The Uninvited by Liz Jensen

Posted December 19, 2012 | 21 Comments

The Uninvited by Liz JensenThe Uninvited
Author: Liz Jensen
Publication Date: January 8th 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 321
Source: Publisher

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father. Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo. (less)



First things first: I love this book!  Love it!  The Uninvited is one of those books that I just get and has so many elements that I love.  I might use the word love a lot in this review, so be prepared.  It’s also one of those books that I am holding close, and don’t want to hear if people didn’t like it or if they had any issues with it.  I honestly don’t care, because The Uninvited is now a high favorite of mine and will remain so for a long time.  It’s books like this that frustrate me because I want to convey so badly exactly why I love it, but I know I won’t be able to the way I want.

When Hesketh is sent to various countries within a short time to investigate saboteurs of huge corporations, he starts seeing the pattern and connections between them, even though they are continents apart.  At the same time, something very frightening is going on with the children all over the world.  Every one under 10 turns on humanity.  What unfolds is a creative and compelling story that I was completely absorbed in.  The psychological, anthropological, and societal aspects of this book were incredibly intriguing.  It pulled me in, making me need to understand and figure out what was going on.  And the way the author incorporated various cultures and their beliefs was brilliant.

The Uninvited did something that very few books can do to me – freak me out.  Zombies, werewolves, vampires, and all of those other creatures don’t affect me.  Little kids turning into killers?  That gets me.  Right off the bat, the story starts with a 7-year-old girl killing her grandmother with a nail gun.  I do admit, the story seems to be on the slow side for the 30 or so pages after that, but then it picks up and gets back into the truly disturbing stuff.

The way this book is written is great.  It may seem like the author veers off sometimes, but every single thing is said for a reason.  The Uninvited is sort of like a puzzle.  You are given individual pieces, and then you start putting little sections together; it just keeps building until you get the full picture.  I can’t even express how much I love that.  It’s not a story that’s just laid out neatly before you.  It takes you on a ride that gives you plenty of “oh, wow” moments as you piece things together. Things that might seem irrelevant at first, will have meaning eventually and give some understanding to a situation or character.

Liz Jensen has created a main character that I find absolutely fascinating.  Hesketh Lock is a 36-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome, but he has observed the behavior of other people and adapted his social skills.  He is always logical and analytical, and doesn’t really feel regular emotions.  His boss/friend even calls him Spock because of this, which makes for some funny moments.  Hesketh’s ability to find patterns and connections makes him the perfect behavioral pattern expert.

Looking at everything from Hesketh’s perspective was interesting.  And what the author did so well, was allow us to read others’ assessments or body language from Hesketh’s perspective, even though he wasn’t always able to.  In other words: the reader knew what the other person was conveying, even when Hesketh didn’t.  I hope that makes sense.  I also loved his relationship with 7-year-old Freddy, even when things got bad.

Through the whole book, especially once I started realizing how much I was enjoying it, I kept hoping the ending or the cause of the pandemic wouldn’t be lame.  Thank goodness Jensen didn’t let me down!   It was really creative and brought everything together.  I was left feeling completely satisfied and reflective.

So again, what it all comes down to is this: I love The Uninvited!


“And I know, definitely: a new phase of human history has begun.”



21 responses to “The Uninvited by Liz Jensen

  1. Sam

    I’m glad to hear this was a satisfying read until the very end! I remember seeing it NetGalley a while ago but I haven’t heard much about it since. Your review makes me curious now. 🙂

    Sam recently posted: See You in 2013!
    • Christy

      You should try it. It’s kind of funny, because I did see one review on GR where the person was talking about all of the misspellings. But I think she mistook British spelling as misspelling.

    • Christy

      Haha – true. But this is so much more than that. EVERY child around the world under 10 turns on humanity. I don’t want to say it’s paranormal or supernatural, because it’s different. The author will be here on the blog next month.

    • Christy

      Yay, I had a feeling you would like it. I’m supposed to do a Q&A with Liz, but I suck at asking questions. lol

  2. Like you, I LOVE books that can freak me out! They’re so rare, that I’m always pleasantly surprised when I can find one!

    Also, haven’t talked to you in forever! I hope everything’s going well with you! Also also…I am resuming my reading of Patient Zero tonight. We will see if I can finish this baby before the end of the year…Lol! Hugs!

  3. I have been waiting to read reviews on this one! I haven’t seen too many and to be honest I really wanted someone I trusted to read it because ever since reading the synopsis I wanted to give it a try but wasn’t too sure about it. I am so glad it was spooky but still had some lighter funnier moments. I think after reading your review Christy, I will give this one a chance!

    kindlemom1 recently posted: Review: Tiger's Eye by Barbra Annino
  4. Whoa, this sounds crazy! I think it might be a bit too disturbing for me, but yet I think the psychological stuff would be really interesting. And I love that there’s someone with Asbergers who is helping figure it out. Sounds very interesting! YAY for a book that made you think!

    Candace recently posted: Review: Shift by M.R. Merrick
  5. *flails* WHY do you do this to me?!? I read creepy, freaky serial killer books that are NON-fiction and am okay with it but I don’t read creepy freaky FICTION books. And I just pre-ordered this without even reading Kim’s review. I have to come up with some sort of Book Retaliation Program for you. 😛

    Barbara recently posted: Someone to Love
    • Christy

      Haha – Book Retaliation Program! Now that’s funny.

      What’s so cool about this book, too, is it feels like non-fiction sometimes, which makes it CREEPIER.

  6. I agree with kids being scary. Seriously, little kids freak me out! In movies and books when they act weird it truly frightens me! LOL And for a bunch of 10 year olds and younger to start killing people is intriguing. I am dying to know why! I wonder what clues and patterns he sees around the world that lead him to the answer.

    Jennifer recently posted:
  7. This sounds AWESOME. I M.U.S.T have this now! Its really scary what little kids can be capable of. One of my neighbors sons..oh boy..I put my cat indoors when he came outdoors! He’s in therapy now.
    Thank you for the awesome review and for getting me (and everyone) so jazzed to read this book!
    Have a great weekend :)I grabbed ur button <3

    Bella's Bookshelf recently posted: The Paladin Prophecy by: Mark Frost
  8. This will be released one day after my birthday, so now I’m really contemplating if I should get it or not. Didn’t read your whole review because I was afraid of getting spoiled, but what I saw looked pretty good. Not like my usual victims, but like the kind of book that I might seriously love to pieces..

    Anyways, great review (as far as I can see, that is. *scratches head* Well, this is awkward..) aaand Happy Holidays!

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