14 - Peter Clines,  Ray Porter

Somehow the story of Huck Finn came to mind as I read this book. There is no obvious connection, but like a programmed response, the various aspects of the story triggered Huck recollections. Perhaps, it was the unpredictability of the story, or the sheer helplessness I felt as the author took me to realms strange and mysterious. In any case, I am compelled to write this review as a Huck Finn parallel. So ...

The book starts out as a mother lode of ideas and unforced thrills recalling how Huck had new-found wealth at the start of his Adventures. The author presents with seemingly commonplace characters and scenery that are each only slightly out of kilter, creating an overall mystery that poses the potential for narrative development in many directions. And like Huck, one is taken to places not expected, in some cases with eagerness and in others with reluctance and great trepidation. And all the while, the author spins this tale that can lead to wild conjectures (At one point, I thought the building was a spaceship, and in another I thought the door opened into the Twilight Zone). Then, somewhere around 70% in, the story takes an even more surprising turn, pulling the reader (and Huck) along kicking and screaming and wanting to skip ahead to find out what other big secrets lie ahead. At the final turn, the book sort of simmers down its meandering and, thankfully, follows more well-tracked modern novel pathways, in much the same way Huck rests from his travels, sitting by the riverside, fishing pole in hand.

So, after reaching the final line of the novel we ask, "What just happened?"

The book is hard to classify, with elements of thriller, mystery, adventure, fantasy, horror and science fiction, all told with a wise-cracking, light-handed prose that may sit well with Mr. Twain. It's probably most ideal to start a book such as this with no preconceived notions, especially with implied storylines from blurbs and book reviews such as this.

So I say nothing more, and just offer you my recommendation for an entertaining read. If you try the audiobook, the narrator does a creditable job providing easy to distinguish voices for the large number of POVs.