glad I got this books. If you like Dean Koontz you will like this. definitly want more. Worth you time cash/credit
Tell us about yourself!
First, this is mild in terms of sci-fi or fantasy.
Second, in my opinion, this belongs in the young adult category. Some hand holding, kissing, reference to spending the night together, but nothing graphic.
I was engaged for about two thirds of the book. Then it got lame, like the author lost his muse. I was vested in the characters, but many just withered away.
When I am really into a book I can listen for up to 6 hours per day. When it took me 4 days to listen to the last three hours, I knew it was really bad.
The narrator did an admirable job with the material. In fact, he's probably the reason I trudged through to the end.
Say something about yourself!
Like many other reviewers, I am trying very hard not to write any spoilers, this is a book best walked into without prior knowledge; to discover with the characters. Overall I found this to be a fun book, full of mystery, twists and turns. I am not typically into mysteries but this one was just superb.
I didn't see it as terribly sci-fi until near the end, prior to that it is unraveling the mystery of the building. The main sci-fi section I didn't love, and I was continuously yelling "why don't you do X!" at the main characters (they got there eventually, just took some time). I also didn't like that it left too many unanswered questions. Like they never explained why certain apartments had some quirks, or even what the quirks were in other apartments.
This book is worth the credit.
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.
A brilliant read - very spooky in parts and full of mystery! A fun and entertaining book which the narrator brings alive with an excellent performance. I just wish the book was longer as I didn't want it to 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.
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