By Ben H. Winters
Quirk Books, 256 pages, $14.95

“Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!”

“Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” This little rhyme is often used to tuck children in at bedtime. But what would you say if your house was filled with creepy crawlers? You would defiantly not sleep tight. Ben H. Winters challenges his characters with an infestation in his book Bedbugs. The Wendt family has found a perfect apartment with an unbeatable rent. Is it too good to be true? Susan’s days are relatively calm, but nights leave her covered with bites and welts. However, her husband Alex and baby daughter Emma haven’t been touched. What could explain this paradox? Winters is familiar with writing about creatures. Fans will recall a New York Times best seller Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters that was full of man-eating beasts from below the waves. Now creepy bedbugs occupy his story. Winters does superb job writing from the perspective of a woman. He captures the paranoia and madness Susan experiences as the story develops. Throughout the book he references Rosemary’s Baby. Susan, like Ira Levin’s Rosemary, senses that something is not quite right with her perfect life. Skillfully, like Levin, Winters slowly increases the tension and the horror is putting readers on the edge of their seats. Once you start this book, you’ll want to finish it quickly…certainly before bedtime.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin