314 by A.R. Wise
Smashwords (e-book), 2012
I downloaded this for free from www.kobo.com.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Alma Harper has been trying to forget what happened in Widowsfield 16 years ago. She has a good life as a music teacher now, and might rekindle her relationship with her one true love. However, the number 314 haunts her, and threatens to bring her back to the day that her brother disappeared. When a reporter shows up, just days before March 14th, Alma realizes that her past is coming back to haunt her. What happened on March 14th, at 3:14, 16 years ago? No one but The Skeleton Man can remember.
It’s going to happen in three minutes.”
Mark Tapper sat on the edge of his son’s bed and tried to comfort the eight-year-old. He considered calling an ambulance, but didn’t know if what Jeremy was suffering from qualified as an emergency. He decided to wait for his wife to get home, since she’d be there in just a few minutes anyhow. She’d left work early when the school called, but Mark was able to get to Widowsfield Elementary to pick Jeremy up first.
I really enjoyed 314. Wise offers a proper horror story complete with demons, cursed towns, lost souls and haunted minds – the whole works, warts and all. The opening few pages pack a punch and drag the reader screaming head first into the action. 314 starts in the place the best novels do – slam bang in the middle of the chaos. I barely had time to mutter WTF before all hell broke loose. 314 is quote gory in parts especially in the first chunk of the novel but I’ve read books that are a lot worse and the gore in 314 is nothing compared to what I’ve seen in movies. Wise includes a warning about the gore so you can’t bitch afterwards that you had no idea there would be blood and guts spilled. I liked the way Wise structures the story. 314 is split across three sections. The chapters in section 1 start in 1996 when some bad whit went down in Widowsfield and move forward in time to 2012 focusing on Alma’s search for the truth. The chapters in section 2 are all set in 2012. The chapters in section 3 all start in 2012 and move back to 1996. This structure plays on the fact 314 deals with people trapped in a cursed town forced to re-live terrible events over and over. The time shifts in 314 are fairly simple and I’ve read novels much more complex. Wise starts each time shift with the date so you I didn’t get lost or confused. Wise offers something very unique in 314 and it’s the twisted storyline that held my interest all the way through. I had these questions in my head reading 314. Some were never answered and others were answered in a way I never expected. 314 ends on a cliff-hanger. I definitely want to read the other two volumes in this trilogy to see if the other questions are answered. The characters were also very well written in 314. The secondary characters were as important and as fleshed out as the main ones. There were a few times when the characters said or acted in a cheesy or stereotypical way but what horror novel doesn’t have a bit of cheese? Volume 2 is available on kobo just now but volume 3 isn’t so I’m going to wait until I can buy both.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman