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on 16 February 2013
Review of 14 by Peter Clines
5 stars

"14" is an exceptionally plotted horror novel, in the Classic sense, but it is also an exploding and exploratory sci fantasy (fantastical with elements of hard science). I found it totally riveting, a literal "I can't put this down" reading session. Author Peter Clines demonstrates a strong background in the classics of horror, as well as science fiction, steampunk, and alternate-world fantasy. I hesitate to say too much: the novel really deserves to be read, pondered, and savoured.

Nate is a minimum-wage, bored, data entry employee in Los Angeles. Unexpectedly, he finds himself in need of a residence, as one of his roommates is marrying and the other one is moving back to San Francisco, and his salary won't cover their house. An acquaintance mentions an apartment building with a vacancy where the rents are incredibly low (focus is on the adjective "incredibly") so Nate immediately checks into it, discovering the rent really is that low, and moves in. It's not long before he, in conjunction with some of the other tenants, begins to investigate, and to discover the reason for the low rent, not to mention padlocked apartments, doors without doorknobs, a sub-basement, and an elevator that has not run since the building's inception, in the last years of the 19th century.

Empathetic characters and a truly expansive imaginative field of play made "14" a favourite of mine, and a re-read. Do yourself a favour, and don't miss out.

I reviewed a complimentary e-book copy in return for my fair and impartial review.
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It seems that for a creeping, creepy horror story to really work, to really grab you, you need to start out with a realistic and almost bland opener that slowly and convincingly begins to turn dark. This book is just a superb example of how to do that right - and it succeeds with characters, setting, and atmosphere that drift into madness so subtly that you hardly notice until it's too late.

Our hero is a regular guy, with a blah job and a life that's a bit on hold. He moves into a new building with a rent deal that's too good to pass up. At first we get to meet him, his pals, his workmates. We watch him move in to his new apartment and start to get settled in. There is a lot of attention to prosaic detail. We know exactly what kind of crappy job he has. We know his bland routine. We watch him unpack and put away his unremarkable stuff. But odd little details emerge in passing. A neighbor's door has no doorknob - did we crack it off moving the entertainment center? A painted over panel in the back of a closet probably just allows access to the bathroom tub water service. An odd fixture in the kitchen dims normal bulbs. This is mixed in with passing details. The spin cycle doesn't work on the washing machine to the left in the laundry room. There's a padlocked door in the basement, and it seems a little, warm?

No spoilers here. But, you will become invested in the characters. You will feel like you know the building. Mystery upon mystery. A world that expands even as it is closing in.

A classically flavored but modern slow burn of a tension builder. This is how you write this kind of book. You might most like the build up or the reveal or the mystery or just the vibe, but it's all there. A nice find.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 7 February 2013
I found 14 on a random browse through Audible, but the author's name name was instantly familiar to me as the author of Ex-Heroes. I hadn't heard anything about 14 before I started listening, so I went in completely blind - I didn't even read the synopsis.

Nate is an average guy, with an average job - something that is becoming more and more prevalent in horror novels and it's a damn good thing. There's nothing worse than the main character turning out to be either a) ex-Army/Navy/Black-Ops; or b) completely untrained in combat but puts Macgyver to shame, and I quite liked him as a character. Although there's nothing special about him to make him memorable, I liked his tenacity and the fact that things didn't just fall into place for him. There's a whole cast of characters in the apartment building, but Veek with her sarcastic, sharp wit was definitely one of my favourites. The only one that didn't really work for me was Xela - I could see where Clines was trying to go with her, but just didn't quite hit the mark for me.

As for the actual plot itself, I really didn't see it coming - I thought this would be a standard haunted house, ghosty kinda story, but it was far more complex and intricate than that, and the last part of the book gave me serious heeby-jeebies.

I really enjoyed 14 as a horror novel with a touch of other elements, with interesting characters and a mystery thrown in for good measure. There were a couple of plot lines, especially regarding the history of some of the characters, that didn't feel completely tied up, but also fit in with the mystery element of the book.

The audio version is quite good, I enjoyed the narration and it fit well with the feel of the book, right down to giving me literal goosebumps at the climax.
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on 8 October 2012
Peter Clines cant be saying now to be a newbie, he already has several books, all by permutted press, that are quite good, easy to read and captivating. the EX series is great, a very nice mix of zoombie land and super heroes that are quite human at core (waiting for the third release!) and this 14, a quite fresh new book.
as most of his books, they are in los Angeles.
14 is about new friends, the meaning of one own life or purpose in life and the day to day difficulties that turn to be more important and significant than just day to day living.
this book is fast, you can read it in a couple of days, characters are well developed and the story is quite fascinating and intriguing at least until the last chapters where the book becomes a bit more obvious.
I would definetly reccomend it! nice mixture between Lost in an appartment building, Men in Black, FRIENDS and the hitchhiker guide to the galaxy with a bit of Narnia...
It could make an excellent movie as the book is quite visual. no doubt someone intelligent around might transform it into a movie...opening of room 14, although little explained (some more feasable scientific theories would have been nice) is quite surprising and nice!
I would also reccomend the EX series from peter clines.
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on 7 May 2013
Thoroughly enjoyable and downright bizarre. Clines has mixed horror, sci-fi, comedy and weird and it actually works!

The idea of a house with secrets I thought was quite refreshing and I enjoyed the other-worldly element that Clines mixed in. The references to Lovecraft and pop culture had me chuckling, especially the very indiscreet way of name-dropping Walter Bishop in the middle of a sentence. I know not everyone will know who Walter Bishop is but I do and I found it funny.

The set-up was done very well and all the characters were described with such normalcy that it was very easy to depict them. The action did taper off somewhat about half way through and got a bit too reliant on info-dumping, but then it seemed Clines just snapped out of that writing slump and turned the book around.

Original, well thought out, well written (for the most part) and an ending I did not predict (a rarity indeed). Highly recommended if you're into sci-fi with a bit of a modern twist.
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on 7 August 2012
I'd read and enjoyed Cline's Ex-Heroes and Ex-Patriots, and once you know the concept you know exactly what to expect - superheroes after the zombie apocalypse. The kind of thing you enjoy, but are secretly glad that you have a kindle so people on the train can't see what you're reading.

14 is a much smarter story - a proper mystery, with a slow build-up of curiosity and dread, and a brilliant pay-off. Try not to read too much about it, and enjoy it as the mysteries unfold. It's littered with pop culture references that tell you Clines is writing the kind of story he loves for readers who love that same stuff (Lost, Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, Fringe). In it's way, just as geeky as the Ex- series, but much more audaciously and originally so.
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on 4 November 2015
I mostly read in bed and I found myself incapable of putting 14 down some nights until I was bleary eyed with sleep. 14 by Peter Clines is a page turning mystery/horror hybrid – with humour, but don’t expect your usual haunted apartment story here. Well… it is a bit of that, but it’s a whole lot more as well.

Nate Tucker, a data in-putter, is on the lookout for an apartment he can afford and he finds the perfect one very quickly. But he’s warned by the previous tenant that it “has an odd vibe to it.” Nevertheless Nate moves in and meets his new neighbours, an eclectic lot who socialise over beers on Friday evenings on the roof garden. Each apartment seems to harbour some peculiarity so, driven on by Nates curiosity, the other tenants are soon resolved to uncovering the mysteries of their block. Unfortunately, they need to work discreetly under the nose of Oskar, the decent but vigilant apartment caretaker, who doesn’t treat meddlers within his building too kindly.

What captivated me with this novel was the depth of the enigma that began to unfold as their surreptitious investigations uncovered puzzle after intriguing puzzle.

However, about three quarters of the way through, just as everything is gearing up for the final sequence, the tone of the book changed from gripping mystery to action. This was good too, but not as good as the first part of the book. But all in all 14 is a most enjoyable and interesting novel.
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on 13 January 2016
If you combine Lost, with a smattering of Goonies, add a dash of X-Files, a helping of Lovecraftian horror and a garnish of Hitchcock then that's not even close to explaining how great this book is. The key characters are rich with description and a mystery themselves as well as the story. The book really hooks you and I read well in to the night to finish it. Unlike some mysteries you do get answers with a reveal in room 14 that I just did not see coming, hence the title I guess. Ok there are a couple of weak characters that dont really seem to add much but thats really minor in an otherwise fabulous story loaded with twists and turns, plus a few laugh out loud moments. The book really does stand well on its own and doesn't really need a sequel....maybe a prequel. Its rare for me to give 5 stars but this really deserves it. If you like Charles Stross Laundry series then I think this is in the same vein and easily equal or better.
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on 12 June 2012
Difficult to review this without giving away any secrets this book has to offer.
It is best described as Lost meets Scooby Doo but that doesn't do it justice. First started reading Peter Clines books with the brilliant Ex-Heroes followed by Ex-Patriots and when I heard 14 was coming out via Peter Clines facebook page I had to get it.
The characters are very believable and you get to know them very well and feel for them as you are swept along in the mystery of 14.
The story starts slow and then builds up steam to a fantastic finale I did not see coming.
I have recommened this book to my friends and you will not be dissapointed if you get this.
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on 18 November 2015
I read this book a few years ago with a loose connection to the authors other work, the brilliant Ex series.
I had no idea what to expect from this, and literally was overjoyed to discover that not only does Peter Clines show his ability as a gripping writer in spendid fashion, but 14 has an undeniable H P lovecraftian theme.
If you love the gone but not forgotten world of Cthulhu and the Elders so often spoken about in Lovecraft's spectacular works, you will greet this book as an old familiar friend, brilliant
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