Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters
Reviewed by: Jennifer S. Roman, Radiantlit.com
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
In New York City, it’s tough to find any affordable housing. That’s why Susan and Alex Wendt and their daughter, Emma, are so excited to find a lovely brownstone in Brooklyn Heights for a song. Their landlady, Andrea, is a bit eccentric, but the apartment boasts so many nice features that they fall in love with the place and don’t give it another thought. Just a short while after moving in, however, things change for the worse. Susan finds a drop of blood on her pillowcase and begins to see bedbugs that nobody else can see, her paintings start to develop bedbug bite marks, and Susan learns of the strange disappearance of the previous tenants. Eventually Susan gets closer and closer to the brink of insanity until finally, Alex sees the bedbugs. These are a special kind and require drastic measures to get rid of them.
I love to read a scary thriller, but rarely does it turn out to be truly horrifying. Not since I was a teen hiding under my blankets reading Stephen King’s, Salem’s Lot, have I been so scared. The best part is that it is not the blood-and-guts gore that so many authors try to use. Rather, Winters plants a seed of paranoia in the brain about something that could potentially happen. In small doses, this is what makes a book truly creepy. Every so often I had to stop reading and take a look at my arms, or run my face along my neck, to make sure there were no bedbugs on them. That feeling of itchiness and skin crawling when one hears about a lice infestation is multiplied infinitely when reading Bedbugs, and that is what makes it so fun. True thriller readers should find this a fun and horrifying story.
Rating: Because of the themes of Bedbugs, it should be read by mature readers only.