9781594745232

Bedbugs

Ben H. Winters

ISBN 10: 1594745234 / 1-59474-523-4
ISBN 13: 9781594745232
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: 2011
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker’s fee.

Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment.

Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it’s too good to pass up.

Big mistake. Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she’s going mad—until a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell.

Review:
FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker’s fee.

Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment.

Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it’s too good to pass up.

Big mistake. Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she’s going mad—until a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell.


Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Ben H. Winters

Q: You tackled sea monsters in the New York Times best seller Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters. What made you turn to bedbugs?

Ben H. Winters: The monsters in Sea Monsters are very big and very over-the top: giant super-intelligent lobsters, an island that comes to life, that sort of thing. Silly, campy, fun. In BEDBUGS I challenged myself to create a different kind of monster: serious, dark and deadly, and drawn from reality.

Q: BEDBUGS is told from the perspective of Susan Wendt--a former lawyer turned artist and stay-at-home mom. As a man, was it difficult to write in a woman's voice?

BHW: It was hard, although I would argue that gender is a very small part of what makes us who we are. In other words, it was challenging to get inside Susan's head mainly because I'm not a lawyer, a painter, or a stay-at-home parent, not necessarily because I'm not a woman. The hardest thing was writing in the voice of any kind of person, man or woman, being driven slowly insane by malevolent supernatural bugs.

Q: It is obvious that you have done your homework on bedbugs. What was one of the most surprising facts that you learned about these nasty pests?

BHW: It's pretty horrifying once you start to grasp how long they can stay alive without a host, and also how rapidly and exponentially they reproduce.

But the nastiest fact is something called traumatic insemination. Seriously. Just look it up.

Q: In BEDBUGS, you make many references to Rosemary's Baby. What is it about Rosemary's Baby that inspired you?

BHW: Ira Levin was a master of turning the screw: he slowly, slowly ratchets up poor Rosemary's sense that something is not right about her home, her marriage, her baby. It's so effective because Levin keeps us in her point of view the entire time, so first of all we come to love her, but also we live with her suspicion and her fear and her terror. That seemed like exactly the right way to frame a novel about a peril as creepy and paranoia-inducing as bedbugs.

Q: Lou the handyman and Andrea the landlord are an odd pair of keepers of this idyllic brownstone--how do their characters drive the story forward?

BHW: Well, I'm just honoring my genre, you know. Slightly off-kilter, slightly menacing older people are a staple of slow-burn horror novels: when you've got weird old people in a weird old house, you just know there's something going on.

Q: BEDBUGS is both a mystery and psychological thriller--how do you get inside the head of readers to scare them?

BHW: My goal was to firmly ground the story in the realistic, day-to-day lives of the characters, stuff like grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, taking the kid to the playground, marital squabbles and make-up sex. With just occasional notes of what's to come: a smear of blood here, an unexpected noise there, an unnamed sense of melancholy and dread. Again, it's something you find in books like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, even The Amityville Horror. There's this careful creation of a realistic, familiar world before the darkness begins to seep in.

Q: BEDBUGS is both a mystery and psychological thriller--how do you get inside the head of readers to scare them?

BHW: My goal was to firmly ground the story in the realistic, day-to-day lives of the characters, stuff like grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, taking the kid to the playground, marital squabbles and make-up sex. With just occasional notes of what's to come: a smear of blood here, an unexpected noise there, an unnamed sense of melancholy and dread. Again, it's something you find in books like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, even The Amityville Horror. There's this careful creation of a realistic, familiar world before the darkness begins to seep in.

Q: In BEDBUGS, Brooklyn is a character in itself--why did you choose Brooklyn Heights as your setting?

BHW: I lived in that area for many years, around the corner from Brooklyn Heights in the neighborhood called Downtown Brooklyn. I find that whole section of the city to be so physically beautiful, and the energy to be so interesting. It's full of weirdos, hipsters, old people, young professionals, city workers, and people of literally every race and religion. And it's definitely a landing pad for couples like the Wendts: smart, ambitious young couples, balancing creative energy, ambition, and little kids.

Q: You're the author of an Edgar-nominated children's novel and a New York Times best-selling adult novel. Is there a difference in how you approach writing each genre?

BHW: Obviously, the differences are legion in terms of tone, vocabulary, and content. But there are nuts-and-bolts things you want to do right, no matter who the audience is: you want a solid structure, a careful building of tension, and interesting characters that a reader will care about.

Q: Bedbugs seem to be everywhere! Do you have any personal experiences with bedbugs that informed the novel?

BHW: No, thank God. I know nobody wants them, but after doing all the reading and video-clip watching I did for this book, I really don't want them. Once, when I was seven, I had lice. Here's hoping that's as close as I'll ever get.

Q: When Susan went to set up a play date for her daughter, a neighbor commented that she saw an exterminator at her brownstone and could not risk exposing her family to bedbugs. How have bedbugs made dwellers pariah amongst their neighbors?

BHW: There are all sorts of household pests--rats, roaches, termites, etc.--but there seems to be something about bedbugs that deeply disturbs people in a particularly unsettling way. As a society, we are just extra freaked out by these pernicious little bloodsuckers. So nobody wants to be the person who gave someone else bedbugs, and that leads to a lot of fear, secret shame, and paranoia. All of which, I felt, were rich themes for a novel of supernatural terror.

Q: What are you working on now? Can you share a little about that with us?

BHW: Oh, dear. Good question. I am currently hard at work on a mystery novel, and outlining a new and extremely silly novel for young readers. Also, my daughter is pressuring me pretty hard to write something about princesses, so we'll see where that goes.

Review

 

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Bedbugs (ISBN: 9781594745232)
Ben H. Winters
ISBN 10: 1594745234
ISBN 13: 9781594745232
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Bedbugs (ISBN: 1594745234 / 1-59474-523-4)
Ben H. Winters
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Bedbugs: A Novel of Infestation (Paperback) (ISBN: 9781594745232)
Ben H. Winters
ISBN 10: 1594745234
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Book Description: Quirk Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New. 133 x 203 mm. Brand New Book. Alex and Susan Wendt are the perfect couple in search of the perfect Brooklyn brownstone - and the house at 56 Cranberry Street is too good to pass up. Sure, the landlady seems a little eccentric. And the creepy handyman drops too many strange remarks about the previous tenants. But the sidewalk is lined with trees and there s a beautiful playground just down the block, where their 3-year-old daughter Emma can play. Many chapters of slow-building dread and paranoia will ensue - think of this as Rosemary s Bedbugs. Alex loves their new home but Susan is less enthusiastic - something about the new place just doesn t feel right, and she s having trouble sleeping. In the mornings, Susan awakens to find drops of blood on her pillowcase -and soon her wrists are speckled with bites. She immediately suspects bedbugs but she and Alex and the landlady search the apartment without uncovering a single creature. Even stranger, Alex doesn t have any bites on his body. You re just experiencing some kind of psychosomatic reaction, he suggests. I ve never seen any bugs. Exterminators search the apartment and find nothing. But Susan is convinced she s right - she s seen the bedbugs, crawling over her body, feasting on her flesh, and swarming in incredibly vivid nightmares. As her fear and paranoid build to a fever pitch, the story arrives at its horrific conclusion, in which all of the book s many mysteries are revealed. Can Susan contain the bedbugs before they destroy her family? Bedbugs may be the first novel that appeals to both horror/Comic Con fans as well as suburban soccer mums - and it s a great gift for anyone who s ever battled bedbugs in real life. Sleep tight!. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781594745232

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Ben H. Winters
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Ben H. Winters
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Bedbugs: A Novel of Infestation (Paperback) (ISBN: 9781594745232)
Ben H. Winters
ISBN 10: 1594745234
ISBN 13: 9781594745232
Bookseller: The Book Depository (Gloucester, UK, United Kingdom)
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Book Description: Quirk Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New. 133 x 203 mm. Brand New Book. Alex and Susan Wendt are the perfect couple in search of the perfect Brooklyn brownstone - and the house at 56 Cranberry Street is too good to pass up. Sure, the landlady seems a little eccentric. And the creepy handyman drops too many strange remarks about the previous tenants. But the sidewalk is lined with trees and there s a beautiful playground just down the block, where their 3-year-old daughter Emma can play. Many chapters of slow-building dread and paranoia will ensue - think of this as Rosemary s Bedbugs. Alex loves their new home but Susan is less enthusiastic - something about the new place just doesn t feel right, and she s having trouble sleeping. In the mornings, Susan awakens to find drops of blood on her pillowcase -and soon her wrists are speckled with bites. She immediately suspects bedbugs but she and Alex and the landlady search the apartment without uncovering a single creature. Even stranger, Alex doesn t have any bites on his body. You re just experiencing some kind of psychosomatic reaction, he suggests. I ve never seen any bugs. Exterminators search the apartment and find nothing. But Susan is convinced she s right - she s seen the bedbugs, crawling over her body, feasting on her flesh, and swarming in incredibly vivid nightmares. As her fear and paranoid build to a fever pitch, the story arrives at its horrific conclusion, in which all of the book s many mysteries are revealed. Can Susan contain the bedbugs before they destroy her family? Bedbugs may be the first novel that appeals to both horror/Comic Con fans as well as suburban soccer mums - and it s a great gift for anyone who s ever battled bedbugs in real life. Sleep tight!. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781594745232

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Ben H. Winters
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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. 134mm x 204mm x 24mm. Paperback. Alex and Susan Wendt are the perfect couple in search of the perfect Brooklyn brownstone - and the house at 56 Cranberry Street is too good to pass up. Sure, the landlady seems a little ec.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 256 pages. 0.233. Bookseller Inventory # 9781594745232

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft. , 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No brokers fee. Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment. Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, its too good to pass up. Big mistake. Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears shes going maduntil a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN, Momence,IL, Commerce,GA. book. Bookseller Inventory # 9781594745232

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