Sunday, April 3, 2016

Apartment living...and dying

The Complex

By Brian Keene

Publisher: Deadite Press

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Brian Keene has returned to what he does best; flooding the reader with gore and violence while forcing them to actually care about the poor souls whose lives is being confronted with the worst possible odds for survival. Keene has a penance for inventing creative ways to really fuck up the world. It goes to his overall "Labryrinth Mythology", a device that leads to infinite ways Keene can continue to destroy Earth and pretty much everything else. It is not really clear if The Complex is part of this ongoing theme but I would lay odds on it. We never find out the reason for the primary threat to the characters in The Complex. The imminent danger is an invasion of very live but naked and homicidal humans who destroy anything in their path. You could call it one of those "not a zombie" zombie tales. But this differs from many of Keene's violence apocalyptic invasion tales in that the entire story is centered around one single apartment complex, only stretching the focus when the remaining inhabitants venture an escape. While we never know the cause, we also never find out if it is universal like so many of the author's other horror tales.

What this arguably minor construct does is that it focuses us on the tenants of the be-seized Pine Center Apartment Complex. The building is basically lower to lower-middle class with people who are either struggling or gave up struggling. Despite their close quarters, few people know the others tenants well. The protagonists include a reclusive cat lady, a war veteran,a tran-sexual, a couple gangster wanna-bees and a suicidal writer among others. From the first chapter, the action is non-stop. We are introduced to the characters by their apartment locations. As the tenants come together, we discover that not only are they fighting the onslaught of killers but also the preconceptions of their neighbors who they barely know.

But first and foremost, The Complex is a straight-out horror novel with non-stop action. It can be read that way and be thoroughly satisfying. However, it is the skill of the writer that one can read between the line and see the social underpinnings. Either way, The Complex is geared to be one of the most exciting novels of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment