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14 by Peter Clines
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Jun 12, 12

Read in July, 2012

Almost instantly becoming one of my favorite novels in recent memory, Peter Clines' "14" is a near-flawless mystery-thriller-horror (in that order) with human characters as richly portrayed as the book's strongest presence: the hauntingly unforgettable Kavach Building. What begins as a self-referenced Scooby Doo hunt for clues into the apartment building's specific eccentricities soon becomes a treasury of mind-bogglery as the concepts of time/history, space/location, and insider/outsider reality are challenged and rocked to their foundations. As with most works in this genre, the less known going in, the better.

In reference to the front cover's blurb mentioning "Lost," it's worth noting unlike that promising TV series that was eventually crushed beneath the weight of its lack of focus and fore-thought, "14" delivers a fulfilling and contextually sensical conclusion that leaves very few narrative stones unturned. Though like the show, a lot of the fun here is in carrying on an internal dialogue with the characters as they discuss the myriad explanations for the madness surrounding them.

Essentially a locked room mystery as experienced outside the room, "14" is Peter Clines on top of his, and many other novelists', game. With a pace as fast as lightning, and a plot that quakes like thunder (as well as a nifty book jacket), this should soar to the top of book lists everywhere and stay there long after the initial reading is through. (And in the meantime, check out the rest of his action-packed literary arsenal.)
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