Review: Beach Bodies by Nick Kolakowski

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This billionaire’s luxury doomsday bunker has everything: spectacular ocean views, a full-service kitchen, three bedrooms, a broadband connection, and concrete thick enough to keep any kind of horror out.

Today, the bunker’s caretakers are about to discover those concrete walls are good—too good—at keeping them trapped with the horrors inside. Twenty feet below the world’s most beautiful beach, they’ll face the ultimate evil—one that transcends death itself.


Nick Kolakowski reached out to me and asked if I would review his new novella, Beach Bodies. I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beach Bodies is a fast paced novella that I read in one sitting. The story opens with Julia house-sitting for a billionaire in a house that has all of the amenities but is like a bunker. When her friend Alec needs a place to stay after getting shot in Kiev, she lets him lie on the couch of this house, nursing his wounds and eating all of the snacks. This house seems to be computer operated, with a disembodied voice that tells Julia what needs to be done in the house. This includes going outside and chasing off three interlopers who have come within the boundaries of the property.

This does not go well for anyone. Julia and Alec are in danger from the very beginning, but they do not know how the three strangers will change their lives. The whole story feels very claustrophobic, like bad things can happen in a very small room at any moment. Even though the house is large and a fortress, as soon as the two people turn into five, there is not enough room for any of them. The desperation of Julia, knowing that not only is she in a house with dangerous strangers but also isolated from everyone on an island, quickly turns her focus into her struggle for survival. 

Any home invasion story is frightening to us because we all have a home, and the idea of someone rushing in to take over is a very scary situation. Even though they are both visitors in a house, Julia and Alec’s feeling of violation is still there, and we can still feel it with every turning page. The end is very unexpected, but the entire novella keeps the reader guessing. In this case it is a great thing. I read and reviewed another of Kolakowski’s novellas, Absolute Unit, and I can see how much his storytelling has grown. He is on the cusp of a breakout hit book, and this could very well be the one.

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