The first night that I decided to jump into ‘The Invasion’ by Brett McBean I read around 20% of it on my Kindle. I liked what I read. The book was set in my home country of Australia and had an interesting way in which it was written; each chapter takes place inside of a different room within a house. We are introduced to the characters inside of the house and before you know it they have some unwelcome visitors. That is pretty much the synopsis. The next night I started reading again, couldn’t put it down and finished it.
The story caught my off guard a little. It is quite long (300+ pages) and things take shape very early on. When the intruders entered the story so soon I thought the author had made a terrible mistake. How could this invasion keep me engaged for another 200+ pages? Isn’t it going to run out of ideas? Will it run out of steam?
What I didn’t know was enough about Brett McBean. I am aware of him and his work but have never read any of his stories before and so here is where I start gushing about this book…
‘The Invasion’ is THE best horror book that I have read in 2016 (along with ‘Mister White’ by John C. Foster). McBean is a superb storyteller. ‘The Invasion’ hit all the right buttons for me as a reader and I will tell you why: The characters are excellent; just a bunch of very ordinary, unspectacular folk that you could easily imagine living next door to, and this is why what happens to them is all the more horrific and upsetting. The dialogue is natural and free flowing; never feeling forced or out of place. The tension McBean creates is intense, due in part to the pacing of the chapters. I said earlier that each chapter takes place inside a different room, but what McBean does well is he makes his chapters really short when there is a scene that demands it; be it a chase scene or a scuffle, it really does work brilliantly. I literally lived every moment inside of this house of horrors and let me tell you there are some graphic, gruesome scenes in this book. Because the story takes place inside of a house where our characters have no real place to run, this creates a real claustrophobic atmosphere; I felt as if the walls were closing in around me and the house that at first seemed quite large was gradually getting smaller and smaller. I don’t get upset easily at all with horror books but some scenes in this really made me feel uncomfortable. The intruders are a vile bunch, but you don’t get that impression early on. It seems like a simple break-in, though things spiral out of control with the introduction of Mr Fear-the group’s leader. I think the book provides a real insight into the youth of today, and about how obsessed they are with technology and social media. Our intruders are forever using their mobile phones and talking about uploading the videos they create.
This book is a masterclass in building tension, fear and excitement. It builds and builds right up until the final few pages where I was left feeling drained, exhausted, horrified and upset.
‘The Invasion’ is a book by a writer at the top of his game, an enthralling, heart-stopping survival horror journey that will leave you feeling emotionally spent. One of the best horror books I have read for quite some time.