Apartment 14F was quite the change of pace from most the horror I read. Typically I prefer my reading full of gore and monsters. This tidy novelette is a well written ghost story that merges ancient Chinese culture with the modern day Internet addicted world. Damnation books brings you this story as well as several other dark tales; most available in PDF format or good old Trade Paperback.
At first glance the plot, an Englishman teaching English to smart Chinese kids in China who moves into a haunted apartment, seemed a little common. However as the story unfolds Mr. Saunders weaves a unique tale; a ghost story that builds like a mystery all while giving you an easy to dig history lesson.
The main character, Jerry, is a very believable every-man that realizes quickly that he isn’t alone in his apartment. At the urging of his local assistant he ends up visiting a palm reader, with quite the talent and style, and things get even creepier. Mr. Saunders maintains a certain level of mystery all the way till the fitting end, which I also enjoyed.
I am not as well versed in Japanese horror as most subgenres, so some elements of the scares were a tad “too-The Grudge” for me but even they were well timed and written. Ancient China is discussed almost to give you ideas of how and why a terrible haunting could occur in such a busy place all with out ever making the evening news.
Mr. Saunders lays tracks nicely, flowing from ancient China and her culture to the main character browsing My Space looking for a previous resident of his increasingly creepy apartment. Personally as someone that must check his hotmail, yahoo mail, MySpace, and Face Book three to twelve times a day when Jerry (main character) reads alarming comments on a missing mans Face Book wall the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Good honest scares and I love that.
All in all, not as graphic and gory as I prefer but some good jumpy scares and a few twists along the way in this fine short work. A great little ghost story with touches of mystery and flashes of horror best suited to be read on a dark and stormy night.