Book Reviews by Mae Clair: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig #ghosts #suspense

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

Today, I’m sharing another book I was on the fence about reading. Based on the blurb, I was afraid the story might be too dark for me, but I’m glad I took a chance. I had no problems navigating the pages. This is such an unusual tale, I’ll let the blurb and my review carry any further thoughts.


family returns to their hometown—and to the dark past that haunts them still—in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers

“The dread, the scope, the pacing, the turns—I haven’t felt all this so intensely since The Shining.”—Stephen Graham Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there. 

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures. 

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania. 

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.

And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic. 

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve never read Chuck Wendig before, but this book was quite the experience! Nate, a former cop, moves his wife, Maddie, and fifteen-year-old son, Oliver back to his childhood home in a rural area of Pennsylvania. The house holds horrible memories for Nate—his father was horribly abusive—but it promises a new beginning away from the city. Right from the start there are a number of odd things that take place. Probably why the first half of the book was my favorite. I have a passion for early shivers and goosebumps and loved the creepy, unexplained strangeness taking place.

Build-up was fantastic—whispers of a serial killer executed decades before, a “felsenmeer” or field of boulders, an old tunnel that spurned urban legends, an abandoned coal mine, a deer and insects behaving strangely, and a mysterious figure in the woods. Having lived in Pennsylvania all my life, I could relate to so many of the rural surroundings, locales, and places that were mentioned.

But the heart of the book is its characters. I was so wrapped up in the lives of Nate, Maddie, and Oliver. Even secondary characters like Fig, Jed, and Caleb are fully fleshed out and given strong supporting roles.

It’s Oliver who turns out to be the key player. He’s gifted, but the importance of that gift only becomes apparent as the suspense rachets from simmer to boil. The story is definitely “out there.” Be prepared to dip your toes into elements of fantasy and magical realism along with horror. There are multiple twists and turns from start to finish but the ending melds everything together for a strong conclusion.

Wending has a gift with words. I loved his prose, at times beautiful and at other times vivid enough to make me feel squeamish. I also enjoyed the afterword in which he described the previous incarnations of the book and how it came to be. I’m glad he stuck with what was first a “trunk novel.” I expect this one will haunt a lot of readers.

69 thoughts on “Book Reviews by Mae Clair: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig #ghosts #suspense

  1. Great review, Mae. I’ve never read any of his novels, yet every time I see a review, I wonder why I haven’t taken the plunge and vow to rectify the situation. This book sounds like one I’d love, for sure.


    • I think you would like this one, Staci. It’s really different, and has a lot of themes and genres woven in. The first half of the book, before the reader understands why things are happening is really good. Kind of like the first half of a disaster movie, LOL.


  2. I do believe I have read one of this author’s other books – must have stuck with me since I remember his name. Sounds like a book NOT to read before going to bed! Maybe like The Shining. I started reading it on a plane to Europe, got so scared I put it down for several years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another good recommendation from you, Kim. Another book blogger I follow (Lady Tessa) enjoyed it too. I was really worried about it being too dark, but the overwhelming theme of devotion and love is what shone through!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing the review of this book Mae but I would like to ask how much of horror is there and is it due to abuse or the ghost? Though I’ve challenged myself to explore all genres lately but I still like to read for pleasure. I find none in horror especially created by supernatural elements.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one so much, Mae. So far I’ve seen all positive reviews for it! Something tells me I need to get this one in soon. Beautiful review! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I follow Chuck’s newsletter, and when I saw the new release I started to pop over and buy it. I’ve read a lot of his work. But when I read the blurb, I was afraid it was too gory or really out there. And I do read a lot of books that are pretty far out, but I just wasn’t sure about this one. But now that I’ve read your review, knowing how things bother you sometimes, I think I’ll go ahead and get it. I hated to miss a new Wendig release because of my uncertainty. I’m going to get this one on audio because I prefer the thrillers and horrors in that format.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was worried about it being too gory for me, but it wasn’t. I picked it up after another reviewer (Lady Tessa) reviewed it on her blog. I know she has less tolerance for gore than I do, so I figured if she could read it, I’d be okay 🙂

      There are definitely aspects of it that are “out there.” My favorite parts of the book where the first half and the ending. If you pick it up, I hope you enjoy it!


  6. Mae, your review is haunting and this is a book that both tempts me … and worries me that it may be a bit too much. hmmm … I do like the sound of the afterword and learning more about the creation of the book. A terrific review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Annika. It’s great to have you drop by and check out the review. I was really worried about this one too, not sure it would be a good fit for me. In the end, I’m thankful I took a chance on it, but it is definitely “out there” and very bizarre!

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are points that made me squeamish, Maura Beth. Overall, it was nothing I couldn’t handle, but I suggest reading lightly if you’re not sure. Glad you enjoyed the review!


    • HI, Sue. We all have those days when we just can’t get online and catch up. No worries, we’ll always still be here.
      I never read Wendig before but I saw this book reviewed in multiple places and decided to finally take a chance on it. I’m glad I did!

      Liked by 1 person

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