Chuck Wendig: The Book of Accidents

Working at CanPages wasn’t a bad job. It was close to home, paid more than my previous job, and I had to actually WORK (because proofreading is hard). Of course, the skeptical would say that getting a job with a provider of local phone directories was a little short-sighted, especially in 2013. Anyway, yes, they were bought out and shut down, but a few sections were told to finish up what they were doing before leaving. Including my section, who stayed on for three or four months after everyone else had left.

With nothing to do.

And I mean, NOTHING. I had a desk, a Mac and two 23 inch screens, and no work to do. I spent those months on Google Plus, which was still a thing back then, and I’m pretty sure it was around that time that I came to know the work of Chuck Wendig. First through his G+ posts, then through his blog, Terribleminds, and then through his books.

Over the years I have read e-books, physical books, borrowed books from the library, asked for them for Christmas. I don’t know that I’ve read everything he’s written, but I have read all the Miriam Black books, and the Atlanta Burns stories. I read “Wanderers” with more than a little awe at the sheer scope of it.

It’s natural enough, then, that I would grab “The Book of Accidents” with both hands when it came along.

Chuck Wendig does not write easy books. He doesn’t spin calming visions of meadows and sunshine. His are not the tales of humourous misunderstandings, or social faux pas. Chuck puts monsters under the beds, then has those monsters turn out to be glove puppets of a worse monster, who is actually only the polite face of a monster so terrifying that other monsters leave a nightlight on.

“The Book of Accidents” is big, not as long as “Wanderers”, but still a healthy-sized tome, and I was looking forward to reading it slowly. I’ve just about finished “The Night Circus” for the third time, and need a break from the swirling rage it generates by being so effortlessly brilliant and simple, yet mind-numbingly complex and heartbreaking at the same time. The family sat down to dinner last night and put on a movie I wasn’t interested in, so I picked up “The Book of Accidents.” That would have been around 6.45pm. I can’t tell you what time I finished reading the book that night, because I lie on my side facing away from the clock, but I suspect it was past 1am. I’m a bit tired today, but it was totally worth it.

Like many of his books, “The Book of Accidents” quickly builds up a head of steam, and then it does not relent. The characters and the events are moving fast, and I did not want to stop reading, did not want to step out of the world of the novel and have to wade through normality for a day to get back to reading. I read, and I read, and I read, and when I closed the book, I did not feel cheated. The story delivers on the early promise, and while not every thread is neatly tied off, they don’t need to be. If there’s no sequel, that’s not an issue, but if there is, I’d read that for sure.

A few warnings – Chuck deals in gore, and there is plenty in this book. There are graphic descriptions of deaths and violence and school shooting victims. Like I said, he’s not writing whimsical comedies here.

But if you like sharp prose, fast plots, weird, weird, WEIRD goings-on and a SUPER-SIZED dollop of scary, then this is the book you need. And then go back to Blackbirds, Bad blood, Shotgun Gravy….

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