Title: The Book of Accidents
Author: Chuck Wendig
From the back: When Nate’s father dies, he leaves behind a final gift for his son: his childhood home. Married now, Nate decides to move in with his wife, Maddie, and their son, Oliver, seeking peace from the chaos of the city.
But it doesn’t take long before things get strange in the night and even stranger by day.
Because Nate was a child being abused by his father, and has never told his family. Because Maddie was a little girl who saw something she shouldn’t have. Because something sinister, something hungry, walks in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of this town in rural Pennsylvania…
And now, what happened all those years ago is happening again, and this time, it is happening to Oliver. When he meets a strange boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic, he has no idea that what comes next will put his family at the heart of a battle of good versus evil.
The gist: Wendig does not disappoint in this creepy, twisty, ghost story. It’s a book that might defy definition – some are going to swing towards elements of science fiction, others to serial killer thriller, but it’s a haunting ghost story to me. And one that kicks some veritable ass.
It’s a chunky book, and the story takes its time, giving you a chance to get to know each of the characters in their own right, all the better to understand their fears. It initially feels like a fairly straight forward haunted house tale, before spreading into something more expansive that transcends reality and time. Wendig sets many stories rolling, each character having their own arc to journey through and grapple with, and he ties them all together in a way that is neat but not predictable.
If you’re familiar with Wendig’s other writing, you’ll be familiar with the way he writes characters so well – flawed, sweary, unapologetically spunky. And just because he’s treading into spooky horror doesn’t make his characters any less cool. They bring humour to the darkness, act as a foil against the traumas presented, and keep you hooked until the end.
Another brilliant outing for Wendig, and well worth picking up and diving into as we approach spooky season.*
*Spooky season is all year, if you want it to be, just fyi.
Favourite line: Books were usually a way for her to power her own brain down and borrow someone else’s for a while.
Read if: You want a hunk of a book, a ghost story you can spend some time with, and characters with Wendig’s trademark sass.
Read with: The lights down low, and no trips to parks, mines or other dimensions planned for the near future.