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on 14 December 2016
Great Buy Thanks
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 September 2015
here's a quick run through the synopsis. Basically, we have Apryl, a young American lady who comes to London after being informed of a distant aunt's passing; as part of the will, Apryl's aunt has left her family her expensive apartment in Barrington House, an upmarket block of buildings in a well-to-do area of the city. At the same time, night-watchman Seth - who works in said block of flats - hears some noises in the long-vacant apartment 16. His initial investigation sets in motion a series of events that will have ramifications for himself, Apryl and anyone else in residence in Barrington House.

Basically what you have, on the surface of things, is a classic British ghost story which relates the mostly separate story strands of Apryl and Seth as they both go through their various and varied experiences by coming into the vicinity of apartment 16 and Barrington Block. In Apryl's case, it begins innocently enough as she delves into the past of a relative she barely knew existed. By searching through her aunt's belongings, looking at and wearing clothes from an era she loves, and finally reading through her aunt's increasingly disturbing diaries, Apryl comes to realise that something awful happened in the past of Barrington House and might still be around. For Seth, a failed art student, it's far more insidious as he is beset by strange visions and dreams, the spectre of a young hooded boy who seems to follow him out of his dreams and subsequently lead and pushes Seth into fulfilling the awful destiny of an artist who used to reside in apartment 16.

As a follow up to his debut, Banquet For The Damned, Apartment 16 is more than worthy. Riffing off a slightly similar theme and using the same kind of creepy imagery that made BFTD so effective, A16 builds on that first novel's promise and piles on the atmosphere. By limiting the narrative to two alternating viewpoints, we get a real in-depth look as Seth slowly succumbs to the madness of the malign influence and Apryl carries out an amateur investigation into both her aunt's past and the past of the apartment block. Both characters are treated to frightening occurrences, strange shadows and noises, and a pervading and growing sense that something is very wrong with the building. However, their experiences differ and this shows that it's not merely about piling on the creepy effects, if you will. Apryl is subject to the more common-place seeming flitting shadows and half-glimpsed figures as she tries to sleep in her aunt's apartment. Seth, though, is subject to something far more interesting; he is given glimpses of the 'ugliness' inside people and there is the suggestion - intentional or not - that he might merely be going mad. I think is what sets the book above the standard haunted house/ghost story; Seth is the quintessential unreliable narrator, no mean feat when achieved in third person. His slow, inevitable spiral into the depths of...whatever is happening to him, is quite something to behold. It's claustrophobic, intense and crushing; and has enough incidents that cast doubt on the veracity of what Seth is experiencing that you feel a little unsure of him, wrong-footed. It all adds to the building wash of unreality and atmosphere. That's not to say that Apryl's story is any less disturbing or predictable. She initially moves into the flat while she deals with the accumulations of her aunt's long life, but after a few disturbing occurrences that begin to weigh on her, she moves out to a local hotel in defiance of most conventional horror. Yet she still can't shake the need to know what happened in her aunt's like, what the diaries allude to in their increasingly disjointed way. This mild obsession is presented with steady internal logic, and there are some absolutely stand-out passages where she is interacting with elderly residents of the building who may have information she needs, or lovely scene with a possible romantic interest which actually doesn't unfold how you might expect.

I did think that while the story is wonderfully written and filled with atmosphere, it does have occasion to repeat itself. While not especially detrimental to the unfolding event, I did think the book could have been shortened by a few dozen pages. That, couple with an ending that feels far too short for the preceding story and ends on a note that feels unresolved, are really my only negative thoughts.

Mostly, it's a solid piece of horror fiction that builds on the author's debut, and while I might not have found it quite as scary as its predecessor - though there are some skin-crawling episodes early on - it did posses a stronger and more dread-filled atmosphere. It clearly shares that book's DNA, with its sense of classic, even pulpy, horror fiction in a modern and sophisticated setting. There's even a small mention of one of Banquet For The Damned's characters.

It shows a writer who has taken what was successful about his first novel and has built on that, refining and improving and after all, isn't that really part of the point of writing?
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on 6 May 2011
*some spoilers*
This book was initially one of those I had to put down and read something a bit lighter before I went to sleep, brilliantly creepy, descriptive and imaginative it was the horrors of urban life, helplessness and the trap of poverty and misery that disturbed me as much as the haunted house story. The many eccentricities of the British elderly and rich living in seclusion in a well off corner of London through the eyes of a young American and a disillusioned young artist was great, and the glimpses which could have been supernatural or a symptom of a distressed or disturbed mind were brilliant. However, I definitely do agree the book was repetitive, if the big reveal -what actually was in Apartment 16 had not been done so early or in such thorough detail and saved until the denouement it would have been much much better, the descriptions of the suffering and the mangled flesh became so commonplace it no longer had any impact by the slightly confusing end. It reminded me of The Shining, (which is fine as that's a suspenseful delight of a horror novel), especially considering Seth's ultimate fate, (which was fairly early on always going to have to be the outcome) and also the film Poltergeist, which is less of a compliment. The constant and somewhat half-arsed wittering about nazi's and vortexes and portals diminished it for me, more mystery and less attempt at explanation would have been better. The child and the relation to the other porter honestly did appear to have been a last minute addition to the story to tie up a few loose ends, as it didn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the plot except slightly because he couldn't just leave the job until he had a replacement to take on the curse of Barrington House because his wife had been looking for their dead son? Something like that?(again, very much like The Shining). On the whole I enjoyed it, bits were fantastic and others sound like the script from a schlocky hammer horror.
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on 23 December 2010
'Apartment 16' is the second book I have read by Adam Nevill, the first one being his debut, 'Banquet of the Damned', which I enjoyed immensely, a definite must read for anyone who enjoys a no honest supernatural story.

With 'Apartment 16', Adam Nevill has taken his writing to another level, the story is well written, the suspense builds up slowly from the first page and its hard to not stop reading, you need to know what is going to happen next.

There are genuine disturbing parts in 'Apartment 16', a book to read with all the lights on.
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on 22 November 2010
The ending was not really up to standing. It ended with a whimper rather than a bang. It left me feeling well what was the point of the story exactly. Stories are meant to move from A to B. On occasion you even get a C or D thrown in. Think of what the book version of the movie INCEPTION, for instance might be like. Instead this moves awkwardly from A and back again.

It started so well, but the author like some of his characters could not or would not roam to far away from home,even through there were numerous possibilities. It was unsatisfactory.
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on 7 December 2010
Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill

I was prompted to leave this review after reading some of the comments left by others, in fear that the negativity would put other potential readers off.

Let me start by saying that it has been a long time since I have got excited by a novel. And a horror novel at that! The horror section of book shops always seems to be so small in comparison to the others. And now the limited space is over run with vampire romance stories after the ever popular TWILIGHT saga.
That's o.k. but once you have read one...

I happened to find Apartment 16 purely by chance.

The story follows two main characters and their connection to Barrington House; an upmarket block situated in London.
Within its walls lies Apartment 16. No one goes in. And no one comes out.
Seth is the night-watchman. He investigates a disturbance that appears to be coming from the abandoned apartment. Events that follow change his life forever.
Apryl is a young American woman who has been left an apartment by her Great Aunt Lillian at Barrington House. It appears that her Aunt died in strange circumstances. Overwhelmed by her inheritance, Apryl seeks to discover the truth about her Aunt. She discovers some journals that suggest that Barrington House has a dark secret that it isn't about to let its residents forget it. Apryl unravels more than she bargains for.

If you are looking for an easy horror, then this is probably not a novel for you. But if you want something with a strong story/plot line and something that investigates and explores the supernatural with a unique view point then I urge you to give it chance.

Whilst reading I was completely astounded by the books imagery and intensity.
As I read I could actually visualise what was happening... the supernatural was brought to life. It jumps right out of the pages and drags you in there with it!

It's not only about pure horror and giving his readers a fright. Adam Nevill's novel reaches out on so many other levels. It describes and explores people's natural instinct to orbit certain places and the feeling of entrapment that so many people feel. It explores these effects on people.
It looks at a bond between families, and even if you never got to meet them the sense of loyalty to them. The same as Apryl feels about her Aunt and Uncle; to go back to our roots for instance.
Throughout the story, Adam Nevill creates a vast darkness. With anything possible within its depths. A flash of something here and there that tells us that we are not alone!

So many times I've read a horror to be gripped all the way through just to reach a 'lame' ending and end up feeling 'deflated' but Apartment 16 was a strong story that came together in a very satisfying way at the end. It gave me enough conclusions to feel content but also enough room to question and wonder. After all, don't we all wonder what's next?!

To sum up: I was completely hooked! There were moments where I was goose pimpled, scared, held my breath, smiled, felt repulsed, horrified, sad, and angry. When I finished the book I couldn't look in the mirror when I had to go and use the bathroom... Read it. You'll understand why!

Congratulations to Adam Nevill. A British horror writer to be proud of! He has an amazing and unique insight into the supernatural and humanity. With Apartment 16 he takes us into something we dare not think about... Not with the lights off anyway...
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on 15 May 2014
Unlike 'The Ritual' which is an excellent book, this one is ridiculous!!
It's way too wordy, repeating things over and over again so that you feel like you're walking through treacle and getting no where and worse still it feels like you're in some 60's psychedelic magic mushroom trip, or should be, to understand where on earth the author is going with it from one moment to the next.
That, for me anyway, is not how I want to feel when I'm reading a book. I want a book to take me places I've never been emotionally but I don't want to feel off my head whilst going there.
No, this ones not for me.
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on 5 September 2010
I ordered this book for the summer holidays and as I hadn't read much horror for a long time thought id give it a go.
Two things struck me

The author mentions he spent time being a porter in London; clearly he didn't like the experience!

This book is more a statement on what it's like to live in the capital city as the "under class". Obviously the grime and the filth came out very well. Time and time he goes back to this "under belly" of the capital, yes it produce atmosphere but did it produce fright? No!

As an essay on down trodden London very good, as a piece of fiction, it started to grate!

The other thing was that the book finished really fast, almost like you have 500 pages, too busy with the filthy London theme and ran out of pages!

Very disappointing ending, so only two stars for me I'm afraid
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on 19 February 2017
This book has two of my favourite elements of the horror genre – psychological horror and the supernatural. The demons or ghosts or whatever they are, their power is the way they get inside the reader's head and those of their victims.

The protagonists, Seth and Apryl, are well drawn and sympathetic. Apryl is a young American woman who inherits her great aunt Lillian's London apartment and stays there to arrange its sale and to sort through the contents. Seth is the night porter at the same apartment building and is a painter tormented with self doubt about his talent.

The pace is flawless. Themes include madness, life after death, ritual magick, post-war London, extreme wealth and poverty and how life in a busy, dirty city changes people over time. It's clever, but not intimidatingly clever. It's frightening, and it's exciting.

This is the third of Nevill's books that I've read and reviewed recently. They have all been strong, but this one is virtually word perfect.
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on 30 September 2016
I will admit that this book took me a while to get into. I think it was because it was written in a completely different way to the authors I normally find myself reading. That being said I soon managed to get myself into the writing style. In part, I felt as though the writing style changed a little bit after a while and that was what aided me.

Just don’t let the initial struggle put you off!

That being said, once I managed to get into the writing style I really came to love it. The book contains so much description that images are just appearing in your mind without much effort. The storyline was great as well, being really unique and leaving you interesting to find out the full story.

I was expecting a little bit more at the end (to find out what happened to certain characters) but as a whole it was a good read once I managed to get myself into it.
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