Book of the Year 2010 (see all)
You just can’t beat a damn good horror book, particularly one that manages to scare and disturb you late at night, even though you are safe and sound in your own home.
Adam Nevill’s Apartment 16 is one such book.
The titular apartment is located within Barrington House, an upmarket block in London. It has been empty for fifty years - no one goes in, no one comes out. When Seth - an aspiring artist working as a night watchman - investigates a disturbance after midnight, his experiences change his life forever.
Not since reading Stephen King’s It has a book managed to instil such a feeling of fear and disquiet in me. Legend has it that one of the author’s past jobs was working as a night watchman. If true, then this certainly explains why the central character, Seth, feels so authentic.
The characterisation throughout is strong, and the setting of London is shown at its most desolate, showcasing its squalor and faded grandeur in equal measure. You may never look at London in quite the same way again.
The many supernatural elements help form nightmarish visions but it is, surprisingly, the everyday occurrence, and description of, an unprovoked beating that Seth suffers that made the biggest impact with me. It was hideously realistic, brutal and those who have experienced a similar experience will be able to appreciate (probably the wrong word to use) just how accurate Nevill’s depiction of this event is.
It is difficult to talk overly about what happens in Apartment 16 without spoiling the book for others so I’ll just say that I found Adam Nevill’s writing to be refined with a wonderful British feel. It is not often that I use the word eloquent within a horror book review but Nevill is a fine author and worthy of this accolade.
Apartment 16 is an excellent horror book from a talented author. Highly recommended.
Adam Nevill has been a devotee of the supernatural in fiction since his father read him M R James at bedtime. The influences that have helped form the horror writer are diverse, ranging from Maori legends to Doctor Who, HP Lovecraft and Sooty. As well as Apartment 16, he is the author of the occult thriller Banquet of the Damned. He lives in London and is currently working on his next book.
Review by Floresiensis
1 positive reader review(s) for Apartment 16
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Avid reader from USA
Very unsettling, unnerving and scary. Good book very worth reading. It's weird scary.
Louise from South Africa
9.4/10 from 3 reviews