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September 28, 2012 8:51 pm
Breed, by Chase Novak, Mulholland Books, RRP£13.99, 320 pages
Crime often makes excursions into horror but Breed succeeds more than most because of its obsession with a primeval emotion: the child’s fear of its parent.
Alex Twisden is an arrogant old-money New York lawyer, and his trophy wife Leslie is happy to share his lifestyle. Alex needs an heir but the couple fail to conceive. When they bump into friends who’ve become fertile thanks to a Slovenian doctor, they follow the same course and Leslie is soon pregnant. Unfortunately, the friends then vanish and their home appears to have been destroyed. Leslie has twins, and as the couple is drawn to thoughts of meat and murder, a kindly teacher risks all to help the children.
Novak puts an innovative spin on the idea that inside every parent lurks a monster, and delivers pulse-racing set pieces as a pervasive sense of dread blossoms into something poisonous. The result is a stylish parable of greed, peppered with plenty of dry urban humour.
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