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14 (Trade Paperback) - Peter Clines Let me start by saying that this was one of the best mystery/ horror books I have read this year.

This book has being compared to the TV series Lost and I can understand why. Because as I have said earlier, this is one of the tautest mystery/horror thrillers I have read in a long long time.

So, I would try to review this book without revealing even the mundane details which I think might hint towards the mystery of this book.

Basic Plot

Nathan (Nate) Tucker is our down-to-earth protagonist who has an underpaying job and as a result, is in dire need of a cheap apartment to stay. A stranger recommends him a building with unbelievably low rent (by Los Angeles standards, of course). Nathan rents the room and starts noticing weird things happening in his apartment. When he befriends other tenants, they too admit noticing peculiar things occurring in the building. So, a sort of “mystery solving club” is formed.

Sure, like any other book, this book has got its ups and downs but I ignored little mistakes to enjoy what is essentially a very gripping tale.

Ups

Mystery
They say that the journey is always more interesting than reaching the destination itself. For me, reading this book was an experience reminiscent to that. Peter Clines steadily builds the suspense which keeps you turning pages to know what happens next but the final reveal makes you a little sad that the mystery is over.

Continuity
You know what I really loath the most in a book? To end a chapter mid-action in order to raise the level of an already non-existent suspense.
Hello, Dan Brown!

Let me give you an example. (The story is imaginary)

Chapter 23 (continued)
Prad Bitt hoped that nobody from the Mafia would find him here but then suddenly there was a noise of car tires screeching on the gravel from outside. He cringed and slid under the stall as far as possible. There was a loud blast and half of the rotten door splintered.

A shadow appeared in the doorway and raised the shotgun towards him.


But then suddenly the chapter ends mid-action and we are treated to a very boring chapter about some other parallel plot line of little consequence.

Chapter 24
Zooey looked at the butterflies fluttering in the garden from her window and thought of Prad. Flutter flutter inconsequential flutter of time wasting plot flutter flutter 10 minutes of more flutter flutter then 4 more pages of flutter sad sad Zooey flutter.


After an excruciatingly painful and restless 15 minutes of reading Chapter 24 which seems like 15 hours at the time, we finally read about Prat Bitt again.

Chapter 25
Prat knew his time has come. The shadow looked ugly. That it looked horrible might have been the understatement of the millennium. He thought that they have sent the ugliest person in the world to kill him and that made him chuckle in spite of himself.

After all, he guessed, only the ugliest person in the world could make even his shadow look ugly.

Then the shadow moved into the light.

Prat said, “Mmmm....Mum!? I am saved! Hoorah!”


You see, that’s what you get more often than not when you read mysteries/ horrors/ thrillers. But in 14’s case, Cline has avoided such annoying midway chapter endings as well as inconsequential revelations. You have to read this book to really feel the difference it brings to the flow of the story compared to a clichéd mystery novel.

Numerous Tropes
Peter Cline has tried to cram as many tropes as possible in this book and has somehow succeeded most of the time.

Downs

Plot Holes, Physics be damned
Yes there are some major plot holes and there is one chapter in particular where Cline has unintentionally contradicted some major laws of Physics. That might be objectionable to some readers, but I gladly overlooked them here as this was really a treat to read. There are some red herrings as well, but nothing that would make you cry in the end, ”What the hell was that, then?”

Names
If you don’t know any Indian languages, then this wouldn’t be a problem for you. The building in 14 has an Indian name and I knew what it meant right from the start and it sort of gave away some of the major plot.

Last 1/4th of the book drags on, comparatively
Cline reveals his main mystery at about 3/4th way into the book. In my opinion, the book should have ended in maximum 20-25 pages after that, somehow. But it didn't and as a result, it felt dragged.

Ironically, the last 1/4th part consists of almost all the major action of the book.

But whatever its faults, chances are, you will like this book. I did.

4.5 stars