Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Breed by Chase Novak

Breed  by Chase Novak
Published by Mulholland Books ISBN 978-0-316-19856-1
Hardcover, $25.99, 320 pages
Horror is not a genre I often read. I used to read Stephen King (Cujo), and Peter Straub's Ghost Story scared the heck out of me. I don't read any of the vampire/werewolf novels that are so popular now, so I'm not sure what drew me to Chase Novak's Breed.

A cross between Rosemary's Baby (a classic horror novel I did read) and the vampire/werewolf genre, Alex and Leslie Twisden, two perfectly lovely Upper East New York City residents lead a wonderful life: fulfilling jobs, a happy marriage, an enjoyable social life. Having a baby would make everything perfect.

Alex is heir to a fortune, and they live in his family's incredible townhouse. After trying for a long time unsuccessfully to have a baby, the support group they belong to is starting to grate on them. Throwing money at the situation hasn't helped, but when they run into a former support group couple on the street and see that they are pregnant, they beg the couple to share their secret.

They get the name of a doctor in Eastern Europe, and off they go. When they get there, the situation is very scary and Leslie doesn't trust the doctor. But Alex convinces her to take the treatment and Leslie becomes pregnant.

Fast forward ten years and we meet their twins Alice and Adam. Every night the children are locked in their bedrooms, and they hear frightening, animalistic noises coming from their parents room. As the noises become more disturbing, Adam convinces Alice that they must escape or something horrible will befall them.

Leslie and Alex have been almost reclusive, unable to work, and their home has fallen down around them. The once beautiful showplace looks like homeless drug addicts live there. They live like animals, and any animals in their path had better scurry.

When Leslie and Alex find their children have escaped, the chase is on. Adam makes his way to a trusted teacher's apartment, where Alex tracks him. Alice ends up in Central Park and finds a group of mysterious children who have some kind of connection to her.

The children's ventures into the scary underbelly of New York made the hair on my arms stand up. Alex is always on the trail, one step behind them and when he finds them hell breaks loose.

I wasn't really satisfied with the end of the novel, however. I wasn't sure how it would end, but the end seemed a bit abrupt to me.

This is a violent, scary, disturbing, grotesque novel, one I never would have normally chosen to read, yet I couldn't stop reading. Novak (a pseudonym for writer Scott Spencer, who wrote Endless Love) knows how to keep the reader turning the pages.

It's the kind of book where you find that you have to force yourself to breathe out, and any little noise will make you peer into the dark corner of the bedroom fearing what you may find. Read this one with the lights on.

Although there are young protagonists in the book, this is not a book for young teens.

rating 3.5 of 5

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