Alfred Hitchcock, the unequalled master of suspense, defined suspense this way: You have five people playing cards on a train and suddenly a bomb goes off under their table – that’s surprise. But you have the same five people playing cards and the audience knows that there is a bomb under their table and the audience can see the timer counting down – that’s suspense.
In The Door, Boris Bacic has constructed a masterful story in the best Hitchcockian tradition. His preamble sets up Hitchcock’s ticking bomb for his readers. There is something evil behind the door of the apartment. In fact, there is another world back there. We are swept along as a young woman is trapped behind the closed door and then attacked. The readers know that. Nathan, the new occupant of the apartment, does not.
Nathan lives in a rat trap apartment with a do-nothing landlord who won’t even fix a broken toilet. Looking for a new place to live, he comes across an apartment that is too good to be true. The place is stunning and it’s well within his economic reach. Nathan immediately jumps at the chance to rent it.
While the rental agent is checking on his credit, Nathan notices a door and tries to open it. It won’t budge. When the agent comes back, Nathan asks what’s behind it. The agent doesn’t know because that door has never been opened.
We follow Nathan’s angst as he waits to find out if he has been approved and we follow his continuing battles with his landlord. Then comes the great news. He has been approved. Nathan moves in as quickly as he can.
Despite the grandeur of the apartment, things don’t go right from the very beginning. Nathan has nightmares. He thinks he hears scratching coming from somewhere. He tries to open the so-called storage door, but it resists his every effort. He even hires a door-opening specialist who also can’t make a dent.
While the door is the focal point of the story, Mr. Bacic peoples his apartment house with an assortment of characters that pleasantly flesh out his novel. He even brings in Nathan’s close friend, Sam, making Nathan a sympathetic character. You can’t help but like him and the people around him. As things grow darker with the door, Nathan discovers that several of his newly made friends know more about the evil than they were willing to tell him when they first met. When the door opens of its own accord, Nathan sets out to explore what’s behind it. His exploration leads him down an even darker path. But despite his own fears, he goes.
Nathan is a heroic character. He overcomes his personal fears to attempt to overcome and rid the world of the evil that exists behind the door. It costs him dearly. But that is exactly what defines a hero in the classic sense, and Mr. Bacic has created such a sympathetic protagonist.
Had this book been presented to me as an audio file, I would have no problem giving The Door 4 or 4 ½ skulls. It is a great story. It contains all the darkness and horror that readers of THE DARK SIRE enjoy. But… it wasn’t presented as an audio book. It was presented as a print book and as such has numerous problems. When you ask a reader to buy what you have written, you have effectively raised the bar. You are no longer an amateur but are entering the ranks of the professional writer and as such, you have an obligation to make your book as professional as possible. Unfortunately, that’s where The Door falls short. It is not professional. It is not ready for publication. The story is ready, but the mechanics of it – unfortunately – are not.
Maybe the trouble is due to language barriers, as the author is not a native English speaker. Though I applaud his efforts and encourage him to continue writing, studying the English language a bit more would serve him well. At the moment, the author doesn’t seem to know basic conversation punctuation. He also has trouble with when to use had and has. And there are several places where he has chosen the wrong word, indicating that English is a definitely struggle.
This book needs to be professionally edited for an American audience so that grammar and mechanics do not distract from the quality of the writing. The story is too good and the characters too real for anything less. In short, this book needs a professional presentation that mirrors its actual high-quality of the story itself.
Bottom line: If you are the kind of reader who is more interested in the story than in the presentation, by all means, buy this book – you will enjoy it tremendously. However, if you are the type of reader who gets distracted by mistakes or insists on a professional presentation, you will quickly be disappointed and should buy with caution.
The Door is available on Amazon.com in paperback, hard cover, and ebook formats.
UPDATE: The version presented in the paperback versus ebook formats seem to use different formatting and spacing. The ebook formatting is much more reader friendly, as the paperback has spacing issues that make it hard to read.
RATINGS: TDS rates all books based on the dark content and how well the reading experience lends itself. Of course, author craft, storytelling, and mechanics are considered, as well. For this purpose, we use skulls (💀💀💀💀). And explanation of the skull system follows.
Boring, not dark, not interesting. Do not recommend.
Fair plot, not too dark, fairly interesting. Read at own risk.
Good plot and mild darkness, good reading experience. Encouraged read.
Great reading experience with heaps of dark tone. Strong recommend.
Excellent prose, tons of dark tone. A MUST READ!