Peter Clines is a fantastic writer. What makes him a fantastic writer is not necessarily his prose style or his ability to make conversations between characters seem real and natural (which he does). However, he has an ability to take something in the real world and make it real enough and believable enough to force the reader to fall helplessly into the mysterious world he creates. I mean the word “force” because it was very difficult to put the book down.
Writers should read this book for three reasons:
- To examine the way Clines presents a detailed environment that is so vivid that there must be floor plans.
- To examine the way Clines develops the plot, feeding little clues to the reader while still keeping them in the dark.
- To examine the way Clines builds tension at the end of each chapter, thereby forcing the reader on to the next chapter.
These three elements are what makes Clines’s novel sing. In this age of non-readers who will put a book down in less than three chapters if it doesn’t grab them, Clines manages to interest the reader so much that they are continually drawn back to the book. This is not borne on a desire to “see what happens next” but more to discover the insane mystery of the world he has created. Two-thirds of the way through the novel there is a real-world detail revealed that after a quick google search about it causes the reader further shock and awe.
If we read “14” and learn the lessons of this contemporary work, we too can write novels that astound in this jaded world of non-readers.