I had a difficult time describing The Book of Accidents to others, but not necessarily in a bad way. It had elements of horror, supernatural, disappearing serial killers, but also contained aspects of comedy enriched by family trauma and growth. Chuck Wendig’s The Book of Accidents was such a creepy and fascinating read that honestly left me completely unsuspecting and uncertain of what would happen on the next page, let alone at the end.
A family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
First, let me say that I love how Wendig gave life to his characters. Throughout you are experiencing the events of the novel from several points of view. He shifts back and forth seamlessly and creates such unique and diverse characters. Some you would love to go out and have a couple of drinks with, some you should probably high-tail in the opposite direction of.
The world (or dare I say, worlds?) building is magnificent. In The Book of Accidents, Wendig molds fascinating lore and mythos in this rural Pennsylvania town, creating thriving folklore that paints a sinister history and ominous aura of this place. Although I must say, I’m disappointed as a Penn State alumna at his brief and incorrect discussion on the buildings of State College — they don’t have sorority houses. A minor point and obviously not enough to cause me to not recommend the book.
I think it is also important to note that while I was reading this, I was staying in a remote cabin in the mountains of South Carolina. Several times I was creeped out and given the chills, looking around dark corners hoping not to find some of the characters of this novel lurking to make me their next victim. Hair-raising to say the least. I love horror films (but not slashers) and I am becoming increasingly impressed by authors, like Chuck Wendig, and their ability to make you feel that same sense of fear and suspense without using the visuals and sounds afforded to film.
While reading, I was concerned that The Book of Accidents had bit off more than it could chew. Wendig created so many plot threads that felt tangentially related causing me to drown in too many narratives that would never be tied together. When reading standalone books, this is a huge pet peeve of mine: to have a substantial amount of time devoted to an event or person for them to be then cast aside later. Fortunately, that was not the case for The Book of Accidents. Wendig was able to bring them all together seamlessly, leaving only some questions that are natural to leave unanswered.
I really enjoyed reading The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. He brought to life a disturbing and macabre story. As a reader, I felt immersed in the story and kept trying to find how the “good guys” would come out on top. If you enjoy horror and the supernatural, I strongly recommend you read this — although if you scare easily, probably not at night.