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The Book of Accidents: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“Chuck Wendig’s The Book of Accidents transported me to the golden age of sprawling horror novels that I loved so much as a kid. Sweeping yet intimate, multilayered and bighearted, this is a novel to sink deeply into.”—Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will
“In the tradition of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, Wendig views the cosmic and terrifying through the lens of the domestic, anchoring his visions of the sublime in the grit of the familiar. The result is a novel to ramble around in, to get lost in.”—John Langan, author of Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies
“An unforgettable, terrifying dose of top-flight horror that hits on our most basic core fears, The Book of Accidents chills you to the bone while still warming your heart.”—Alex Segura, author of Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall and Miami Midnight
“With a story both universally horrifying and viscerally intimate, Wendig brilliantly uses The Book of Accidents to explore a painful truth: In the end, we all haunt ourselves. I couldn’t get through the pages fast enough.”—Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
“Move over King, Chuck Wendig is the new voice of modern American horror. The Book of Accidents is a masterwork, and Chuck is only just getting started.”—Adam Christopher, author of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
This was Oliver:
The boy, fifteen, knelt on the ground, his chin against his chest, the soft undersides of his forearms pressing into his ears even as his fingers dug into the thatch of messy hair at the back of his head. His ears rang sharply—not the tolling of a bell but a shrill whine, like that of a dental drill. To one side of him: yellow lockers. To the other: a water fountain. Above: a waterfall of bright fluorescence. Somewhere ahead were two gunshots, bang, bang. Each made his heart jump. Somewhere behind him were the murmur and rustle of students moving from classroom to classroom, seeking safety. Oliver imagined them dead. He imagined his teachers dead. Blood on linoleum. Brains on chalkboard. He imagined weeping parents on the news, and the suicides of survivors, and the thoughts and prayers of uncaring politicians—he could see the pain like a little ripple that became a wave, that met other waves and became tsunamis roaring back and forth over people until all were drowned underneath.
A hand grasped his shoulder and shook him. A word spoken as if through a fishbowl—his name. Someone was saying his name. “Olly. Oliver. Olly!” He gently rocked himself back on his ankles, sitting partly upright. It was Mr. Partlow, his BioSci teacher. “Hey. Hey, lockdown drill’s almost over, Oliver. You okay? Come on, kiddo, let’s get you—”
But then the teacher let go and took a half step back. Mr. Partlow stared down at the floor—no, not at the floor. At Oliver. Oliver took a look, too. His crotch was wet. Fingers of liquid were spreading down his pant legs. Ahead, he saw a few students gather and stare. Landon Gray, who sat behind him in homeroom, looked sad. Amanda McInerney—who was in all the plays, and chorus, and student council—made a gross face and giggled.
Mr. Partlow helped him stand up and took him away. Oliver wiped tears from his face, tears he didn’t even know he’d spilled.
This was Nate:
That same day, Nate sat in a lawyer’s office in Langhorne. The lawyer was round and grub white, like the inside of a cut potato. In the window of the office, an AC unit grumbled and growled, so that the man had to raise his voice in order to be heard.
“Thank you for coming,” the lawyer, Mr. Rickert, said.
“Uh-huh.” Nate tried to keep his hands from balling into fists. Tried, and failed.
“Your father is sick,” the lawyer said.
“Good,” Nate answered without hesitation.
Rickert leaned forward.
“It’s cancer. Colon cancer.”
“He’ll be dead soon. Very soon. He’s on hospice.”
Nate shrugged. “Okay.”
“Okay,” the lawyer repeated, and Nate couldn’t tell if the man was surprised by his reaction—or prepared for it. “Mr. Graves—”
“I know you expect me to be broken up about all this, but I’m not. Not one little bit. My father was—or, is, I guess—a tremendous piece of garbage. I have no love for him. I have only hatred and disdain for that monster masquerading as a man, and truth be told, I’ve been dreaming of this day for the better part of twenty years, maybe longer. I’ve imagined how it would go. I’ve prayed to whatever god that would listen that my father, the piece of shit that he is, would go painfully and miserably, that it wouldn’t be fast, wouldn’t be a quick sprint to the end, but, rather, a slow, stumbling marathon, a . . . a clumsy run where he’s painting the walls with his lung blood, where he’s drowning in his own fluids, where he’s gotta wear some, some bag on his side to contain his own f—his own mess, a bag that breaks on him or that pops out of its port every time he moves to adjust his ruined, dying body. You know what? I was hoping it’d be cancer. A crawling, steady cancer, too, not fast like pancreatic. Something that eats him up from the inside sure as he ate up our family. Cancer for cancer, tit for tat. I figured it’d be lung, given the way he smoked. Or liver, given the drink. But colon cancer? I’ll take colon. He was . . . he was always full of shit, so that is a fitting end for that semi-human sack of septic excrement.”
The lawyer blinked. Silence passed between them. Rickert pursed his lips. “Are you done monologuing?”
“Go to hell.” He paused, regretting being so angry at this man who probably didn’t deserve it. “Yes, I am.”
“Your speech doesn’t surprise me. Your father said you’d say those things.” He laughed a little, a high-pitched titter, and he gesticulated with both hands so it looked like his fingers were little moths taking flight. “Well, not those things, exactly. But the gist.”
“So, what’s the point? Why am I here?”
“Your father, before he passes, wants to offer you a deal.”
“No deal, whatever it is.”
“It’s a favorable deal for you. Don’t you want to hear it?”
“I don’t.” Nate stood up, kicking the chair out behind him. It juddered louder and more aggressively than he’d intended it, but it was what it was and he wouldn’t apologize.
He turned to leave.
“It’s the house,” the lawyer said. Nate’s hand paused on the doorknob.
“That’s right. Your childhood home.”
“Great. He can leave it to me in the will.”
“It’s not in the will. He will sell the house to you, instead. The house, and the thirteen acres of land on which it sits.”
Nate shrugged. “Sorry. I can’t afford it.” The house—as the lawyer noted, Nate’s childhood home—was in an area that had, over the decades, become prime real estate. Upper Bucks County. Used to be just farmland and swamp, but these days, prices were up, taxes were up, rich people had moved in from Philly or New York. Gentrification wasn’t just for the inner cities. “Tell him to sell it, then. He can use the money to pay for a really fantastic casket.”
“Surely you can afford the cost of a single dollar.”
Nate turned his narrowed gaze toward Rickert. He ran a hand through his beard and winced. “A dollar.”
“A dollar, that’s right.”
“If I have it right, the idea there is so I avoid . . . what, some sort of taxes? I pay a dollar, and it’s a free-and-clear transaction.”
“That is the perception.”
Nate nodded. “The ‘perception.’ Uh-huh. I’m a city cop. I’m not too caught up on white collar stuff, it’s mostly blue collar for me, but I know a con when I smell it. Dad could just gift the house to me and it’d be good to go. Or I could inherit it like most people do—and I’d only be on the hook for taxes if I sold it and made more money than the fair market value of the house. But this, and correct me if I’m wrong, means that if I buy the house for a dollar and sell it for any amount over that dollar, I get whopped with a capital gains tax on top of it being income. I have that right?”
An unhappy smile stitched between the lawyer’s plump cheeks. “That’s likely correct. The IRS
usually demands its pound of flesh.”
“I’m not buying the house. I’m not buying anything the old man is selling. I wouldn’t buy a cup of water from him if I was dying of thirst. I don’t know what his game is, except to saddle me with a house I don’t want. Please tell him to take his offer and shove it up his rotting, cancerous behind.”
“I can convey that message.” The lawyer stood and offered a hand to shake. Nate looked at it like the man had just blown his nose into it, no tissue. “The offer will remain on the table until Carl passes.”
Nate walked out the door without saying another word.
- ASIN : B08LK4CYKP
- Publisher : Del Rey (July 20, 2021)
- Publication date : July 20, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 2003 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 521 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,509 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Build-up was fantastic—whispers of a serial killer executed decades before, a “felsenmeer” or field of boulders, an old tunnel that spurned urban legends, an abandoned coal mine, a deer and insects behaving strangely, and a mysterious figure in the woods. Having lived in Pennsylvania all my life, I could relate to so many of the rural surroundings, locales, and places that were mentioned.
But the heart of the book is its characters. I was so wrapped up in the lives of Nate, Maddie, and Oliver. Even secondary characters like Fig, Jed, and Caleb are fully fleshed out and given strong supporting roles.
It’s Oliver who turns out to be the key player. He’s gifted, but the importance of that gift only becomes apparent as the suspense rachets from simmer to boil. The story is definitely “out there.” Be prepared to dip your toes into elements of fantasy and magical realism along with horror. There are multiple twists and turns from start to finish but the ending melds everything together for a strong conclusion.
Wending has a gift with words. I loved his prose, at times beautiful and at other times vivid enough to make me feel squeamish. I also enjoyed the afterword in which he described the previous incarnations of the book and how it came to be. I’m glad he stuck with what was first a “trunk novel.” I expect this one will haunt a lot of readers.
This was my first venture into Chuck Wendig’s work, and it won’t be my last. It’s also important to note that this had one of my favorite endings in forever. Do yourself a favor by picking this up as soon as possible!
It's a well-earned 5 star read for me.
While I love books that deal with time travel and alternate worlds, I wasn’t crazy about The Book of Accidents. I liked the ideas in this book, just not the execution. I tend to dislike books where the main character is a child, so I struggled with Oliver’s sections quite a bit. He dominated most of the book which I wasn’t expecting from the synopsis. Maddie felt underdeveloped and I would have liked to see a little more of Nate and Maddie’s relationship as well. Overall, this is a fast read and I never got bored, but I did find myself annoyed and unimpressed at times.
Nate, Maddy and their gifted fifteen-year old son Olly move to Nate’s childhood home to start a new life in the country. Once there, a hidden past, an executed serial killer and a menacing horror turn the family’s lives upside-down and even reality itself inside out. A literary horror filled with Wendig’s trademark wit and characters you can’t help but care about, you’ll be turning the pages until late in the night to reach the dizzying conclusion.
And you’ll be doing it with all the lights on.
It's hard to describe - Wendig weaves together horror, mystery, and a touch of sci-fi in a book that ultimately is about humanity, the nature of evil, and the power of good.