Published  October 31, 2023 by Tor Nightfire N at Cassidy is at his razor-sharp best again with his horror novel Nestlings, which harnesses ...

Book Review || Nestlings by Nat Cassidy

Published October 31, 2023 by Tor Nightfire

Nat Cassidy is at his razor-sharp best again with his horror novel Nestlings, which harnesses the creeping paranoia of Rosemary's Baby and the urban horror of 'Salem's Lot, set in an exclusive New York City residential building.

Ana and Reid need a break. The horrifically complicated birth of their first child has left Ana paralyzed, bitter, and struggling―with mobility, with her relationship with Reid, with resentment for her baby. Reid dismisses disturbing events and Ana’s deep unease and paranoia, but he can't explain the needle-like bite marks on their baby.

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The Deptford is known for celebrities, exquisite architecture, and views of Central Park. Despite its high profile, it remains somewhat of a mystery, as its residents are extremely protective of their privacy within its walls. However, for Reid and Ana, the Deptford represents a new start and presents a financial opportunity they can't possibly turn down. 

Cassidy sets the tone of the novel in the very first sentence of the novel. "We don't belong here." Ana feels that something is off while touring the apartment and that feeling only grows stronger as they are settling in. Oh, not for Ried though. Reid is completely charmed by the Deptford and its odd residents, leaving Ana alone with that creeping sense of unease.  The dread multiplies with each little oddity as Ana insists that something is wrong with the Deptford and something is wrong with Charlie. 

Cassidy has thoughtfully created characters with authenticity, and the worries and dilemmas they face are utterly relatable. Ana's paranoia parallels that of Polanski's Rosemary but what Cassidy has created here is its own being. Ana is not only haunted by the occurrences of the Deptford, but also by the trauma of Charlie's birth, the night she and Reid don't talk about, and by the changes in her own body. Ensnared by their circumstances, the atmospheric horror surges forward until Ana is caught up in uncertainty about the meaning and purpose of her life as well as the environmental apprehension. 

I can't really say anything else about the plot without giving things away but it definitely takes an even weirder turn than I initially expected. If you want a break for something unusual with relatable characters, creeping dread, and an epilogue that is the epitome of a sad smile, then Nestlings should be the next pick off your TBR.