by Chase Novak (aka Scott Spencer)
Published on September 2012 by Mulholland Books
Audiobook provided by Hachette in exchange for honest review
Alex and Leslie Twisden lead charmed lives-fabulous jobs, a luxurious town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a passionate marriage. What they don’t have is a child, and as they try one infertility treatment after the next, yearning turns into obsession. As a last-ditch attempt to make their dream of parenthood come true, Alex and Leslie travel deep into Slovenia, where they submit to a painful and terrifying procedure that finally gives them what they so fervently desire . . . but with awful consequences.
Ten years later, cosseted and adored but living in a house of secrets, the twins Adam and Alice find themselves locked into their rooms every night, with sounds coming from their parents’ bedroom getting progressively louder, more violent, and more disturbing.
Driven to a desperate search for answers, Adam and Alice set out on a quest to learn the true nature of the man and woman who raised them. Their discovery will upend everything they thought they knew about their parents and will reveal a threat so horrible that it must be escaped, at any cost.
Leslie and Alex are having trouble conceiving, even though they’ve tried all of the conventional methods stateside that money can buy. When they come across a couple from their infertility support group that was in the same boat that they are–the wife clearly very pregnant now–Alex is desperate to find out how they became pregnant, even though Leslie has her heart set on adoption at that point. But the man is secretive, manipulative, and soon Alex and Leslie find themselves jetting off to Eastern Europe to undergo an experimental fertility treatment that is expensive and dangerous, but almost guaranteed to work.
And the procedure is a success, but with startling and horrific side effects. Leslie gives birth to two perfect babies: Alice and Adam. Soon thereafter, new parents Alex and Leslie begin to change–both in their appetites and in increasingly violent behavior.
Then the book skips ahead ten years and you find the once successful parents are now faltering, sheltering their school age children Adam and Alice, and keeping to themselves. The kids are locked in their rooms at night as a form of protection, but the children are suffocating to the point where they strike out on their own. And that’s where Breed really picks up steam as Adam and Alice run through New York City with their parents hunting them as the children try to find the real reason that their lives are the way they are. They meet more kids like them, and subsequently more parents just like theirs.
Breed is a captivating, richly dark horror novel that explores the what-if’s of infertility treatments, and how far some couples will go to be parents no matter the cost. I give this one a four out of five. There are a few characters and story lines that could have been a bit better developed. A warning to those who have an aversion to gore and blood since this book contains a fair amount of both. The book was fast paced once the kids broke out of their rooms, and even the side characters were interesting and engaging.
Get your own Audiobooks at Audible: Breed.
This book was a bit on the long side to listen to, coming in at twelve hours and three minutes. Narrator Peter Ganim has a rich, deep voice, and he does an excellent job of portraying the varied characters in Breed–from the wife Leslie to the children Alice and Adam, to the various accents needed for the European characters and rich multi-cultural nature of New York City. I highly recommend checking out the audiobook for this one.
Check out the book trailer for Breed. This actually captures the creepiness and atmosphere of the book perfectly!
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