The Broken Room By Peter Clines
Book/Novel Author: Peter Clines
Book/Novel Title: The Broken Room
“Absolutely brilliant!” — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling authorThe new supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Peter ClinesYou can still owe the dead.Hector was the best of the best. A government operative who could bring armies to a halt and nations to their knees. But when his own country betrayed him, he dropped off the grid and picked up the first of many bottles.Natalie can’t remember much of her life before her family brought her to the US, but she remembers the cages. And getting taken away to the Project with dozens of other young children to become part of their nightmarish experiments. That’s how she ended up with the ghost of a dead secret agent stuck in her head.And Hector owes Natalie’s ghost a big favor.Now Hector and Natalie are on the run from an army of killers sent to retrieve her. Because the people behind the Project are willing to risk almost anything to get Natalie back and complete their experiments.
Peter Clines has talent. ’14,’ ‘Paradox Bound,’ and ‘The Fold’ offered an original, engaging blend of sci-fi, thrills, and suspense. ’14,’ in particular, showed Clines’ ability to world-build and craft unique mythology. ‘The Broken Room’ begins promisingly: A young girl approaches a former Army fixer drinking his hurtful memories away in a bar. She knows things, things about secret missions she shouldn’t. And she claims the fixer’s deceased former colleague is the source of this intel. Shadowy government types arrive to abduct the girl, and our former fixer snaps back into form to protect her. Sounds intriguing, right? After approximately 100 pages, Clines’ ‘Room’ devolves into a predictable, repetitive (and lazy) narrative. His attempts to build mythology and the real/sci-fi world necessary for his plot to function are retreads from former books: The girl has acquired special powers to speak to the dead as part of secret government experimentation on children. She repeatedly vomits sacs of insect-creatures from other times. Our fixer hero keeps feeling “tinglings” on the back of his neck when danger is near. What disappoints the most is Clines’ ham-fisted politicization of the story: The girl was caught illegally crossing the border, “caged” with other illegal immigrant children, and then whisked away to a secret government facility where she and others from the cages were the subjects of dangerous and debasing experiments. Guards at the secret facility mock her and other children for not being able to speak English. Our hero former fixer is Hispanic and doesn’t waste an opportunity to point out how he “sticks out” and will get “funny looks” when in predominantly white areas. There’s the obligatory scene where cops pull him over in a stolen BMW and try to shake him down for driving a car that’s “too nice for two Mexicans to have.” Our hero leaves his young charge in the car at a gas station, and an elderly couple report her as abandoned to the station clerk while our former fixer is checking out. (Our hero suspects this is because of the color his skin, not negligence.) The elderly woman is described as “white” and may as well have been named Karen for how she is portrayed. (She threatens to call the police because a man appears to have left his child locked in a car. No one else in the scene seems concerned about the potential harm to the child.) Last, we learn the backstory of our Army fixer’s family: His sister and nephew were deported to El Salvador, where they were assaulted and killed, while he was overseas on a mission. Interestingly, both relatives are American citizens, and their U.S. roots go back several generations. But they were deported because “people didn’t want their kind here.” (Mr. Clines, little girls are more likely to vomit prehistoric bugs that the U.S. is to deport legal citizens.) There are many, many scenes of the Army fixer and child traveling together. They steal a car, drive, hide out, swap cars again, avoid government agents pursuing them, and repeat. The aforementioned bug vomiting returns in scene after scene, about every 30 pages in the last half of the book. Mr. Clines, ’14’ is you at your best: original, engrossing, and the auteur of the twist-a-minute plot. ‘Broken Room’ – its repetition, political virtue signaling, and lazy retread of the government conspiracy plotline that you’ve done much better in other novels – should be beneath someone with your proven talent. It’s certainly beneath your readers.
In a way Clines has perfected over the years, The Broken Room delivers a novel that allows the words to jump off the page and form a cinematic, action-packed tale layered with adventure, mystery, redemption, and depth.Hector and Gamma 16 have been compared to having a bond similar to Logan and Laura in the X-Men tale, Logan (2017). I wasn’t mad to say the similarities are there. The growing bond between the two throughout the story only intensifies the emotional climax at the end.Anyone that is a Clines fan, or enjoys vivid storytelling needs to put this on their must-read list!
Action and adventure and paranormal, a slightly grouchy man and a too aware pre-teen on the run. Of course I adored this! Flew through it and was captivated the entire time.
I’ve never read a book like this one, I’m not sure what genre I would put it in–thriller? horror? mystery? or all of the above!This is great writing from the very first page, it had me wondering where is this going? and I couldn’t turn pages fast enough, it finally hit a point that I thought ‘okay it’s about this” and kept turning the pages as fast as I couldI give this book 5 stars and another 5 to that–it is very good!
Love Peter Clines but this book reads like the outline of a novel. Characters, motivations and the “Other” more inferred than revealed.
I am rarely motivated to write a review. Unfortunately, this book is an exception. I am a big Peter Clines fan; 14 was excellent, The Fold was very good, The Ex series was great fun. This book was nothing like them. It was bad enough the plot was unoriginal and the ending predictable, but in addition, the writing was terrible. Every time he sensed danger, the hero felt an itch at the back of his neck and that phrase was used no less than 20 times. Similarly, the heroine “vomited gallons of liquid, buckets of mucus, a fire hose volume of slime”, and this happened in the last part of the book every 20 pages or so. Come on! There are many other examples of repetitive phrasing throughout. It was also inexplicable that an American citizen whose family has been in the USA for 200 years, is deported. Really! We deport Americans now! I don’t think so. In short the book was extremely disappointing and not close the the author’s previous high standards.