Inspection by Josh Malerman is an interesting look at genius and distractions of the opposite sex. This is my third Josh Malerman book and man are his stories out there. which I like. This story is best if you know as little as possible going in. I actually think this story is ruined by it’s own book cover synopsis, since t cover 75% of the story, I was waiting for a twist and a greater meaning then the one we got. The climax is big and went a lot further ten I thought the story was going. We get two perspectives J a boy and K a girl. We get J first who is the least interesting of the two then the characters meet and we follow K until the meeting. The story does repeat itself a little two often. I fell the plot is brilliant but the execution was lacking, there where a couple moments I was just bored and frustrated at the material. This book is hard to classify it had science fiction elements as well as horror elements.
The Plot: J is a boy that grew up in an experiment to find genius without distraction of the opposite sex or religion. He along with 26 other boys are apart of it, A and Z have been taken out of the experiment. Everything is designed not to reveal the secret hey have a writer on hand that will right morals of right and wrong never mentioning a place or gender. The writer is having a lot of doubts and writes a story involving a woman, which he distributes behind the Parenthood’s, the organization that controls the experiment, back. J reads the entire story, when the parenthood find out he is called for inspection and lies. He now knows women exist. He keeps coming to the woods sure that there is something watching him. He gets a surprise visit from K, a girl, who sneaks around at night from the woods and is from a camp that is all girls and was not told about boys. This secret will lead him to question everything.
What I Liked: the story concepts is rally smart and out of the box. I liked the character of K and how she found out about the camp of boys. The corner reveal was shocking and well done. I liked the finally and was surprised just how far the secrets revealed can go. I wanted to know more about M.O.M. and D.A.D., before they started the experiment and their motivation. I liked the two writer for the Parenthood that are both bitter to be putting out such mediocre books for each gender. I did like a line at the end proving the experiment worked and they were genius minded.
What I Disliked: The synopsis gave way too much away. I felt like we shouldn’t know about the sister school of just girls. I wanted more twisted and turns this book does have a few, an idea I thought they were leading us two is they are all one gender and told they are what ever, but that was not the case. K is my far the more interesting character I feel she should have been first since she finds out organically, unlike J who reads a book.
Recommendations: I think the story is brilliant with a lot of possibilities, I just did not like where the Malerman went with it and can not recommend it. The story reminded me a little bit about Wool by Hugh Howley and how the secrets were revealed. I wanted to like this book more but it didn’t connect for me. I have rated Josh Malerman’s past two books Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of the Lake both five stars, but this book didn’t do it for me. I rated Inspection by Josh Malerman 3 out of 5 stars.