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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
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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76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
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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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Peter Clines writes fairly well, and managed to, for example, make the combination of zombies and super-heroes interesting and engaging in two of his other novels. Unfortunately, I didnt enjoy this as much as I did his prior books.

The plot is basically guy moves into building, observes weird things going on and works to solve the mystery with the help of some other tennants. Some of the reviews suggest that this is a twilight zone-ish adventure. I am not sure that is the right comparison -- in the book, the tennants of the building *frequently* describe themselves as akin to the scooby-doo charachters when trying to solve the mystery of the building, and unfortunately that seems a more apt comparison. The answer to the mystery isnt a mind-expander as in the Twilight Zone -- rather the answer is either steampunk or mysticism disguised as steampunk, depending on how generous you want to be. The book isnt silly like Scooby Doo or written at a children's level, BUT the basic "lets work as a team and figure this mystery out" and "wow, is the cause of all this really [ ]?" aspects of Scooby Doo are out in full force, and that is why the book characters use Scooby Doo alusions at least a dozen times.

There is nothing unpleasant here, the mystery is interesting-ish (at least till the reveal), the writing pretty engaging and the charachters likeable if not deap. Accordingly, you may well enjoy the book, and most of the reviewers here really seem too. When all was said and done though, my reaction was much like my reaction to a Scooby-Doo episode as I got older -- "oh, is that all?" The book just didnt strike me as anything much -- certainly not a mind-expander like the better Twilight Zone episodes, which can stay with you your whole life.

The closest comparitor I can think of would be Dean Koontz's earlier books, where the underlying premise was a mystery at first, and the answer often had a quasi-sci-fi/mystical component. Dean Koontz's books (most of the earlier ones anyway) pack a bit more action in my opinion, and are thus a better read. You get less action than Dean Koontz, and more working together to solve the mystery.

Verdict: Decent, pleasant book, but would be an easier recommendation if Peter Cline were still an unknown pricing his books at indie prices. At full price, I'd be surprised if you couldnt find something that will make a more lasting impression.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
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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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I admit that I was eagerly awaiting another Peter Cline book and bought this one as soon as I could. Normally things I'm overexcited for disappoint, but not this book.

It is different from his other novels, specifically the Ex series, but in a fresh new way. It felt a little like a Stephen King in that it had awesome readability, and a few surprising moments at a flip of the (virtual) page that gave me shivers.

If you're on the fence, don't be. You can't go wrong with this author.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read this book and found it to be highly entertaining. The book structure and narrative is cohesive and the mystery is rather gripping. It is fun to uncover the secrets the book slowly unravels.

So, why have I only given it three stars? It is because of the characters. The characters in this story fall completely flat. The characters behave and act like broad archetypes and are shallow at best. They do not react to their situations in ways that any human being would react to in a believable way. Where they should be terrified and surprised, these caricatures behave startled and nonplussed. They are like broad brush strokes creating a distorted shell of a picture rather than anything specific. I can't really give any examples without spoiling key scenes of the story, which makes this review difficult to comprehend.

This is such a shame because the nature of the story is gripping and the mystery is fun. It is a shame that the characters really brought it down. But if you are the sort of reader who just wants a fun tale and can overlook these sorts of things, I would say that you absolutely should give this a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Picked up this book as it was nominated as one of the Goodreads top horror books. The book isn't awful. It's got a nice premise about a mysterious apartment complex in Los Angeles. The characters, although slightly stereotypical, are engaging enough to want to follow. Their interpersonal relationships are a little predictable and trite but no more or less than in many books of the genre. The first half of the book builds slowly, but it's engaging and interesting. Then comes the twist. It's there that Peter Clines totally loses me and the book devolves into an outlandish farce that is bereft of the tension and engagement of the rest of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
14 by Peter Clines is a novel I've been hesitant to review, not because I've heard bad things but the opposite. Being the irritating post-apocalyptic hipster that I am, I felt the need to hold off on this one because I'd heard so much positive buzz that reviewing this book felt like I was somehow caving into pressures of the masses.

Either that or I just never got around to it until now.

Take your pick.

First of all, I'd like to comment on the utter genius of the cover. Usually, I judge a cover on whether it's serviceable to attract reader attention or not. It's a rare cover which warrants commentary and they're usually fantasy (and made in the 1980s or 1930s).

In this case, I find 14's cover to be shockingly effective as wanting me to open the book and find out what's inside. It's evocative, perhaps deliberately so, of the 4th Silent Hill game. Silent Hill 4: The Room wasn't the most popular of the franchise due to the heavy backtracking but I consider it the point before the franchise became a parody of itself and the last period when Silent Hill was genuinely scary.

It's the little things which scare me and what's more little than a locked room?

The premise of the book is Nate Tucker is a data-entry drone at a magazine with no prospects and no real future. He's a likable enough everyman and his position is familiar enough to most people my age to illicit immediately sympathy. Nate is in desperate need of a new place to live due to his roommates bailing on him, so he takes advantage of an acquaintance's suggestion to seek out an apartment building with a checkered history.

The building isn't magically perfect. It's got green cockroaches with extra-legs, bad parking, and every room is different in size. The neighbors are all a collection of weirdos with some being the desirable kind (the sexy artist girl who sunbathes on the roof) and others being less so (a militant fundamentalist always in everyone's business). Nothing, however, leaps out to say this is a dangerous place.

Well, except for the locked room on his floor.

Oh, and the room which is vacant because it's last few (dozen) occupants committed suicide.

And other things.

For $550 a month, including utilities, Nate is willing to put up with a lot. Unfortunately, these above problems are only the beginning. Peter Clines walks a careful balance between revealing the secrets of the building while not taking it to the point a reasonable person would run screaming. The characters remain likable but they also remain intelligent, which is a quality largely absent from the horror genre except for The Cabin in the Woods.

Individuals expecting a story filled with gore and murder will be disappointed as 14 is more a story of cerebral horror mixed with gradual dawning terror than shock scares. Some people have compared it to Lost with its mixture of character-building and the surreal. On my end, I consider it closer to an episode of the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits.

The relative absence of cheap scares is what makes this such an effective horror novel. Indeed, I compare it to a movie I recently reviewed called Into the Mouth of Madness. Given Into the Mouth of Madness was one of my favorite horror movies of all time, I'm not as at all unbiased here. There's a connection to the Cthulhu Mythos for fans of the series but I won't spoil that actual connection to encourage people to people to read it cold.

Really, I think a lot of horror authors could learn from Peter Clines the skill of making likable characters. All of them read as believable individuals you might meet, say, in your apartment building. This makes any potential deaths or trauma they suffer all the more intense as you don't want them to come to a horrible end, unlike the majority of [insert profanity] who exist in horror movies as monster fodder. I'm particularly fond of the character of Xela and I kind of wish Peter would write a sequel with her (whether or not that's possible) because she's so entertaining on page.

Despite this, I'm not going to give 14 a ten out of ten. This is going to be a strange sort of complaint because it's related to much of what I find appealing about this book but I think Peter could have gone darker. The Twilight Zone rarely needed a high body count, or one at all, to make itself the seminal work of horror television it was. However, for much of the book, things relatively lighthearted. While he does some serious damage to the characters, I expected the sheer scope of the final revelations to blast some cast member's sanity.

It's the Diet Coke of Lovecraft. Which, I say as someone who wrote a book set in the Cthulhu Mythos starring a character more akin to Conan than Giles. There's nothing wrong with Diet Coke Lovecraft, though, and I love it when it's done by Brian Lumley. I also loved it when it was done by Peter Clines. It's got more calories than Lovecraft Coke Zero and that's more than enough for me.

Buy this book. You won't regret it.

9/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Wow! This is one hell of a fine book. You meet Nate. He needs a new place to live. He finds an apartment. He meets some of the neighbors. Simple story, slow even pace, then it starts to get a little strange. The pace speeds up a bit. More neighbors become friends, they talk and compare notes, weirdness, different things. ..... And that is all I can say. You need to read this book, or better yet listen to the audiobook, so that it can sneak up on you and get you before you know it.

Mr. Clines can spin a yarn! This is a perfectly paced novel. I give this 5 stars out of 5, and 2 Big Thumbs Up! I loved it. The narrator also gets 5 stars.

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com. But then I bought it from Audible.
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