"Apartment Seven" Book Review
Written by Greg F. Gifune
2011, 70 pages, Fiction
Released on November 22nd, 2011
If you ask any film fanatic, they'll tell you one of the best things a movie can do is surprise you. As a reader, I enjoy precisely the same thing. When a book is predictable, the temptation to abandon it is always there. On the other hand, when a narrative keeps you guessing, plays with what you think you know and takes truly unexpected twists and turns, reading becomes a very addictive pleasure. Greg F. Gifune's Apartment Seven is full or surprises, making it the literary equivalent of a masterful sleight of hand trick.
The novella follows Charlie Cerrone, a man who thought he had all he could wish for: a charming wife who loved him above all else, a good job, a nice home, and some money in the bank. When Charlie learns that his wife is cheating on him, everything comes crashing down and anger, depression and pain take over. Charlie starts drinking heavily and wandering the streets of Boston after dark. There is anger and hate boiling inside him and the idea of revenge is always there. However, there's much more going on around him. Although it's Christmastime, the city is gloomy and sinister things move in shadowy corners. A homeless lady tells Charlie the demons are coming and memories assault him constantly. Also, his wife may be seeing two men instead of one, and she's spending too much time in a mysterious apartment. Charlie's search throws the embittered husband into a downward spiral that brings together his past, present and future and puts him in situations where much more than his physical well-being is at stake. In the end, the surreal journey proves to be more than he, or reader, could have ever imagined.
Apartment Seven combines the best elements of noir with a healthy dose of psychological horror. The world Gifune creates is gritty, cold, murky, and unforgiving. If you could take the grainy texture of classic noir films and apply that to excellent writing, the result would be the prose in this book. Regardless of how strange and murky the narrative turned, the author managed to keep my attention at all times. Even more important, he kept me guessing and turning pages in order to learn more about what was going on.
While there are plenty of demons in Apartment Seven, what Charlie carries inside him is what will scare readers the most. Also, the character's blend of broken psyche, lost love and nostalgia leads to a very unique finale that can only be described as devastatingly sad but covered by a layer of hope, adoration, and maybe even a dash of future.
More than a horror story, this book is a bag full of questions, a psychologically jarring trip that demolishes preconceived notions of time, space, and reality, a dangerous excursion through the streets of a haunted city and a disturbed consciousness. Gifune will make you feel puzzled in the best possible way. Apartment Seven is one of those few novels to which the term cerebral applies, so be smart and pick up a copy.