The Fold by Peter Clines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The author's voice sounds like Dean Koontz and sticks pretty damn close to its SF roots until it turns into some delightfully wacky horror. I'm a creature of habit. I love horror, and anything that gives it to me is my friend.
If it's ostensibly SF before it gives me all that horror, then I'm pink as a bloody peach.
I'll get something out of the way, first. It feels like a hugely popular novel. I don't know if it is, or will be. I'm reading it because it's new SF and it's an author I've never touched before. Even if it is dumbed down a bit for an audience, at least it feels its roots. Mystery first, SF second, and then, after the first two acts are done, it transforms into Horror. I'm satisfied with the progression, but I do think it could have been a bit more complicated and long, building into a grand masterpiece of ideas far outstripping it's fundamental teleportation science roots, not that I didn't appreciate the well-crafted renewal of an old multiverse trope.
Don't get me wrong. As SF I was thoroughly captured and loved the perfect timing and progression. It always kept my undivided attention. I enjoyed the screaming telegraphs of things to come, even if they were all hamfisted and obvious.
There were, on the other hand, some points that truly surprised me and hit me in the gut with the implications and the effects. Practically all the big reveals were damn satisfying and had me repeating the words aloud. It was damn amusing.
And that's what the whole novel was: It was Damn Amusing. The characters changed by way of broad strokes and implacable effects, and Mike was way too good to be true, but hell, at least he had a pretty down-to-earth rationale for keeping a wrap on his gifts. AND I'm so relieved that it wasn't yet another tortured genius trope. So, so.
Clever tale, wonderful progression between genres that built up to big action, and likeable characters. I can't say this will ever be regarded as perfect literature for any genre, but it's mixtures, clear prose, and clear characters gave us all a pretty damn slick and entertaining novel.
You know, brain candy, with mysteries, cockroaches, interdimensional portals, and multi-limbed alpha-predator horrors coming to a popular Californian town near you!
The literature equivalent of a blockbuster summer film. :)
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