Things are going well for Susan, Alex, and their baby, Emma, but it’s getting pretty cramped in their small New York City apartment, so Susan wants to move. It’s not like they’re rolling in money though, since Susan has quite her job to pursue painting. When they find a two bedroom apartment on Craigslist for a reasonable rent, it seems too good to be true. They decide to have a look anyway and since they’re charmed by the apartment, they rent it. They’re excited at first, but it doesn’t take Susan long to develop an unease about the place. and she becomes convinced it has bedbugs. Alex hasn’t seen any bugs or been bitten, but agrees to have an exterminator take a look. The exterminator finds no evidence of bedbugs but Susan is sure they’re there. At least she thinks she’s sure and she begins to fear she may be losing her grip on reality.
Bedbugs, by Ben H. Winters is a creepy, compelling book. On one page, I was convinced there were indeed bedbugs and on the next I was sure there weren’t and Susan had slipped over the edge. I couldn’t wait to get to the end and even consider flipping ahead early (something I NEVER do) but I stayed strong and enjoyed the tension in the story as I raced through the pages. Between the compelling narrative and the relatively short length of the book, this is a quick read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. To add to the discomfort of the reader, there are silhouettes of eggs and bedbugs scattered throughout the pages of the book.
I’ve seen this book compared to Rosemary’s Baby, and while the nature of the stories is different, I can understand the comparison – both books are about women questioning their perception of reality and both keep the reader guessing right up to the end. As soon as you think you have it figured out, something changes. I don’t often read horror, but I do enjoy a book with creep factor from time to time, especially when they’re as tightly written as Bedbugs is. Be sure to check it out the next time you’re in the mood for a little paranoia.