Nate Tucker is a man simmering in his own juices of mediocrity. While his peers are married, having kids and excelling in their respective careers, he feels trapped within his own under achievement. Working as a data entry clerk he realizes his limited income can no longer pay the rent. At an office get together a co-worker tells him of a real steal of a place just outside of L.A. Nate jumps at the chance and it finally seems everything is falling into place. Upon moving into the elusive Kavach Building, he realizes something is not quite right. As the days and weeks pass further bizarre indicators become prevalent that indeed something most macabre is going on in his new locale. Will Nate be able to solve the mysteries that lie within the walls of the Kavach Building or will the sinister secrets forever linger within apartment 14?
This is the first journey I’ve taken within the pages of a Peter Clines novel. I can honestly attest that I’ve been missing out. He has a very infectious style, writes with nuance, subtlety and lures the reader into the fray from page one. The reader is privy to a sense of unease yet the foreboding is aloof and gradual, constantly unravelling within our sense of subconscious.
As the characters are introduced we see they interact fluently. Their diversity in terms of background, ethnic roots and personality truly suspend the believability factor of the circumstances. The dialogue comes across as very natural and we question not their integrity in realistic communication. A most memorable exchange takes place between Nate and new neighbor Tim about life choices that in actuality is a foreshadow of what eventually unfolds.
The incident of moving residence and other trivial components that go along with moving day are illustrated to enhance the readers’ sense of realism. The things we take for granted such as looking for light switches, parking, unpacking, etc. unites the reading audience in a state of common relation. We’ve all been there, done that and relating to Nate’s plight brings us closer to his character.
Mysterious components about the Kavach Building are revealed in stages and crafted by author Peter Clines with expert precision. An apartment with no door, another padlocked, a lack of historical monumental data, no tangible electrical wiring are all clues to the bizarre nature of the apartment complex. We question not the characters’ curiosity as the average reader would be tempted to explore further.
What’s truly memorable about 14 is the way Nate’s character evolves. He no longer feels trapped in his own inadequacy and rises to his own potential. His passion is heartfelt and will inspire many readers in their own unique way.
The interpersonal relationship between Nate and Veek is truly endearing. Some comedic interlude in their interactions will enable many of the readers to let their guard down and eventually be blown away with the suspense that lurks just behind the corner.
Within the final acts tragedy strikes a couple of characters that breaks the mould from typical Hollywood endings. I like the fact that Clines is not afraid to tear the metaphorical band aid off unapologetically and gives us no indicator its coming. It breathes refreshing air into the story telling process and provides a roller coaster ride of emotion for the audience.
The exciting climax is reminiscent of the vintage television show Land of the Lost which not surprisingly Clines credits as inspiration within his afterword notes. Things get progressively more bizarre with each paragraph making this tale addictive until the very end.
Peter Clines has officially made it into my must read list and I look forward to our next adventure together.