cover image No One Gets Out Alive

No One Gets Out Alive

Adam Nevill. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (640p) ISBN 978-1-4668-3739-3

Well-regarded British horror novelist Nevill (Apartment 16) does not disappoint in his latest standalone. Stephanie, a teenager estranged from her stepmother and desperate to make it on her own, rents a cheap room and immediately discovers that she’s made a huge mistake: the house is haunted, her landlord is abusive, and she has nowhere else to go. Over the following week, Stephanie is submerged in abject terror, bouncing from mundane despair to supernatural fright so quickly that the reader becomes disoriented—a sensation that only enhances the suspense. Rather than simply hanging his plot on evil ghosts, Nevill pits his heroine against two somewhat Roald Dahlian villains who serve as a chilling reminder that true horror is easily found in the real world. Their behavior is hauntingly depraved, but despite the highly sexual nature of their crimes, Stephanie herself is never made a sexual target—a welcome change from the horror fiction status quo. Though Nevill’s verbosity extends the book’s length by an unnecessary hundred pages or so, the slow and steady pace preys on the reader as much as the plot itself, eliciting a reading experience fraught with real chills. (May)