There are many, many novels out there that deal with subjects such as haunted houses, apartments, and other dwellings. While I like a good ghost story as much as the next guy the problem remains that most of these novels are seriously lacking anything close to being an original concept. Too often these novels recycle ideas that have been done over and over again and as a result there is nothing new. Even though I liked Adam Nevill’s new book Apartment 16 I have to admit that it suffers from a lack of originality. Still, it is a pretty good read and once you get past the fact that it doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre I think you will definitely enjoy it.
The story centers on Apryl, a young American woman who has just earned an inheritance from her great aunt. As part of her inheritance she gets her aunt’s old apartment in England. Apryl makes her way to the apartment where she experiences several creepy occurrences as she learns about her aunt’s mysterious death. At the same time Seth, who is a security guard at the apartment complex, begins to undergo several changes after an encounter with Apartment 16. Seth begins to see a little boy in a hood that no one else can see who starts telling him to do horrible things. Will Apryl discover the truth behind her aunt’s death and will she be able to survive? Will Seth ever be the same again? What is the horrible secret that lurks behind the door of Apartment 16?
For the most part I enjoyed this book. It had an overall creepy vibe to it and I can see it giving some readers a serious case of the willies. Nevill has a knack for writing about genuine spooky things and as a result Apartment 16 has some pretty scary parts. I think that Nevill is one of those guys that just gets it and knows how to scare people. I think that many people who read this book may find themselves sleeping with the lights on for a while after they finish it.
I really liked the characters from the book as well. I thought that Apryl was a very likable and realistic character, but I could relate more to Seth. Having worked my share of crap jobs where I had to deal with total assholes like Seth does in the book I could really feel for him. I thought that he was a great character and watching him change into something sinister was a fun ride. Most of the side characters are well done as well and more than once I just wanted Seth to kill the annoying tenants of the apartment complex who seemed to go out of their way to bust his balls. I am thinking that Nevill must have worked with the public because he does a good job of showing just how the general public is made up of complete and utter horrible people who look down on others.
There are many things to like about the book, but on the other hand it does suffer from its share of flaws as well. In addition to not being all that original there is also a serious lack of action throughout the book and as a result I found myself feeling more than a little bored with it as I was reading it. It moves very slowly and at first I found myself wishing that something would just happen before I gave into my urge to skip ahead a few chapters. It takes a while for things to get going and I worry that most readers may give up on it after a few chapters without giving it a chance since nothing of note really happens early in the novel. If you do happen to pick it up I ask that you stick with it as things do get a bit more exciting as the novel goes on.
I also found it to be a little distracting that up until the point where the two meet that it keeps switching back and fourth between Apryl and Seth. I know that this is done to help the reader make a connection to both of them but to me it look away from my enjoyment of the novel to an extent. I would be so into what was happening to one character and then Boom! It would jump to the other one right in the middle of things, almost making it seem like I was reading two different books.
Other than just a few problems I thought that Apartment 16 was pretty good and I see a lot of readers really enjoying it. Nevill is no doubt a very talented writer who is good at setting mood and I think that we will be hearing a lot more out of him in the future. If you are searching for a good read with interesting characters, disturbing sequences, some pretty decent scares, and a nice little twist at the end I highly recommend that you check out this book.