American Elsewhere

[a Novel]

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
American Elsewhere
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Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things. When ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico, she learns that the people of Wink are very, very different...

Publisher: New York : Orbit, 2013
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0316200204
9780316200202
Characteristics: 681 p. ;,21 cm.

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Oct 24, 2014
  • gendeg rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

What Bennett does so well in American Elsewhere is offer a nostalgic slice of small town America, as wholesome as apple pie on the surface, with something rotting and dangerous underneath. He manipulates placid descriptions of people and places, nudging small details out of place, all seemingly innocuous at first, but the sum of the whole experience is goosebumps creepy. The first half is a slow burn. But in the second half Bennett starts accelerating the pace, throwing us plot twists that come faster and faster (and at times become more and more implausible), until I was no longer scared at night but more amused—and exhausted. Bennett doesn't let you rest until a monster showdown at the end.

American Elsewhere, for its sheer imagination and as a mashup of horror and science fiction, is a pretty compelling read, a page turner. I'm giving it 4 stars for the first half of the book and its buildup of creepy Americana and arresting images and scenes; 3 stars for the second half, when the horror show turns sharply into a Lovecraft-ian imitation.

Dec 22, 2013
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Typical Bennett -- complex, genre bending, dark, compelling. Mona Bright is a wonderful character.

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