Breed by Chase Novak
How far would you be willing to go to conceive a child? That’s the premise of Chase Novak’s Breed, which follows Alex and Leslie Twisden, upper class New Yorkers, who will literally do whatever it takes to have a child of their own.
Even though Alex and Leslie are leading fulfilling lives, they still feel a piece of them is missing. When Alex learns of a doctor in Slovenia who performs a medical procedure that practically guarantees a pregnancy, he convinces Leslie to give it a try as their last ditch effort. They’re surprised by Dr. Kis’ harshness, and the painful injections they’re subjected to, but are ecstatic to become pregnant.
There are consequences, though, and Alex and Leslie have learned to live with them for the past ten years. Adam and Alice, their beloved twins, are locked in their bedrooms every night. Adam uses an old baby monitor to listen in to his parents to see what’s going on, and he’s disturbed by what he hears. His parents sound like animals, and he begins to fear for his and Alice’s life. The twins decide it’s now or never, and attempt to break free from their parents’ stronghold. Life on the outside is full of dangers, too, but the twins soon learn they aren’t the only products of Dr. Kis who have been privy to the dangers of their parents.
While they attempt to escape, Leslie and Alex are trying to control their urges, with Leslie being more determined. As they learn more about the side effects of Dr. Kis’ treatments, she realizes the only way to figure out what’s going on with her, and to save her children, is to get to the doctor himself.
I typically avoid books and movies that are overly scary; to say I’m a jumpy person is an understatement. However, as someone who also dealt with infertility, the idea of doing whatever it takes struck a chord with me, so I knew I had to read this book. What I consider “scary” is not a part of this book, and it’s more horror and science fiction than anything. A lot of creepiness factors in as Alex and Leslie “evolve”, but I never wanted to stick the book in the freezer, a la Joey Tribbiani.
It wasn’t easy putting this book down, and that’s definitely because of Novak’s brilliant writing. He kept the pace going and the pulse of the action bubbling at all times, and there was never a chance to catch your breath. Stephen King says Breed is “by turns terrifying and blackly funny…a total blast.” You can’t really argue with the master of horror here, so definitely get this title added to your shelf before Halloween, when people are ready to have their spine tingle.
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