Bedbugs, written by Ben H. Winters, is a horror novel. If you don't like bugs, it is even more horrifying.
When it opens, a married couple with a little girl are looking for an affordable place to live. Now their idea of affordable is much different than mine, but I don't live in New York. Susan finds an ad for an amazingly affordable apartment in Brooklyn Heights. It is two floors of a house and comes with everything they could desire. There is even a 'bonus' room, a room where Susan can pursue her longing to paint. It seems as though this place was made just for them.
The landlady is Andrea, a little old lady who wouldn't be capable of making any needed repairs herself, but she has a handyman who takes care of all of that. Louis is an elderly black man, not much younger looking than Andrea, but he does get the job done.
It takes Susan several days to go into the 'bonus' room and start her painting. She has sort of been scared of this room. The first time she started to go in and use it, the smell of cat urine about knocked her down when she opened the door. She complained, and Louis appeared the next day to take care of the problem. Now she goes in and finds a picture, complete with a thumbprint in blood, of the previous tenants. For her first picture, she paints a portrait of the young lady in the photograph. When she goes back and looks at her painting the next day, more has been added and she wasn't the one who did it.
Susan wakes up in the middle of the night and sees a bedbug on her arm. They call the exterminator the next day, but their place is declared clean when it is examined. Susan still continues to see them, though, and gets bites from them. Neither her husband or her daughter are bit, nor do they see these bugs. Susan is more convinced than ever that they have a serious bedbug problem and begins to search for a solution. Then she discovers that she may be the one with a problem.
Now things really begin to get intense. Even if you've been able to lay the book down before (I wasn't able to), now you will be compelled to read until you reach the ending. I read this book in well under 24 hours. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hints as to what has happened and what is going to happen are skillfully spread throughout the book, although you may not realize you have read these hints until you reach the satisfying conclusion. The characters are well-developed and believable, although I probably would have lost my sanity and not held up nearly as well as Susan did. Then again, I really do not like bugs of any kind.
If you like books that are creepy, if you like to read books that scare most people, you will love Bedbugs. Did it scare me? No, but I'm not easily scared by books. The scarier they are, the more I love them. If your imagination is so vivid that even books will give you nightmares, you may want to avoid this one.
Quirk Books sent me an ARC copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like a copy to read for yourself, I have provided an Amazon link to the book below.