A chilling and unsettling look into the mind of a serial home invader, with a blueprint provided for the reader. Told in the second person perspective, this story makes the reader complicit in these highly orchestrated invasions motivated by gratuitous entertainment. Fame appears to be a motivating factor: to see one’s name written in the hallowed annals of FBI records. The director—or rather main Invader #1—provides a detailed account of the necessary elements to pull off an outstanding “performance” that will not only baffle the authorities, but enthrall “the cults” watching the events on the silver screen. You see, the most important part is to capture the grisly, ongoing events with “the camera.” It is as important to capture the stalking and planning, as well as the kills.
Perhaps a commentary on our society’s voyeuristic pleasure in capturing the ongoing tragedies of life through the news, true crime documentaries, and even horror films. Try to deny the morbid fascination of the havoc created on a “scary” horror flick, in a similar fashion tension is successfully ratcheted up as the events unravel in progressively hideous and gruesome fashion, upon an unexpecting suburban family of four.
It is quite evident that the sanctity of the home is an illusion. The Invaders can spend weeks and even months in planning. Home security is only an inconvenient obstacle, but easily overcome. The victims are studied, their personalities, routines and proclivities are studied, which will form the basis of the later torture. This apparently is an important part of the entertainment, for both invader and viewer (or reader). The greater the level of fear instilled, the more successful will be the performance. Improvisation and creativity of the invaders in the face of unexpected events heighten the enjoyment of the voyeurs and invaders. Never forget the importance of entertainment. The more unsettling and gruesome, the better.
Seidlinger weaves a masterful and unsettling account of home invasion for sport, that places it in a deserved pedestal of nasty horror tropes, rivaling serial killer totems. It reaches gestalt status, his performances become more than the sum of its individual parts. Rather than gore, unbridled tension creates the distaste and chilling nature of these heinous crimes. No longer can we believe this could never happen to us. Is waiting for violence to occur a guilty pleasure? The capture of these invasions on film rivals the revulsion felt with the “snuff films” of yore.
Thanks to NetGalley and Clash Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof of this immersive novel in exchange for an honest review.