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Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters

Bedbugs (2011)

by Ben H. Winters

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1414685,024 (3.45)5

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bedbugs was one of those horror books that made me paranoid. I mean, good horror books always make me paranoid, but this one kind of took it to the extreme. I have huge bedbug paranoia, always have. Bedbugs kind of made it worse. So, Bedbugs gets a point for giving me the creeps.

However, paranoia and mild creeps aside, I did find Bedbugs to be kind of...forgettable. I read tons of horror and this one just didn't make that big of an impression.

Overall, I found Bedbugs to be just okay. It wasn't bad, but there wasn't anything memorable about it. ( )
  silenceiseverything | May 12, 2014 |
This is a great little horror story if you want a quick scare that doesn't really linger. I wouldn't call it cinematic necessarily, but it does read like the plot of a movie. We have the story from an increasingly unreliable narrator whose monomaniacal obsession (with bedbugs) begins to rival that of Captain Ahab's (with the white whale). And then the story it goes from psychological torture to "what the hell, where did that come from." So, like a lot of horror stories (films included), it suffers from third act issues. There are a lot of avenues left unexplored, unexplained, and just completely incongruous with the rest of the story. But it is diverting, and, for a good while, it is scary. Ultimately enjoyable, so long as you don't over think it. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Nov 12, 2013 |
usan and Alex Wendt have found the most perfect apartment: in Brooklyn Heights, 1300 square feet, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, top two floors of a beautiful brownstone, and recently renovated. The price is crazy low and is totally worth having a weird landlady with a creepy handyman and an odd fixation with the basement. The couple moves in with their daughter and everything is fine at first. Then everything starts to crumble. First Susan finds out a kitten died in her apartment, leaving a horrible smell. Then the bites come. She's absolutely convinced they have bedbugs, despite the rest of her family being bite free and an exterminator examining the house and reporting no bedbugs. Her mental health deteriorates as she becomes obsessed with the bugs, researching ways to get rid of them, covering their house with dirt to deter them, itching, and becoming increasingly covered in bites. Are the bugs real or are they all in Susan's mind?

Bedbugs is a very fast read that packs a punch and goes places I didn't expect. Susan Wendt used to be a high powered lawyer, but gave it up to focus on her art. I didn't really like her for most of the book because she claimed to want to do art and then spent all of her time on errands, chores, and generally agonizing over unnecessary things. She is high strung and quick to freak out about random things, so I personally thought the bugs were going to be all in her head. She treats people she views as subservient to her pretty badly, especially the nanny, and that never reflects well on people. The financial problems put a strain on her relationship with Alex, a photographer who want to return to art photography, but has to support their family. By paying an unnecessary nanny an exorbitant amount plus pushing to move to a more expensive location, Susan doesn't help matters and is combative instead of supportive to her stressed husband. This all before the bedbugs even come to light, but establishes Susan as not a very sympathetic figure.

Then the bedbugs come in. Just reading about them made me paranoid and itchy. Yuck. They are gross creepy crawlies that I hope I never encounter. After she starts freaking out over bedbugs, Susan becomes marginally more sympathetic than before. She freaked out really early about them before she even saw signs, which was weird. Plus when she researched them and read something about badbugs (bedbugs from hell), she believed it! How gullible is she? The solution to get rid of the bugs according to the book is just psycho and she attempts it. After that point, I felt sympathetic towards her. I think she was insufferable through most of the novel and it would have been nice to feel for her a little before the ending. I kept reading because I was curious where the novel was going rather than caring what happened to Susan.

Bedbugs is a fun horror novel. I read it within a few hours and the momentum really builds well. Although I really disliked Susan, the story and side characters were interesting and kept me turning the pages. The ending has a bit of a twist and I never saw it coming. ( )
  titania86 | Oct 30, 2013 |
It definately says more about me than the book, but I really liked it a lot. I itched all the way through it, so clearly well written. I discovered this author by way of The Policeman 1 and am so glad I did. His stories flow effortlessly filled with descriptive prose. ( )
  Kikoa | Aug 23, 2013 |
Apparently New York City has an infestation of demonic bedbugs. And now that I’ve freaked everyone out, I highly recommend Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters, which is horror fiction at its creepy-crawly best! The story follows Susan and Alex Wendt, who have just moved into a spacious (and cheap!) apartment in New York City. But it isn’t long before Susan starts worrying that their new home is crawling with bedbugs. She wakes up with odd bites, and the more stuff she reads about bedbugs, the worse the situation becomes. But the exterminator can’t find anything, and Susan’s husband hasn’t seen anything either. Is Susan going crazy, like everyone believes, or are these bedbugs actually after her?

This book is scary on two levels - on the one hand, the idea of supernatural bedbugs is gross enough to make anyone check their sheets before they go to bed. But on the other hand, Susan’s obsession with these insects is just as frightening, and we start to wonder how far she’ll go before she breaks down completely. If you read this book, keep the lights on, and make sure you inspect your sheets before you go to bed. ( )
  coloradogirl14 | Jul 19, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winters, Ben H.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Katerinov, IlariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pushnik, JonathanPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Alex and Susan Wendt are the perfect couple in search of the perfect brownstone-and they find their dream house in the heart of Brooklyn Heights. Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric, and the handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the previous tenants. But the rent is so low, it's too good to pass up!

Big mistake: Susan soon discovers that the brownstone is crawling with bedbugs . . . Or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. Exterminators search the property and turn up nothing. Neighbors insist the building is clean. Susan fears that she's going mad-but as the mysteries deepen, a more sinister explanation presents itself: She may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from hell.

An understated horror story filled with loving references to Rosemary's Baby and other classic tales of urban paranoia, Bedbugs will keep your skin crawling into the wee hours of the night.
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Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment, and the rent is so low it's too good to pass up. Susan soon awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. Is it bedbugs? An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she's going mad-- but she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell...… (more)

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