In Chase Novak’s 2012 novel, Breed, the author deftly described the story of a pair of Manhattan socialites desperate to conceive. Alex and Leslie Twisden were so desperate in fact that they travelled the ancient, twisted streets of Eastern Europe for one last attempt at bringing a child into the world. The procedure was a success in granting them twins (Adam and Alice), but it was also successful in changing both of the elder Twisden’s into something much more…primal. The novel then picks up with the twins at 10 years old. Afraid of the parents they love and convinced that their home is spiraling to a level of terror that will soon devour them, the twins set out in search of answers.
Breed is a deeply disturbing look at the lengths people will go to have a child and how those people deal with the aftermath of what it took to have their wish granted. Simply put, this book will scare the shit out of you and it will continue to scare the shit out of you until its final pages.
Summit Entertainment has already acquired the rights to, Breed, but I implore you to read before you see the movie. The pace isn’t just quick, it’s also unflinching and the speed with which you finish this book will depend on how often you need to stop and take a break. One quick aside…once this movie is released, be wary of a PG-13 rating. I just don’t think it’s possible to do it any justice. This novel is as gruesome and intense as anything being produced right now and has a sex drive that would make the Marquis De Sade blush.
Any way that was just the first installment of the Twisden family saga.
BEWARE BREED SPOILERS
Novak’s 2014 sequel, Brood, picks up with Adam and Alice two years after the events of the first novel. The twins are now in the care of their fragile Aunt Cynthia who apparently sees the whole sordid mess as her opportunity to have life she always dreamed of. She’s renovated the enormous Upper East Side home and believes that love and fresh coat of paint could save the kids from the horrors perpetrated by the animals that their parents became. There’s one problem, the 12 year olds have noticed that a change has begun.
Yes, that change.
If Breed was a horror-based glimpse at parenthood and the changes and sacrifices it entails; then Brood is its companion piece about puberty.
Adam and Alice are starving themselves in a Sisyphean attempt to keep their bodies from changing. They will do whatever it takes to not become like their parents. They look to each other for support as well as the other feral children of Manhattan. Yes, there are others that suffer as they suffer. There are others whose wealthy parents needed the procedure to get pregnant. Some make the best of it and some are too far-gone and more prone to succumbing to their appetites.
Rodolfo is the leader of a band of mostly feral children in Manhattan who’s developed a strategy for coexisting in the real world. Selling their blood. Like the vampire blood pushers of HBO’s, True Blood, Rodolfo and his followers are amassing a small fortune peddling their blood to the middle-aged upper gentry of New York. He is the most mature and controlled of the other feral children that you will meet with one exception – his obsession with Alice.
Chase Novak is the pen name of Scott Spencer who was best known for his controversial story about teenage sexuality and obsession, Endless Love. Those topics as well as the continuing theme of what makes a parent are the backbone of Brood. Utilizing quick tempo and an economy of his writing, Novak successfully confronts these uncomfortable topics in an uncompromising yet still not gratuitous way that manages to stick with you.
Like all good sequels, Brood takes what is implied and glimpsed in the original and ratchets up the intensity even further and still leaves enough questions to set up the next installment.
Hardcore scares and universal themes are the hallmarks of what the best horror has to offer its audience. You’ll find them both in these novels and I don’t know that you’ll find better horror writing right now so get to reading before the movies start rolling out.
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