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)
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
14 is escapist slacker horror in roughly the same category as John Dies At the End, but with a less crass sense of humor. The setup is that Nate, a young guy with a dead-end temp job at a Los Angeles magazine publisher, moves into an apartment in an old building somewhere near Hollywood. The deal seems too good to be true, with cheap rent and a great roof deck.
Naturally, a few things are weird about the building. What's up with the green cockroaches with an extra leg? The permanently-closed elevator? The strangeness of the building layout? The cold spots? The tight-lipped, paranoid building manager? The padlocks on apartment fourteen?
As Nate investigates, he gradually meets his neighbors, including an exhibitionist artist who likes to sunbathe in the nude, a not-too-sharp movie crew guy, a female Indian computer hacker, a creepy religious guy, and an unusually fit older man whose backstory seems at odds with his skillset. Together, they form a mystery-solving gang, with lots of ironic Scooby Do wisecracks.
This really isn't heavyweight fiction, but I enjoyed watching the characters delve into the mysteries of the building and its basement, the constant banter between them, and Clines's imagination and humor. There's even a bit of sweetness, as romance blooms and we learn whom "Shaggy" really has the hots for (not Scooby). Audiobook narrator Ray Porter does a pretty good job of giving each significant character his or her own personality and accent.
The last act of the book takes us into some netherdimensional sci-fi/horror territory. The payoff isn't highly original or quite as much fun as everything leading up to it, but it's not bad, and that freaky tower towards the end is a great visual. Clines leaves a few threads unresolved and not everything makes complete logical sense, so perhaps there will be a sequel.
In sum, if you're looking for something deep, look elsewhere. If you want an audiobook that's fun to relax to, but has wit and a little creepiness, this is a great pick.
I really like this story, until it went off the rails about 75% of the way through. It really was too bad. I liked all the major characters a lot. They were believable and credible. They reacted to weird developments like normal people would. I don't even have a problem with the notion of the building being more than it appears. But once they go through the door into Apartment 14 ... well, the author's story unravels into increasing silliness. I could come up with half a dozen ending scenarios that would make more sense than what's written.
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.
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.
I bought this audiobook based on the great reviews. I was intrigued at the beginning by the story and the characters were interesting but the story went nowhere fast and where it ended up was just plain dumb. Overall was it was mildly entertaining for a short period but a waste of about 8 hours
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
If you’ve enjoyed Peter Clines "Ex-Heros" zombie-thriller series, (or even if you haven’t) be forewarned...this novel does not read in the same exciting way at the beginning. “14” is a real change-up and has a slow start. There’s a lot of build up in character and plot development. I was seriously considering giving up the first hour or 90 minutes in and I’m glad I didn’t. Narrator Ray Porter does a spectacular job of drawing the listener in to what can be an all nighter. When the mutant cockroaches, odd lightbulbs, lack of city power and mysterious cryptic notes on the apartment walls were introduced, I became more interested.
As Nate, the primary protagonist, talks to other tenants of the building where he has just rented his apartment, they discover several of them have become interested in oddities that don’t make any sense. When the mutant cockroaches, odd lightbulbs, lack of city power tunnels and caves underneath the building and mysterious cryptic notes are introduced along with a small dose of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Kids I became more interested. Their old apartment building has a past and the mixed group of tenants decide to research the unusual history of their residence.
If I wrote any more about the plot, my review would become a spoiler so suffice it to say that it’s a completely enjoyable listen about regular people who begin, almost for fun, a search to discover why strange things happen in their average apartment building. The character development moves along as the story develops and a slow story becomes exciting. I can see this easily as a movie or even TV series
it’s a horror story-also sci-fi, some mystery, occasionally funny, potentially post apocalyptic and even romantic that is a super fun listen. This is a good read for almost anyone.
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.
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.
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.
The first seven hours of this audiobook were a constant internal struggle for me as I debated whether to stop then and ask Audible for a refund or keep listening in the hope it would get better. Curiosity got the better of me and I kept listening until the end. Now I wish I had spent the past 12 hours listening to something different.
The first 6 to 7 hours were mind-numbingly tedious and unsuspenseful. The most menacing moments were when the building manager would growl angrily at the tenants in a thick German accent. (If that does not sound suspenseful to you, that's precisely my point.) I thought I was listening to bad young adult fiction, as the sentences were short, the dialogue was uninspired, the characters were slackers mostly in their 20s, and there were a lot of dumb adolescent jokes. The mystery finally started to become interesting around hour seven. A couple of hours after that, the book took yet another turn and was definitely NOT for tender young readers. Though not intended by the author, I would describe this book as being in three parts, each a different genre: first, a really long "Friends" episode; second, a Scooby Doo episode; finally, an HP Lovecraft short story. The book did not particularly appeal to me, though younger readers who are not picky might find it sufficiently entertaining if they can get past the halfway mark. The F-bombs in the latter half became very annoying.
The narrator did a great job with the various characters and accents.
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...
"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 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.
Report Inappropriate Content