Book Review: Inspection

INSPECTION | Josh Malerman
03.19.2019 | Del Rey Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


The Alphabet Boys are being trained at a school built to raise geniuses by a group known as The Parenthood. Twenty-six boys have lived within the walls of the Turret their whole lives. They have no knowledge of the outside world or the opposite sex. To them there is nothing beyond the pine trees that surround their home except disease.

J is one of the Alphabet Boys. The Parenthood is the only family he has ever known. Despite all the teachings telling him that there is nothing for him beyond the pines, J can’t help but feel a pull. A yearning to know more. He starts to question everything. What is there for him beyond the only walls he’s ever known?

A man spends all his time building something and that object becomes his everything. His reward, yes, but his panic, his horror, too.

INSPECTION is one of those books that I recommend avoiding reading too much about before you start it for yourself. I read the synopsis for this one several months before actually picking it up and by the time my copy arrived I had forgotten much about the storyline. This is the perfect book to go into blindly and for that reason I’m going to keep my review a bit vague as far as plot goes.

I’ve never read a story quite like INSPECTION before and I found the overall plot to be extremely original. The story of how The Parenthood and subsequently the Alphabet Boys came to be was fascinating to me. It felt both fantastical and plausible. The idea is just crazy enough that someone, somewhere could think it up and try to make it a reality. Just dystopian enough to have you creeped out.

For me the book as a whole isn’t necessarily what I would place solely in the horror genre. There is a lot of mystery to the story mixed with a dystopian setting that certainly employs horrific behaviors. There is also a dash of thriller thrown in to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I’ve seen a lot of reviews declaring INSPECTION to be too slow, but I didn’t find myself in that camp. Yes, there is a lot of backstory and build-up with the book, but I was never once bored. I wanted to keep reading to find out more.

Within the confines of the Turret…should the truth feel so rare?

The main reason I found myself so engrossed in the story is the characters. There are obvious standouts in those the reader will love and those the reader will hate, but there are also a handful you’ll be left with mixed emotions on. You’ll want to dislike them for what they have done, but you can’t help yourself from being intrigued by them. The reader will find that they are not alone in these mixed feelings as some of the children and members of The Parenthood struggle with the same  inner turmoil.

I absolutely adored BIRDBOX by Josh Malerman, but I would not instantly say if you felt the same that you’ll love INSPECTION as well. The books are completely different. Malerman’s writing talents are no less captivating, but the story won’t be for everyone. Are there plot points I struggled with? Sure, but that didn’t stop me from loving the book as a whole. I definitely think it’s a book worth looking past the abundance of split reviews and trying it out for yourself if you’re interested!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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