Having not seen the film version though still having a vague idea what it was about, I was pleasantly surprised by this story. Thoroughly engaging and exciting right from the start, it is one of those books that draws you in, pulls you inexorably on and spits you out at the end.
This book tells of a kind of insidious horror that would leave us helpless, paranoid about our closest friends and family and questioning our own sanity. If someone you know looks the same, talks the same, remembers everything that only you and they know and yet something seems not right, something you can't quite put your finger on, a lack of depth to their emotions or something, what do you do? Who would believe you and how could you prove they were not who they seemed to be?
In some ways, I couldn't help comparing this to The Midwich Cuckoos as both tell of an alien menace that descends upon a sleepy little town and begins to take over. There are a lot of similar themes explored in both although that being distinctly English
in feel and this is most definitely American
The only other book by this author I've read is Time and Again (which, in this updated version to coincide with the film adaptation in the 70's, is referenced at one point in the story) and this is recognisably in a similar narrative style although thematically this is a very different book.
I was tempted to rate this five stars but unfortunately there are a few flaws that mar it. For instance, the speed at which the town, roads and buildings fell into disrepair was just ridiculous. After a mere couple of days there were dangerous potholes in the roads making them near impassable, road signs falling apart, offices covered in thick layers of dust, etc. Also, the protagonist often seemed so incredibly slow on the uptake it was agonising.
But generally this is a most enjoyable read and its flaws are easily forgiven for the pleasure of such a great and exciting story.