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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do You See What I See?: Bedbugs by Ben H Winters

Hi there readers!
Long time, no review!  Oh wait….that’s my fault.  Whoops!  Sorry to leave you hanging without loads of delicious bookish goodness to devour.  I have been reading…PROMISE!  It’s just the writing (and the extra reading) that’s been more of a challenge of late.  No worries though, I’m getting it under control (…even if a bullwhip IS required…).  Now, how’s about we dive into a (possibly) new to you title?  Here we go!

Today’s crowning glory comes to us from the crazy fab folks over at Quirk Books. (Hi Eric!)  Why crazy fab?  Simple…because they are crazy about books and always have something fab to bring to the table.  It may not always be to MY liking….but they are tasty treats nonetheless.  As I was working my way through this story and updating my GoodReads status, I kept getting responses from fellow readers about how good this book was, especially if you like psychological thrillers.  Though I can’t say I’ve read many books in this particular genre, I can say that I enjoyed this one through and through.

This title…is like one of those itches you just can never quite reach.  You know the ones.  It feels like something just brushed the back part of your arm and yet when you reach for it, nothing…..but what if it WAS something?  What if the something was just so devious, so fast, and so small that finding evidence to support your claims would be next to impossible…unless of course you stumbled upon the mother of all secrets in which case indisputable proof would present itself?  Yes siree, this one is a doozy.  Grab the calamine lotion…it’s gonna be a power of suggestion kinda day.  May I present the book of choice for the day….


From the publisher….
Meet Alex and Susan Wendt. They are the perfect couple in search of the perfect brownstone—and they find their dream house in the heart of Brooklyn Heights. Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric, and the handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the previous tenants. But the rent is so low; it’s too good to pass up!

Big mistake: Susan soon discovers that the brownstone is teeming with bedbugs—or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. Exterminators search the property and turn up nothing. The landlady insists the building is clean. Susan fears that she's going mad—but as the mystery deepens, a more sinister explanation presents itself: She may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell.

Yes my friends….bedbugs.  You read that right.  They’ve been in the news.  They’ve been in your (not you personally) beds.  They’ve been anywhere their little hearts (~eww~) desire and then some (~double eww~), but this book introduces a new breed of bug and it’s one you better hope you never encounter.  Why?  What could possibly make them any worse?  Let’s just say that when paranoia begins creeping its way into your every thought and you start to doubt your sanity over the possibly of the little pests actually existing especially since you’re the only one they seem to have it in for….yeah, that’s a step up.

The story is about bedbugs and yet it’s not.  It keeps you guessing whether they actually exist or if something else is behind everything that’s occurring...and it works well.  Aside from a few odd thoughts, conversations and coincidental (or are they?) strange events, nothing truly extraordinary happens in the beginning chapters of the book other than the families move.  While that might seem off putting, trust me when I say that the easy flow of the writing makes up for it ten fold.  Seriously, you can start a page one moment and find yourself 20+ more in without even realizing the progress you’ve made….I’d say that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.  Now, back to that story….

The characters are likeable enough (though Emma, their daughter, is a hoot!) and easy to relate to with their everyday worries of time, money, etcetera, etcetera; they could easily be the couple next door, though let’s hope not because that means that …well, you’ll see.  The author did a great job of giving life to each and every one.  We have enough details about them as we need, WHEN we need them.  Everything isn’t laid out for you at once, allowing you to become acquainted with everyone in due time. 

The plot will keep you guessing as it bounces from bugs, to not bugs, to maybe bugs, to something else altogether…in other words, be prepared for twists and turns!  Keep your eyes open and your mind recording the events as you move forward….you never know what little piece of information or side character may prove vital by book’s end; trust me, that my friends is a whopper of a surprise.  Okay, okay…so truth be told I had my suspicions, but NEVER to the extent to which things finally reached.  There’s a turning point in the book about 2/3 of the way through where it’s not only the easy flow of the words that’s making you turn the pages, but the “I-have-to-know-how-this-all-pans-out-RIGHT-NOW” adrenaline that takes hold. 

Recommended read for older teens through adult readers.  If not for the obvious issue of the subject matter potentially giving you the heebee geebees, there are a few instances of strong language throughout as well as the mind-blowing (hehe…inside joke, unless you’ve read it…) ending which can certainly turn a stomach or two (as can the illustrated divisions within the book…marked by a progressive numbers of bedbugs… ~shudders~).  What does all that mean?  It’s a good book…just not a first pick right before going to bed.  O-O  This book reached published status this past September, so it should be readily available at a bookstore near you.

Review copy courtesy of Eric at Quirk Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, visit them online, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  To check out what author Ben H Winters is up to now, check out his Twitter feed.

Until next time…*scratch scratch*….happy reading!


Donna M. McDine said...

Sounds like the quite interesting read. Thanks!

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....Petty Witter said...

Why is it when anyone mentions bugs I start itching? In this instance itching to buy the book. Thanks for a great review, well worth the wait if I may say so.

Tribute Books said...

I've been hearing nothing but great things about this book, and knowing that you liked it as well really makes me want to check it out.

GMR said...

Donna: Thanks!

Petty Witter: I know, right? I power of suggestion is mighty indeed. *scratch scratch* Would love to hear what you think once you read it!

Tribute Books: Yep..with good reason, as noted. ^_^

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