Originally published in an extremely limited and collectible hardcover, Brian Keene’s latest, The Complex, is now available in affordable paperback and e-book formats.
For those who have been following Brian Keene’s podcast, The Horror Show With Brian Keene, you will know that The Complex is based on the very “colourful” inhabitants of the apartment complex that the author resided in while the book was written. (And if you haven’t yet listened to the weekly Horror Show With Brian Keene, you need to correct that right now.)
Just as Keene does with his classic novels The Rising, City of the Dead, and Dead Sea, a diverse group of characters are assembled in The Complex to battle and survive unwanted attackers on the verge of the apocalypse. In this case the residents of the Pine Village Apartment complex in rural Pennsylvania band together when they are attacked by a marauding group of crazed, naked and weapon wielding killers out for blood.
We are introduced to a suicidal horror writer, a single mother, an aging war veteran, a cat-loving widow, two drug dealing thugs, and a newlywed couple. Keene also introduces us to what is probably one of the first transgender characters in horror fiction (certainly the first to be written in such a positive light), and the writer also brings back his much loved serial killer, The Exit, as a resident of the complex.
The horde of killers, almost zombie-like, bloodthirsty and crazed, come out of nowhere to raid the complex with weapons of all kind. The violence comes out of nowhere, the bloodbath is plentiful and it’s truly brutal. This is as action-packed and horrific as Texas Chainsaw and The Crazies but at the heart of the story is a beautiful tale of survivors, of overcoming demons and differences and of joining together in order to escape.
The Complex is classic Keene. An edge of your seat, quick page turning, balls to the wall bloody and fantastic horror story.
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan