June 29, 2022
As a diehard fan of Stephen King’s horror novels, I was eerily entertained with a recent read-alike: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. A rural Pennsylvania setting and a haunted house sounded right up my alley…
Off to an electric start, Wendig introduces us first to a serial killer facing execution, than bolts to Ramble Rocks, a thing – more than a place, where Nathan (Nate), Maddie, and their son Oliver (Ollie) return to live.
Oliver and Nate are introduced by their trauma(s): Oliver’s special sensitivity drives them to move back to their hometown, and Nate’s memories of abuse arise when he returns, both intertwined with Edmund Walker Reese, and the Ramble Rocks. At first, you wonder if the spookiness is simply a reaction from Oliver and Nate’s mental health, but you soon learn that you cannot “believe what you see,” as Wendig combines elements of horror with a metaphysical twist.
We learn the history of the Ramble Rocks through the Book of Accidents and, with it, the history of Edmund Walker Reese. Short and choppy chapters introduce brief character shadowing, and seven sections introduce numerical episodes – a quirkiness of this novel I really enjoyed.
From 666, Room 237 in The Shining, or Friday the 13th – Chuck Wendig introduces us to number 99 and he doesn’t mean The Great One. A suspense-filled character-driven novel rather than gore-fest or slasher, it still contains elements that will shock, and inspire you to turn the lights back on.