The time is upon us!
The stars have aligned and the altar is ready. Place upon it your copy of Chuck Wendig’s THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS and together we shall collapse this wretched existence into the darkness from whence it came!
The Book of Accidents is a tome. It is at once the future of horror and a throwback to the golden time of Stephen King’s IT.
The Graves family moves back into Nate Grave’s childhood home. He did not have a happy childhood there and despises his father. The book opens as Nate’s father is on his deathbed and Nate grudgingly accepts inheriting the house. (More accurately, he buys to for a dollar on principle).
Chuck plays to the crowd a bit at the opening of the book and gives us horror fans the things we want; a main character with a past, in Maddie we get a woman who makes art and possibly has a supernatural gift and Oliver, who has a touch of “the Shining”. The feeling I had at the first few chapters is similar to the one you get at the top of a rollercoaster.
And then we’re off!
Chuck doesn’t hold back but goes full throttle. Other dimensions, a scene that feels classic King but is uniquely Wendig as Oliver crosses paths with bullies and (nearly dies). And then we get the mysterious stranger – Jake. Jake has a strange eye and an even stranger book (yes, the Book of Accidents).
He opened the book to the middle, and Oliver got closer, huddling near to the book. It was a logbook, by the look of it – longer than it was tall, landscape, not portrait. And it was definitely old – not made to look old, but truly old-old. Decades old. Maybe a hundred years old, even.
The open page showed a log of what looked to be accidents. Mining accidents. A lost finger. A broken arm. A rock fall. A collapsed tunnel.
All inked on weather pages the color of cigarette smoke. The ink itself, a powdery denim blue. Fading, as if the book was trying to forget what was in it.
It occurred to Oliver, How can I even see this? It was night. They were in a storm in the woods. But the pages, he realized, glowed softly. An eerie light emanated from the book, like light through a pool of water.
“What is this?”, he asked.
“The Book of Accidents,” Jake said. He smiled at Oliver. That one strange eye of his seemed to gleam. His voice took on a soft, deep timbre-the sounds of the storm were now gone. “A logbook of accidents from a coal mine. Accidents that aren’t accidents. Because accidents are never just random, Olly. They’re the end result of some kind of breakdown. Things falling apart.”
Threaded into this tapestry of horror is the underlying story of Edmund Walker Reese, a convicted serial murderer who rumor has it “disappeared” from the electric chair upon his execution. Reese was trying to open up another dimension by killing 99 young women after carving a number into their skin.
So much of the Book of Accidents is an homage to what has come before that I am in awe of Wendig’s knowledge of horror. And I probably only caught like half it. Chapters named “We All Float Down Here” and friendships that nod to the kids in Stranger Things and so much more. This is fun.
Chuck Wendig has achieved something unique with The Book of Accidents, making us smile and nod as we turn pages in horror.
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