Published September 4th, 2012 by Mulholland Books
Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page
Alex and Leslie Twisden lead charmed lives-fabulous jobs, a luxurious town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a passionate marriage. What they don’t have is a child, and as they try one infertility treatment after the next, yearning turns into obsession. As a last-ditch attempt to make their dream of parenthood come true, Alex and Leslie travel deep into Slovenia, where they submit to a painful and terrifying procedure that finally gives them what they so fervently desire . . . but with awful consequences.
Ten years later, cosseted and adored but living in a house of secrets, the twins Adam and Alice find themselves locked into their rooms every night, with sounds coming from their parents’ bedroom getting progressively louder, more violent, and more disturbing.
Driven to a desperate search for answers, Adam and Alice set out on a quest to learn the true nature of the man and woman who raised them. Their discovery will upend everything they thought they knew about their parents and will reveal a threat so horrible that it must be escaped, at any cost.
As much as I was looking forward to this book, by the end I hated it. No, hated it not a strong enough word. I loathed this book. So many times I wanted to put it down and never pick it back up, but I soldiered on until the very last page and began to wish I had followed through with the urge to abandon it. This book was a perfect example of a great idea that was executed terribly. This was written by bestselling author Scott Spencer, under the pseudonym Chase Novak. I, for one, will not be checking out anything under either name. This saddens me because I was looking forward to this book so much that I suggested it for my online book club to read, that ended up being a very poor decision.
***Warning: From this point forward this review may contain spoilers. Stop reading now to remain unspoiled.***
The basic premise of this was intriguing. An affluent couple who is so desperate to have a child that they travel to an unknown part of the world to have an unknown procedure performed on them. Here is where I ran into my first problem. At one point Leslie decides not to go through with the procedure. I can’t argue with her, she’s in a country she’s never heard of, in a filthy office, about to be injected by a weird doctor with something and the doctor won’t tell her what it is. She starts hollering and the doctor orders her husband from the room…and he complies! For all he knows they are holding her down and injecting her against her will! I was furious on her behalf. But then I got furious with her. She just lets it go and proceeds on their lives together, including having sex with him that same day! I would have gotten a good divorce lawyer before I was out the door of the office after beaning the doctor in his skull with my foot! So that bothered me.
Another huge problem I had with the beginning of the story was the POV. It was written in third person omniscient. So it basically read like a news report. We would see what was happening and how it happened. But we’d have no idea why it happened, what they thought or felt about what happened, or any of the details that make you care about the characters. At one point Alex grabs a small rodent and eats it and I had no idea why. Since i didn’t know if this was an impulse he’d struggled with or a thought he couldn’t ignore anymore it had all of the significance of a pointless sidenote. For that reason I found that I didn’t really care about Leslie or Alex because the only things I could see about them were ignorant, selfish, and horrendously stupid.
After the twins are born the POV shifts to third person close, which was slightly better than before but by that point I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plot, I wanted something to happen. Yeah yeah, I get it the parents are monsters now. They are fighting off the inhuman urge to eat their children. Gotcha, now let’s do something with it. What they did was that the twins ran away and spent most of the book running from their parents. Along the way they discover other kids that are like them and who have parents like them. Apparently there are hundreds of these people wandering around and yet…no one else in the world has noticed. That stretched my reality a little too far to be believable.
We also learn a little bit about the original doctor and what was in the original shots. A very little bit. I was excited about that and expected this story to become a quest for answers. But it didn’t. We were still on some stupid chase from the parents which was boring and starting to drag. When the parents finally catch them I thought, yay good stuff coming! Nope, it just kind of stopped. Complete with some death and mayhem. And THEN we go on a quest for answers back to the original doctor. All I could think was, “Why did no one think of this in the last 10 years?” But even that proved worthless because there were no answers to be had. The plot never went anywhere and then you reached the end and realized that you had spent several hundred pages on a pointless quest for nothing. This plot had so much potential and all of it was squandered. When I reached the end of the book I was mostly relieved that it was over. If there is a sequel, I will buy it only to tear out off the pages and shred them by hand. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. All that you’ll gain from it is feeling vaguely nauseous and then being angry that there was no pay off for the grossness.