Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters

Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters

Back of the book says:

Sleep Tight.

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.

An understated horror story filled with loving references to Rosemary's Baby and other classic tales of urban paranoia, Bedbugs will keep your skin crawling into the wee hours of the night.

I say:

This was another book that was not what I thought it was going to be. The mere title alone had visions of mutant killer bedbugs rampaging through my brain... maybe swarms and swarms of bedbugs crawling over people, swallowing them down to nothing, you know - scenes like the scarabs in The Mummy films. Full on monster bug attack - not sure why I thought that from the picture of a bed... but I did.

Mostly this was a good, old fashioned thriller - I personally wouldn't class it as horror. The two books that kept popping into my mind as I read were The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Magic Cottage by James Herbert. Two books, I hasten to add, that I love. I wont say any more than that for fear of spoilers but lots of similarities - I can see where the classic homage comes in. You are never quite sure if what you are reading is what is happening... is the apartment possessed or is Susan bonkers? Is there really an invasion of bedbugs but they only have a taste for her sweet meat? What's with the creepy landlady and why do people in the neighbourhood appear to be suicidal?

I didn't actually like Susan that much as a character so wasn't that bothered with her mental and physical downward spiral if I'm honest. She seemed a bit (very) selfish and prejudiced in all areas of her life, though she did seem to be realising this towards the end. I felt sorry for her hubby and daughter... the childminder and even the exterminator too. But I didn't feel sorry for Susan. She was more irritating than the bugs.

Overall I enjoyed this book, another I can very easily envision as a film. Though I wonder if there is enough money in the world to pay an actor for some of the scenes. It would be such a good film to sit behind someone, wait till it goes quiet and then flick paper pellets! Mwaha!

A good, fun thriller that keeps you wondering who is who and if what is what... I'm still not quite sure if what I think happened at the end actually happened. Though I did guess the villain of the piece quite early on. I read this really quickly over a few evenings, a real page turner but it will leave you itching for days. One word of warning: don't read the book in bed just before you turn off the lights. Do as I say - not as I did!

I'm still checking the ceiling corners and under my pillow each night. - many thanks to Quirk for my review copy.

Claiming Bedbugs as book two in the R.I.P reading challenge :) Thank you as always for stopping by.


  1. Ahhhhh!!! I'm itching already :0

  2. This sounds quite interesting, though I haven't read many of the "classic" horror novels, so would that ruin the experience any for me?

    Yuck, I can't imagine what could be worse than being bitten by phantom bedbugs every night. Every time I have a sudden itch on my body while I'm in bed, my mind automatically begins making up scenarios that end with me being trapped in a giant spider's web...


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