Friday, June 12, 2015

No One Gets Out Alive

For the past six months, nineteen-year-old Stephanie Booth’s just been scraping by, bouncing from one demeaning and low-paying temp job to another and just shy of being homeless altogether. But going home to her psycho stepmother is not an option, nor is running back to her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, which would just be awkward considering she dumped him. So it’s a stroke of badly needed luck when she finds a cheap room for rent in an old Victorian at 82 Edgehill Road in North Birmingham, England. Sure, the landlord, Mr. “Knacker” McGuire, with his age-inappropriate attire and odd manner of speech, seems harmless enough, eccentric even. Evasive though, that Knacker, regarding his stewardship of his “muvver’s house.” But this is only temporary, Stephanie tells herself, pushing aside the bad vibes scratching at the back of her mind. The minute she makes enough money to move herself into a better situation, she’s gone. 

Oh, how quickly things go wrong.

First, the voices. Strange voices coming from strange places—behind the fireplace, beneath the shower, across the hall—saying nonsensical things. Are these the voices of other tenants? Stephanie has yet to see any. Then, the noises: the scratching on the floorboards beneath her bed, the crinkling of polythene, the clomping of clumsy feet up the stairs and down the hall. What on earth is going on here? And what of the cryptic advice Knacker’s “cousin” and business partner, a six-foot-seven brute named Fergal, gives Stephanie? “Don’t worry about them. They can’t hurt you.” Mm, okay. It’s only after the arrival of two new tenants, Svetlana and Margaret, that Stephanie realizes too late why Knacker only “rents” rooms to women, and now she’s expected to perform. But if you think things are bad for Stephanie now, they’re about to get a whole lot worse.

Let me just get this out of the way: author Adam Nevill can write. Seriously. This guy’s like the literary lovechild of Stephen King and Peter Straub, and he just seems to get better and better with each book he writes (The Ritual, The House of Small Shadows). No One Gets Out Alive is no exception. Yes, it’s got the heft of a classic King novel, but you won’t be skipping past any pages. Warning: this is not a book for the squeamish. It’s dark. It’s violent. It may make you flinch as you read it. It may even give you bad dreams. But it is good, and if you’re a horror-lover, this one needs to be at the top of your reading list. Truthfully, I think Adam Nevill has just become my favorite horror writer.

1 comment:

Adam L G Nevill said...

Thank you for the great review, WCPL, and for your time. It's much appreciated. Adam