Review: Breed / Author: Chase Novak / Publisher: Mulholland Books / Release Date: September 13th
Alex and Leslie Twisden have it all: wealth, happily married, family town house passed down through generations in Manhattan’s Upper East Side - but they don’t have children. And despite trying every infertility treatment going they are still left childless. This yearning turns into a deep-rooted obsession and when they are informed of a doctor applying an experimental procedure they jump at the chance. Flying over to Slovenia, the couple are submitted to a painful and terrifying ordeal (big needles and sexually frustrated dog) that allows Leslie to conceive and the couple to reach their so desperately sought after dreams... but nothing is ever simple.
Fast forward ten years and the Twisdens have twins, Adam and Alice. The twins are deeply and unconditionally loved by their parents, but they are wrapped in secrecy in a degenerative lifestyle set to only get worse. The twins are locked into their bedrooms each night, listening to the violent and obscene sounds that come from their parents’ bedroom. Questions begin to arise that beg an answer. What happens to their pets? And what’s in the cellar?
Using a well-placed baby monitor, Adam listens in to his parent’s nocturnal conversations and discovers that despite their love for him and his sister, his parents actually want to eat him and are struggling to hold onto the remains of their shredded humanity.
Unable to stay in the house, the twins plot their escape and set into motion a series of dramatic and ill-fated events.
Breed is at times a dark novel, deceptively so. It lures the reader in with the Twisdens, a rich couple searching for a miracle, then out of nowhere thrusts horror into your face and leaves an unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach. As the story descends into madness and animal ferocity, one can’t help but feel for the Twisdens every step of the way. The characters are multi-dimensional and the reader has no problems with rooting for them despite the slow reveal of their base natures.
Mixed in with the horror are moments of humour which balance well within the tale, and there are enough action scenes (for the most part) to keep the momentum going with a full head of steam.
Small criticisms lie in an early conclusion to a long-standing chase sequence and dramatic drop in pace which ultimately leads the final few chapters to feel drawn out before working back towards its heart-breaking conclusion.
Breed makes for a chilling horror from Charles Novak. Well worth the read.