2 B

2 B by Mark Allan Gunnells

When your ex wants you dead, they will take you to the grave with them!

When two passionate lovers fall out, the results can be deadly.

Berkley Simmons died…for five minutes.

Berkley woke up to find himself in the hospital. He discovered that his ex is dead after a failed murder/ suicide attempt. With nowhere else to go, Berkley must return to the apartment where it all happened. It doesn’t take long for Berkley to begin to suspect that his ex never left the apartment, and still wants him dead.

The IndieMuse Review

A Different Kind of Haunting

My first experience reading Mark Allan Gunnells was picking up a copy of A Laymon Kind of Night, way back in 2012. This short, fun book of Richard Laymon-inspired short stories was a solid introduction but I’m ashamed to say it has taken me this long to pick up a second book by the author. It seems like I now have a big bibliography to catch up on if 2 B is any indication of what I’ve been missing out on.

Berkley has been in a relationship with Kevin for several months, but things are just not working out. Breaking up by text message may not have been a good idea, but leaving Kevin with a spare key to the apartment was far worse. Kevin has not taken the break-up well and after a traumatic encounter in the sanctuary that is his apartment, Berkley finds himself struggling to move on from a truly life-changing event.

When Berkley returns from the hospital, his empty apartment feels different. He feels different. Unexplainable events are taking place, small things at first, but as things begin to escalate and his close group of friends begin to notice the strange goings-on, Berkley soon becomes convinced that his ex may have some unfinished business with him.

What stuck with me the most after reading 2 B is how unpredictable the whole book was. The story, on the face of it, sounds like a straightforward haunted house novel. We are even given a lot of information upfront about who it is that would be haunting Berkley, and why. This seemingly predictable setup lulls the reader into a false sense of familiarity, before subverting expectations and going in surprising new directions at every turn. This is no ordinary haunting, and the second you think you know what’s coming, Gunnells pulls the rug out from under you and throws something unexpected into the mix.

Although the story is overtly supernatural, it is also a very effective character study of somebody who experiences a severely traumatic event and is trying to come to terms with their ‘new normal’ in the wake of it. The haunting is effectively tense and genuinely scary, but it also reveals a great deal about Berkley’s state of mind following a terrible event at the book’s outset. It adds an extra layer of intrigue to an already effective horror novel.

Speaking of Berkley, he was a fantastic lead, buoyed further by an excellent supporting cast. He is a likeable but flawed protagonist, relatable and three dimensional. I also enjoyed the time spent with Sasha and Zane, both of whom offer friendship and support to Berkley in very different capacities and their different personalities and reactions to the events of the book open up a lot of possibilities with the story.

2 B is a compellingly haunting book, shifting tone effortlessly between heart-warming, touching, funny, disturbing and downright frightening. The plot is devious in its unpredictability and ingenious with its unexpected but perfect ending. This is a novel you’ll want to devour in a single sitting.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

Curation Results: 2B

gHoster
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Emo-Lee
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Deathdealer

This title has been officially certified by indiemuse reviewers and curators as a recommended read. Read about our certification process here.

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