14 by Peter Clines

I’m copying over some reviews of titles I’d written up in 2018 and earlier, just in case these titles are new for other people.

Peter Clines wrote a masterpiece with 14. The comparisons to LOST are absolutely spot-on, in that the novel successfully contains a great deal of the same surrealism, mystery, and even a few of the themes from the first couple seasons of that television show and places them inside an old LA apartment building instead of on an unnamed island.
Combine that element of LOST-like intrigue and mystery with some House of Leaves and toss in a healthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft and you’ll start to approach the setting for 14. You hear people describe movies and television shows by stating that this or that (in reference to a location or vessel) is actually a character in its own right, and this book successfully makes the apartment building a pivotal character without imbuing it with thought or anything silly like that…and then Clines stuffs the building full of interesting human characters who display an almost contrived level of diversity without ever coming across as contrived.
References to LOST and Fringe in the dialogue make it clear that the characters realize just how unusual their situation is, and that self-awareness makes them more compelling as far as I’m concerned. The whole story is fascinating, in large part because of how relatable the characters are, most of them at least. The only downside I can think of is that I predicted the ending less than halfway into the story, but maybe that just means I was approaching the book from a similar perspective to the author.
This book undoubtedly falls into the top 5 stand-alone novels I’ve read in as many years. It might even still make my top 10 if I include novels that are part of a series.

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