This week I have been traveling out of town for Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and wanted an audio book to listen to as I bumbled my way through rush hour traffic each day. 14 by Peter Clines had been knocking around in my Audible library for several
years months, so I figured now was the perfect time to shake off the dust and check a book off of my ever growing TBR pile. I had high hopes for this one, since it was touted to be the best Sci-fi novel of 2012 by Audible. Man was I disappointed.
Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.
There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment.
Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.
At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.
Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.
Or the end of everything…
Sounds pretty great right? And the idea is. But the execution? Ehhh. To begin with, the characters: there was absolutely no development. You have the artist with a lot of baggage, the shallow actor, the tech-savvy Middle Easterner, the poor woman who realizes she has too much debt, and the run-of-the-mill guy working a dead-end job. Check, check, check. The whole lot felt like one major group of walking cliches.
Like who notices mutant green cockroaches with extra limbs and doesn’t even bat an eye?? Who??? Nothing about this is credible. And then the whole first half of the book just seems like a cheesy Nancy Drew novel with bad dialogue and sit-com like lines. The tenants even self-title themselves as the Mystery Gang as in Scooby-Doo. Clines’ writing is pretty basic also, he has his favorite words and sticks with them. “Shrugged” about threw me through a loop. For a book that is supposed to be super amazing, I certainly must have missed something.
The last quarter of the book or so was fine, there were some unexpected surprises and plot twists, but nothing strong enough to redeem the leading story. Some of the characters grew on my heart a little, but it was too little too late. If you want a light mindless read to get you through traffic: then 14 does a great job of getting you there.
Question of the Day:
If you could join the Mystery Gang, who would you be? While I love Velma and feel like she could be my spirit animal, I would have to be Team Shaggy because food.