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  • 14
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With 14, author Peter Clines (of Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots (Ex-Heroes Book 2) fame) steps away from the zombie/post-apocalyptic genre and explores the roots of classic horror and mystery stories. The story starts when Nate, a guy with no girl, a lousy job and not much ambition gets a tip on an apartment that seems too good to be true. Before the ink on the lease is dry, Nate starts to notice some strange things about his new home. His new neighbors clue him in to additional oddities, from doors that are permanently locked to hidden messages in the walls to rooms whose tenants all commit suicide. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Nate and his new friends attempt to unlock the deeper secrets of the Kavach building, not knowing that the consequences of their actions could be catastrophic.

14 reads like a modern appreciation of several classic themes and writers, from Stephen King to Richard Matheson to H.P. Lovecraft to, well, Scooby Doo (hey, it works). It starts out like a haunted house/whodunit type story, where you're suspicious of every tenant Nate encounters, but soon takes a turn that brings to mind King's From a Buick 8. After that, things get really interesting! It's a completely captivating story, and not just because of the underlying mystery. Clines demonstrates once again that having well-developed characters can make all the difference, and he's given us a whole building full of them here. Watching Nate deal with his job woes and love life is almost as compelling as watching him discover yet another of the building's secrets.

One other thing that stands out throughout the book is just how well 14 would translate to the big screen. It really plays out like a movie, and it's easy to visualize the characters and especially the building.

If you're a fan of Clines's earlier work, you're definitely going to want to check out 14. Forget about the lack of zombies. It's the story that counts, and Clines delivers big time with this one. If you're new to the author, you're in for a treat. 14 is a great stand-alone novel and just a really fun read overall, and it makes a great introduction to one of the best new authors in modern horror.

Disclosure - I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for reviewing purposes.
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on June 11, 2012
Excellent, excellent, excellent!

I've read several other works by Peter Cline and enjoyed them all, but this book is a giant step up in characterization, story progression, and narration from all his previous works as well as the work of many of his peers. While his previous novels have been great additions to the sci-fi/horror genre, and this book definitely sits in that camp, the sheer skill with which the story's tension builds and progresses makes this a pleasing book for many different readers and surpasses being a mere genre novel. The classic, slow burn ratcheting of tension in the vein of Stephen King, Lovecraft, and Dan Brown is mixed nicely with the modern day handling and development of characters more in line with Brian Keene or Jeremy Robinson.

The story sucked me in with the ease and enjoyment of some of my favorite works by Larry Correia and Patrick Rothfus. I definitely lost some sleep staying up to finish this book. It's rather rare nowadays that I run across a book worth a second go, but I'm looking forward to rereading it in the future. This was one of those rare books that completely enveloped my brain for a few days and blocked everything out while I was reading.

I highly recommend this book for fans of sci-fi, horror, classic "weird fiction", and anyone who would enjoy a well written, excellently pace read.
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on July 22, 2015
I thought this was going to be a great book when I started reading it. I enjoyed the eclectic group of tenants, getting together slowly as the mystery of their building showed itself a little at a time. But by the halfway mark I was becoming frustrated by passages that were full of holes, even when I suspended my disbelief, it's always irritating when an author makes a character too stupid to be believed in an attempt to make the reader believe something unbelievable just happened. But still, good action sci-fi is hard to come by,and he's a fairly new writer, be patient, be kind. So onward I went, trying not to mind that there were red shirts in the group. And by the last quarter of the book I couldn't wait to find out how all the strange and unexpected events were going to come together, what was happening, why, how... That was where he lost me. It was just this sudden hop into a non-reality that made no sense whatsoever. And maybe I could have forgiven the strange and forbidding scenerios if the characters hadn't suddenly turned into idiots. I absolutely despised the last quarter and the ending to this book. It left me feeling cheated and upset that I had invested so much time and caring on the characters and plot. And I was angry that the author expected me to believe any people or characters would be dumb enough to do the things they did. While I felt bad, I also felt, hey, that's what they get,what did they expect, the idiots?
So while the book, much too long for such a small storyline, seems to read quickly at first, it quickly becomes tedious, more so when the plot let's you down in the end. But that's just my opinion, and obviously, from the reviews, a whole lot of people disagree with me. So I guess this is one that everyone has to read to find out for themselves. I read it fast, plenty of dialogue, so I am giving it three stars for keeping me hooked till the last disappointing pages. And I honestly can't wait to read your review. Maybe there is something to be said for a book that brings out so many different strong opinions. And for the record, I am going to give The Fold a try.
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on April 30, 2015
I accomplished nothing in my life once I started this book. Housework remained undone, social obligations were skipped, sleep went unslept, and home cooked meals were downgraded to whatever could fit in a toaster. If this book was a person it would be the biggest tease, leading me on to believe that if I finished just one more chapter the book would pause its pace and let real life slip in. But its hooks and twists had me absorbed till the end and I was powerless to its demands to put aside work and keep on reading.

My home is starting to slowly get back to normal now that I've finished the book. Fortunately Peter Clines has written more books so I can carry on blaming him for the state of my house and lack of sleep.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I really enjoyed this book.
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on July 24, 2014
I liked the way it started, but fairly bored by the end. I think the comparison to the T.V. show Lost was accurate. The beginning had me believing this book was really going places but by the end it had completely fizzled. I was definitely disappointed with this book. I think it could have been so much more if it had went the 'People Under the Stairs' route rather than the 'Dharma Initiative' route. Compound this with his last "Ex" book being a big let-down and I think it's time to put Mr. Clines on the bench and explore other authors.
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on March 17, 2013
This book is like "Lost" in an apartment building. At first I was enjoying the mysterious quirks of the building, our slacker hero and the obvious build up. Each chapter ends ala Charles Dickens style with some sort of cliff hanger or surprise to get you to buy the next serial, except it's not a serial it's trying to be a novel. In this day and age we expect a little more continuity to our fiction.

Some of the more obvious problems have already been stated: we don't particularly like any of the protagonists, who are underdeveloped and hard to tell apart - they are stock characters, as if the book is ready to be a screenplay and not a novel. Also, mutant cockroaches, black light etc. quirks are noted - but do not tie in - in any meaningful way, except to explain why the protagonist is curious. For a guy so broke he's using more than half his day on figuring out the apartment building - really? He's got free internet at home!

But the worst part is the super anti-climactic, over the top Hollywoodish mess and mayhem ending. I imagine if this were a movie the ending would be a loud, techno digital special effects extravaganza taking 45 minutes. As a plot development in a book, it's too predictable, too dull and our characters are not reacting like any normal human beings would, they're reacting like people in a movie.

Remember how the teenage mutant ninja turtles used to say "I know, I know, it's time to save the world" ? in a super sarcastic tone? The ending is reminiscent of that.
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on September 21, 2014
Interesting concept that goes way off-track. I liked the characters and the Los Angeles setting ( being an LA girl ) but there were WAY too many loose ends and lots of "episodes" that weren't of tangible importance to the story. After so much overdressing the best part of the story - diverse tenants in a creepy apartment building - got lost.
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on February 20, 2015
I thought I found a new favorite book. I literally couldn't put this book down for the first maybe 80% of so. Then it started getting ridiculous. It became disappointing from the moment they opened the door to 14.
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First of all, don't expect anything like Ex-Heroes,Ex-Patriots or The Junkie Quatrain. Not only is this story zombie-free, but there isn't nearly as much action as Clines usually delivers - at least not in the first two thirds of the novel.

Don't get me wrong, this was a solid effort by Clines, but I was so discouraged by the length of the setup, I would have been tempted to quit the book if it had been written by someone other than Peter Clines. I enjoyed his other novels so much that I was sure if I stuck it out, I could count on a fabulous ending, and I wasn't wrong...but I was literally 64% into the story before the story really grabbed me.

I can't even say that it was necessary for the story to develop at such a slow pace. The main character, Nate, moves into an apartment with rent that is too good to be true. Eventually, he notices some peculiar traits about the building. The problem is that many of the discoveries are made through interactions with his neighbors, which became tedious after the first few encounters, and the odd characteristics of the individual apartments were introduced too far apart to be considered an effective hook. Also, there are brief POVs from some of Nate's neighbors, and I felt the flickering perspectives weakened the storyline, rather than enhancing it.

On the other hand, once I was two-thirds through the book, I had that "Hell, YEAH!" moment, where I realized that 14 wasn't going to be like anything I've ever read before...and that is when Clines' creative flow once again takes his readers on a thrilling ride through bizarre sequence of events that made me think HP Lovecraft would have been right at home in that apartment building.

I think if readers approach this book as a horror-mystery, rather than an action-thriller, they will be find the effort of slogging through Nate's investigation of his apartment building worthwhile. Many of the unfolding details will seem surreal with disturbing moments that will put ice in your veins; in the end, everything you love about horror, mystery and cult fiction will be found in abundance.
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on July 26, 2013
As my title suggests, I noted the similarities to Lovecraft early on in the novel, which the author recognizes and incorporates into the book. I was relatively engrossed in the book until the last 100 pages, where it just got too "out of this world" for my taste--pun very much intended. I also picked up on sexism in this novel early on; the main female characters are all young, attractive, and described by their physical appearance, even explicitly at times. As a reader, I can easily accept such descriptors if the author does the same thing with the other sex, but he does not. It turned off this female reader!
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