Written By: Chuck Wendig
Published By: Random House Publishing Group
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
Being a huge Star Wars fan, I’ve read almost all of the Star Wars books out there, including Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series. It was the first time I had read anything by Wendig and, despite the restructuring and storyline changing Disney was imposing on Star Wars, I rather enjoyed the novels. I saw The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig advertised on a couple of sites I’ve been to and was intrigued, so when I found it available on Netgalley.com, I jumped at the chance to check it out.
It all begins in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is here that Nathan Graves used to call home. It was his abusive home life that he ran from when he left the town of Ramble Rocks in Bucks County long ago, becoming a police officer in Philadelphia. But now, Nate’s abusive father, Carl, is dying and he wants his son to have his home for the huge price of one dollar. Nate doesn’t even want to set foot in the house, but his wife, Maddie, thinks it might be good for their empathic son Oliver. Here, he can start anew with no judgement from the other kids in his school, Maddie can use some of the acreage to build an art studio and Nate could perhaps find a safer job.
So, off to Ramble Rocks they go as soon as Carl dies, but something Nate sees just after his father’s death gives him pause about his decision. It brings back the tales of horror regarding some of the incidents that happened in this town…unexplainable things. Nate thinks it’s just living in the house he was abused in and so does Maddie…that is until she starts going into fugue states every time she works at her craft.
And then there is Oliver, who is not fond of the move, but tries to make it work, until he finds himself on the wrong side of some bullying jocks. Despite the bullies, Oliver does make some friends – some gamers like himself…and an older kid with a dark demeanor who takes a liking to Oliver disregarding just how different they are. Still, Oliver finds it hard to feel comfortable around Ramble Rocks and with good reason.
There is a dark force occupying the area and, as it turns out, Oliver is its prime focus. It seems that Oliver is fated for a dark ending…one that has happened many a time before. Will Oliver be a part of the vicious circle the Graves family tends to follow, or will he break the cycle and save them all?
When I read the Aftermath series, I particularly enjoyed the interludes that took you out of the main storyline and offered you glimpses into the lives of others just trying to survive the fall of Emperor Palpatine. It gave what the heroes of the novels were doing much more purpose. The Book of Accidents is similar in this aspect. There are interludes in which you get glimpses into the lives of other citizens of Ramble Rocks and the incidents that befall them. You never realize how much their fates are intertwined with the heroes of the novel, but once you do, it offers up a pleasant “AHA!” moment.
The Book of Accidents is what I would classify as a horror meets science fiction novel. You have elements of scifi in the alternate universe sense and the horror, well, there is a serial killer involved and he likes to use different methods to achieve his goal. But who is he, really? That’s the mystery you have to solve along with the Graves family as they struggle to survive.
I was totally captivated by this novel. Chuck Wendig’s descriptive writing puts you right in the middle of the story. You can see everything in your mind’s eye as it unfolds. It also didn’t hurt that I know Bucks County and have traveled their often, so I know the area around which Ramble Rocks is supposed to be situated. I enjoyed the mystery that links everyone in the interludes as well as the main characters together. I had pretty much guessed at it by the middle of the novel and was delighted to know I was right toward the end.
I loved every minute of the journey, including the afterward in which Mr. Wendig discusses the adventures in shaping this novel into the work of art it has become. I would highly recommend The Book of Accidents to all of my horror and scifi-loving friends. Definitely well worth the read!