Ok, let me start by saying, if you like really well-written and narrated science fiction packed with action, mystery and suspense, stop reading this review right now and start reading/listening to “14” by Peter Clines. The book is outstandingly narrated by Ray Porter who more recently narrated the books in the Bobiverse series (in my wish list) along with over two-hundred and fifty other books. I know I’m a bit late to this book because it was released back in mid-2012 in audiobook format. However, if you have not already devoured this book, I highly recommend it to nearly anyone who wants to be taken on a crazy and fun journey. Very few books ever get a five star ratings from me, and even fewer receive those high ratings across all three Audible categories, but 14 deserves every one of them. What are you still doing here reading this? Go get the book now, you will not be disappointed.
It is very difficult to review this book at any level of detail without giving away some of the plot. I will not give any spoilers in this review, so it is safe for you to read the entire review without fear. I will say that the story is a bit of “Batteries Not Included” (the good parts), the Matrix, and aspects of Lovecraft thrown into a blender that come out tasting rich, smooth, and filling. Sounds like a strange mix, but it really is good. I also liked the author’s plug of other science fiction such as Dr. Who, Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, and even Scooby Do. Oh, so good.
When the main character is informed about an available apartment that is in a good area of town, closer to the job he hates, and best of all the rent is half what would be expected, he enters into this uniquely strange journey. He is not alone as number of current tenants in his new building come along; each unique in their own way. What, a green glowing cockroach in his new place during the first showing? Oh well, the rent is cheap, he can live with the little issues and plans on taking care of the pests after moving in. If that is not strange enough, things spiral into a full fledge adventure involving both life and death, new and exciting world both above and underground. Go and get this book if you still have not read it.
The author’s attention to detail along with his writing style made this such an excellent book. The author paints a picture and the story flows with the right amount of character development, backstory, action, conflict, romance, and even humor that held my attention until the end. A few times while listening, I zoned out and had to go back making sure I took in every bit of this wonderful story. Make sure you reserve time to listen and comprehend everything in the book. I’m not saying that it was too deep or confusing if you did not, it is more because I would not want you to miss any part of the author’s tale. The story is deep, rich, exciting, and engaging. For me, one of the best writers of fantasy/SciFi is Brandon Sanderson, and now I have another author included as one of my favorites; at least based off this book.
I do want to say that this book is not intended for younger audiences. Could they enjoy it? Yes, I think very much so. However, there are at times heavy use of vulgar language sprinkled throughout. Also, there are many references to sexual activities or sexual terms that may not be appropriate for young readers. Because of this, I cannot recommend to anyone who is not an adult or close to that in age. Could the author have left these parts out of the story and still be as engaging? Yes, and it would have opened this book up to a much larger audience if he had.
If you asked me to be nit-picky and say something negative about the book, it would be some of the research and terminology used to describe a lock picking event. One of the characters said to be knowledgeable of the skill called the tension wrench (tool) a crowbar. I continue to be active in the lock industry and have never heard it referred at any time to a crowbar. Again, this is a piece of fiction and such slight errors in research can be excused when the rest of the book is done so well.
Let me briefly talk about the narration by Ray Porter. I found his voice to be an amazing fit for the story and he did a really good job of voicing the many characters; both male and female. It is often difficult for a male narrator to not make a female character sound annoying, but Mr. Porter handled this part of narration very well. He is right up there with Jeff Hayes as one of my all-time favorite narrators; after listening to this book. I have a few of his others books in my library, and they have all been moved up to the front of the line.
Should you read this book? Is it worth the hard-earned credit? Yes, it is. If you are looking for a superior story, mystery, and fun, go and listen to 14.