Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reading out of genre

Horror has never been my genre, really. As a kid I was afraid of even pulling The Exorcist off the bookshelf in our library, and I tried Amityville Horror as a teenager but got so creeped out. I've read some Stephen King short horror stories, but even then I get the jibbilies (possessed trucks ominously circling a rest stop-- creepy!)

So, when I was sorting through some of the ARCs that my colleague brought back from BEA last week, I found myself strangely intrigued by Breed, which is, in fact, a horror novel. I started it that day (Thursday) and finished Sunday morning. I couldn't stop reading it because I had to know what would happen.

Before I give a synopsis, here are some tech specs, if you will: the book is published by Mullholland Books, a division of Little, Brown and Company. Their tagline is "you never know what's coming around the curve." That's exactly how I would describe this book.

Alex and Leslie have everything-- Alex is a successful lawyer, Leslie works at a publishing company, and they live a wealthy life in an old house that has been in Alex's family for years. (Un-spoiler: it's not a haunted house.) The only thing they don't have is a child, an heir to the family home. After many procedures, Leslie urges Alex to think about adoption, but he wants a child bred from his genetic material. The couple learn through the grapevine about a Slovenian doctor who is doing groundbreaking work in the field of fertility, so they go to visit him.

Leslie and Alex both receive a cocktail of genetic material drawn from a variety of sources and Leslie is almost instantly pregnant. She and Alex start exhibiting strange characteristics, though-- excess body hair, heightened sense of smell, and teeth that are just a little too big...and pointy.

Ten years later, their children start to notice the same weird things about their parents. Why do the children have to be locked in their rooms at night? Where do their pets keep disappearing to? They have to get out of the lovely home, now in disrepair with a basement of horrors. They try...but how can they escape? This book brings a whole new meaning to "My parents are going to kill me!"

There is a plenty left to the imagination as to what has happened in the intervening years. I like how Breed lets the reader fill in some of the terrifying blanks themselves. I also think the subject of infertility and gene therapy is a nice, timely twist. Should we be mixing cocktails of genes together, or let nature be? Interestingly, this article from Mental Floss showed up in my Twitter feed this week, and I felt the universe align a little bit.

So I read a horror novel! I had to find out what happened next. Thanks, Chase Novak and Mullholland Books, for the surprises around the curve. If you want to read an excerpt, you can find it at the book's website. You'll be able to read the whole thing in September, when it's published.

Ex libris,



Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I am so glad to hear that you loved BREED! Thanks so much for this fantastic review.

Marissa said...

You're welcome!

Emily said...

Interesting and creepy!

Marissa said...

yes, very, but a PAGE TURNER like whoa.

Marissa said...

Here's another relevant Mental Floss link: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/130123