Book Review: “The Fold” — Peter Clines (2015)

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The FoldThe Fold by Peter Clines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About 80% of the way through reading The Fold, all I could think to myself was “For the love of all that’s holy, PLEASE stick the landing. You’ve been so damn good so far, don’t screw it up with some lame cop-out or some deus ex crapula or the like.”

That, thankfully, did not occur.

The Fold has the feel of a great late 80s/early 90s Stephen King novella but without being a derivative work, a strongly imagined and palpably terrifying genre-bender of a novel. In this satisfying novel from Peter Clines, a government-funded think-tank has successfully created a teleportation portal — in actuality a fold in spacetime, or a “wormhole”… allegedly — so a Defense Department head honcho wants his genius buddy to go check out the project, to see if it’s on the up-and-up.

The buddy — Mike, the protagonist of the novel — has perfectly eidetic memory and a shrewd analytical mind, and what first seems to be the biggest scientific breakthrough of all time turns into something wholly… other. And then when the Holy Crap factor comes into play… the screws tighten more and more with each page. There’s a growing sense of dread and terror, but also moments of humor and humanity that keeps you locked in.

Now that I think about it, this would have been a kickass John Carpenter movie from the 1980s starring Kurt Russell. Maybe in another universe.

I really, really enjoyed this book, a sci-fi/terror/thriller hybrid that kept me pretty riveted throughout. Did it stick the landing? Mostly. Maybe a stumble here or there, but I’m already psyched to delve deeper into this universe.

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