The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Do you like your books mysterious and all kinds of weird? Try ’14’ by Peter Clines

on July 28, 2016

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14. Peter Clines. Permuted Press. June 2012.

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…


The reason I bought this book is because it has been compared to the TV show LOST. FYI, LOST happens to be my favourite TV show of all time, so even though I knew nothing could ever really compare, I knew I had to read this book. I’ve been waiting so long to find a book which makes me feel the way LOST did. Whilst it didn’t totally do it for me, I was still seriously impressed with this book, and I can see why those comparisons were made.

This novel follows Nate, a guy living in Los Angeles who is stuck in a bland job, doesn’t really know where he’s going in life, and doesn’t really have much purpose. He’s looking for a new place to live, and at a party, somebody mentions a cheap apartment building (WAAAAY under-priced considering the unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign) that might be worth checking out. Nate likes what he sees, decides he’d be mad to say no, and moves in, no questions about the weirdly-cheap rent asked.

But Nate soon realises why the rent is so cheap. The Kavach building is ALL KINDS OF WEIRD. There are so many mysteries in this building, from the weird bright green cockroaches with extra legs (totally reminiscent of the freak Polar Bears on a tropical island, a la LOST), to the weird unexplainable anomalies in his and his neighbours apartments, to all the weird heavily padlocked doors he gets told off for snooping too near… but it only gets weirder. I can’t even tell you because SPOILERS so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s worth it!

As a child, I was OBSESSED with the idea that there might be a secret passage in my house. Of course, there wasn’t, but me and my brother annoyed my mum immensely by removing everything from the cupboard-under-the-stairs to discover that there was, in fact, no secret door. This book 100% appealed to the child in me that still wishes there were some kind of mysterious conspiracy surrounding our ordinary semi-detached house in Oxfordshire.

There were so many mysteries in this book, and this is where the LOST comparisons really show – instead of a mysterious island, we have a mysterious apartment building, and what an important apartment building that turns out to be.

I loved the characters in this novel, and I loved the group dynamic as they all team up to start properly investigating the weirdness of the place they call home. I also really loved the fact that they call themselves the Mystery Gang, and all the Scooby Doo references were on point.

For me, Nate wasn’t all that exciting – he reluctantly became leader, and there wasn’t anything I disliked about him per se, but he just wasn’t a stand out character. Possibly because he hasn’t got very much going on in his life, so uncovering the mystery of just what the hell is up with the Kavach building becomes his whole life.

My favourite characters were smart-cookie Veek (who totally has a crush on Nate) – the first person to start asking WHY all this weird stuff was going down in their building (even when nobody else would listen!), Xela who has blue hair, brings the photography skillz (important when investigating creepy locked rooms) and sunbathes unashamedly naked on the roof, and  finally the enigmatic Tim, an older retired guy who used to own a publishing company (or so he says) and has all kinds of knowledge about lockpicking and weaponry (which he claims to know simply because he once ‘published a book’ on these subjects… yeah… likely story….) There were about 10 characters in total, but all were very distinctive, and their backstories were gradually revealed to us in a rewarding way (a la LOST again).

My only disappointment with this book really was that I was hoping it would be creepier. I’ve seen this book described as horror, but I would say it’s more sci-fi. If I’d known that going in, perhaps I would have given it 5 stars. I felt that the last 30% of the book could have lasted longer, as I’d have liked to have known *more* once the reveal happened, but I was satisfied with the very ending. I loved how things were wrapped up.

I can’t say very much about the plot with this one, because it’s all mystery based. It’s not the kind of mystery I’d say is work-outtable either. It’s pretty whacky.

If you loved LOST, or if you generally love crazy original concepts, sci-fi, mysteries, and books where all kinds of weird stuff is going down, then you’ll enjoy this book as much as I did.

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22 responses to “Do you like your books mysterious and all kinds of weird? Try ’14’ by Peter Clines

  1. This sounds all kinds of awesome! I love LOST too, so this seems as if it would be right up my street. You’re giving me aaaall of the recs with your reviews at the moment lol! Great job. 😊 x

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Sammie! It was indeed awesome. I am always on the hunt for anything that has been compared to LOST because I was so obsessed with it! I’m glad you love it too. I’m thinking of doing a re-watch soon 😀 x

      • No worries! 🙂 Haha I’m like that too, so this has definitely been added to my TBR. I loved that show SO much, although the later seasons were a bit disappointing. 😦 The mystery of the first one was unbeatable though – it was so creepy! Do it! x

      • mudandstars says:

        Agreed – the first season was very mysterious and creepy! I love 1-3, and then I think it went downhill a bit – I still enjoyed it, but I think it went off the boil a bit. I liked season 5 but season 6 dragged a bit, although I did love the last episode. x

      • Absolutely! It starts to all get a bit out of control around the time of that writer’s strike in America, so it’s unsurprising really, but it just got way weird. Still entertaining, but I didn’t think it was as satisfying! The last ep was a bit of a mixed bag for me. 😦 x

  2. Codie says:

    Can you believe I’ve never seen Lost! I’ve seen people mention it before and also know it’s a cult survival drama. This book sounds like something I’d really enjoy! Great review 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks Codie – hope you enjoy the book if you decide to give it a go! Ooooh, please do watch LOST it’s incredible! It is a survival drama, but also has loads of weird and awesome mysteries and sci-fi elements. It’s the most addictive thing I’ve ever watched. And if you think this book sounds like something you’d enjoy, then I’d say you’ll definitely enjoy LOST too! 😀

      • Codie says:

        I’m always down for science fiction in tv! It’s actually my favorite. I’ll have to give it a go, especially since I found the entire series is on Netflix.

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too, I’ll take fantasy and sci fi over realism any day 😊 Hope you enjoy the show, look forward to seeing what you think! I may do a re-watch sometime soon.

      • Codie says:

        Haha, my sentiment exactly 🙂 and I’m excited to start it, I need more fantasy/sci fi shows to watch.

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too! I’m looking out for something new to start, so if you have any recommendations let me know 🙂 I just watched Stranger Things on Netflix – have you seen it? That was brilliant!

      • Codie says:

        For sci-fi/fantasy I’ve been watching Dark Matter, Killjoys, The Expanse (not on Netflix, though), Aliens (Hulu) and a few other things that aren’t coming to mind lol. Oh, there’s The Get Down on. Netflix, although that’s not fantasy or sci-fi, just a great historical show about the origins of Hip hop and life during the 70’s in the Bronx. It’s not for everybody but it’s pretty cool. No I haven’t seen stranger things yet, but I cannot wait to start it! I’m gonna have to start it soon – like today haha

      • mudandstars says:

        Oooh thanks so much for the recommendations – I’ll make sure I check these out on my next free TV-binge-watch day 🙂 And The Get Down sounds cool, I hope it’s available on UK Netflix too 🙂 And yesss you must start Stranger Things – looking forward to seeing what you think!

      • Codie says:

        They’re all quite fun (except The Expanse which is a space opera, so kinda serious) and easy to binge – like I did with Stargate Atlantis. The Get Down really is fun, it’s lyrical and political and historical, which is cool for me. Haha, I’m actually starting it today because it’s a free day 🙂 Oh, if I think of anymore sci fi type shows I’ll make sure to relay them to you!

      • mudandstars says:

        Awesome, thank you!! 🙂 I will make sure to check these out when I have some free time. I haven’t watched any TV in sooo long, but I’m going to be finishing my job soon as I’m moving, so I have a couple of months free for some binge-watching, binge-reading, etc. before I move house 🙂

      • Codie says:

        And You’re Welcome 🙂

  3. I also enjoyed the show LOST, although I never ended up watching the last season… maybe I should pick it back up… ANYWAYS I do like an odd mystery. Great review!

    P.S- I see you are reading A Darker Shade of Magic!!! How are you liking it?!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 If you like odd mysteries you definitely need this book in your life. And I’m glad you loved LOST too – if I’m honest, the last season was the worst season, and although it didn’t ruin the show for me I can see why some people were angry about it. I really liked the last episode though – if you were a fan of LOST it’s definitely worth finishing 🙂 I’m hoping to do a re-watch of the whole thing soon! And OMG I looooooved A Darker Shade of Magic so much. I need the next book, but I spent so much money on books last month I think I’m going to have to wait until payday. V.E. Schwabs’s writing is just fantastic! 🙂

  4. This sounds like an intriguing mystery book! I’m definitely interested.

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