Friday, 26 April 2013

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Publisher: Penguin
Format: ARC
Published: 7th March 2013
Number of Pages: 272
Book: For Review*
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller Suspense, Contemporary, Realistic-Fiction, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, YA
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Swearing, Violence, Death, Alcohol, Drug and Smoking References, Plus Horrible Mind Games
Author's Blog: Kevin Brooks

I can’t believe I fell for it.

It was still dark when I woke up this morning.  As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.
A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete.  There are six little rooms along the main corridor.
There are no windows.  No doors. 
The lift is the only way in or out. 
What’s he going to do to me? 
What am I going to do?

If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.
It did.
Only this time it wasn’t empty…

“I thought he was blind.  That's how he got me.  I still can't believe I fell for it.  I keep playing it over in my mind, hoping I'll do something different, but it always turns out the same...”
“A thousand questions have streamed through my head.
Where am I?  Where's the blind man?  Who is he?  What does he want?  What's he going to do to me?  What am I going to do?
I don't know…”
Linus was living on the streets, living rough.  But that doesn't mean he was rough.  When he saw the blind guy struggling, he went and helped.
Linus didn't see it coming.  
One minute, he's helping this blind man.  The next, there's a cloth of chloroform over his mouth.
And the next... he's here.  Wherever here is.  It's underground (he thinks), has no windows, no doors out, no ways out.  It's inescapable.  
And he can't figure out what this man wants.  Why the hell he's doing this to Linus.  The best theory he has is that the guy found out who Linus' dad is and kidnapped him for ransom.
That theory?  Yeah, it goes out the window (or it would if there were one) when the others start showing up...
Some books... some books are just impossible to put into words.  Impossible to find the words for them. The Bunker Diary was exactly that book.  It is literally everyone's worst nightmare put to paper.  Someone, you don't know who, snatches you and leaves you in a windowless, doorless building.  You don't know where, you don't know why and you don't know what he's going to do to you...  Reading The Bunker Diary was utterly terrifying, horrible and awful.  It was also utterly amazing.  Stunning.  It's one of those books you start reading and instantly find yourself hooked.  You will read it in one go, heart-pounding, terrified, in awe, hooked.  In fact I’m not even sure I can say much without giving it all away.  But it was stunning.  Incredible.  Horrible.  Amazing.  You will read it and be one-hundred-per-cent hooked, start to finish.  And Oh.  My.  God.  Just… God…  I have no words…
The characters in this book, well, they all felt really, really real.  Some I liked.  Some I hated.  All were totally and utterly real to me.  Just off the page.  I may not have known much about any of their pasts or whatever but I felt them all...  
I really liked Linus.  He was a strong character: brave – definitely a hell of a lot braver than I would've been in his place.  He was so together – so strong and calm.   I loved how we slowly learned this, slowly got to know him.  The way it happened slowly – like we were gaining his trust.  And even then, he held things back.  After all: who knows who'd be reading this diary?
Jenny was really sweet.  Out of all of them, she was the one who deserved it least – she was so young, so sweet, so innocent.  So brave.  And I loved the relationship between her and Linus – it was really sweet.  Like brother and sister.  And unlike all the other relationships in this book, it was pure.  Y'know?  Not bitter or anything.  They kept one another going.
I really loved Russell.  I HATED Bird.  Like actual, physical hate.  He was so annoying and horrible and just ugh!  I wasn’t a fan of Anja either.  Fred was ok...
And I thought the group dynamics were totally believable.  I mean, they didn't all get along.  You throw a whole load of various people in together, they aren't gonna get along like a house on fire.  I mean, have you seen I'm A Celebrity?  So there was bickering – and quite a lot of it.  It was, in a totally sick way, intriguing to watch these so very different personalities interact under the intense pressure.  Horrible, yes, but interesting.  Especially the enemy started screwing with them.  Playing games.  Messing with their heads.  Could you hold out – keep fighting, stay together – with a psychopath pulling at your strings?  Can Linus and the others?  Read and find out, my friends...
As for Him, "The Man Upstairs.  Mister Crazy.  The Man With No Name," he was terrifying.  Horrible.  Despicable.  I mean, who does that?!  Seriously.  What kinda person do you have to be?  Off topic, I found it really interesting that Linus referred to him as "Him".  Why?  Because generally when we use a capital for 'Him' we're talking about God...  *I start to ponder again*
The writing was, quite frankly, stunning.  I was hooked from the word go.  I could hear Linus' voice in my head, I felt what he did, felt the anger and fear and desperation.  I was tugged in, held there, never let go, not once.  Not even left go when I'd read the last word and put the book down.  Some of Brooks' words.... they just stayed.  Right there in my head, lingering.
Oh, and I loved the voice changed depending on what Linus was going through.  That was pure genius on Brooks' part.
This plot.  My God!  Talk about terrifying.  It was suspenseful, to say the least.  What made the whole story even worse was that nothing really happened.  It's not like a serial killer book, where the bad guy whips out a knife and kills a whole bunch of people.  No, this book was about the fear.  The fear of what could happen.  What new psychological torture the beep is gonna wreak on you.  And I never knew what would happen next - never knew what the next sick trick would be.  Just never knew.  The plot: god, I never saw anything coming ever.  And that ending.... Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  I just... God.  Whoa.  Man.  Horrible.  And so different from usual YA endings too…
But what made this book stunning was the horrifying reality it had.  People go missing all the time.  Kidnapped.  Taken.  Tortured.  Killed.  Children.  Teenagers.  Adults.  Rich.  Poor.  No one's safe.  That is why it is so very terrifying – and why The Bunker Diary really, truly packed one hell of a punch.  It's stunning.  Hard hitting.  Unputdownable.
This book... Just, God.  I can't, can't even... Just can't.  Can't stop thinking about it.  Can't get it out of my head.  Can't get over it, not when my hearts still racing like this.  Can't find the words.  Can't do it justice.  Can't.  Just, can't...  
Sorry, I'm not being very eloquent here...  It's just, some books, you can't find the words - not when it's spinning around in your head, taking over your thoughts.  You just can't seem to find the words.  So all I’ll say is: Yes, The Bunker Diary is terrifying and horrible and shocking and has left me speechless and possibly a little mentally scarred, but you... you just have to read it.  It is incredible.  In a horrible way, it is utterly and irrevocably incredible.  I can't recommend it enough really.

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:

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Happy Reading
* This book was received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review


Penelope Sanchez said...

This is a grim and dark book but is written in a fascinating way that develops in displaying Linus's mind throughout the book. Highly recommended for those that enjoy an open ending.

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Unknown said...

I really like and agree with your article in every aspect (except I liked Fred very much :D).
I Just finished the book and my hands are shaking. It's just such a moving, terrifying and shocking book. I never experienced something like that before. Truly unique

Unknown said...

Well i cried at the jenny part

Cath Brookes said...

Wow, this is a great book. With the unforeseen ending. I don't know why everyone is complaining... I thought the book was well written with a great plot.

Cath Brookes
Sound Financial

Unknown said...

Possibly one of the most depressing books I've read in a while, but my god was it a page-turner. Finished the whole thing in one sitting.

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