You know you’re in for a weird story when it begins with a person being shot in the face by an angel.
The Unnoticeables was my favorite novel of 2015. It also caused me to lose sleep. And to develop an irrational fear of A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell. Allow me to explain…
The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
New York, 1977: A punk rock hooligan named Carey witnesses a girl he was trying to hook up with get killed and consumed by a monster made of tar. When his friends start disappearing, Carey goes on a booze and cigarette-fueled mission to figure out what the hell is going on.
Los Angeles, 2013: Kaitlyn’s career as a stuntwoman isn’t going great, but at least she’s working and has a roof over her head. But when famous Hollywood heartthrob
Mario Lopez Marco Luis offers to take her home from a party, everything in her world gets turned upside down.
First, she learns that her childhood celebrity crush is a literal monster. After escaping his attempt to devour her soul, she discovers that her best friend is missing…and some weird old homeless dude named Carey shows up claiming he knows how to get her back.
From there, The Unnoticables jumps back and forth from 1977 to 2013, taking the reader on Carey and Kaitlyn’s respective journeys to rescue their friends from an unspeakable evil existing just beyond our perception.
Brockway has an uncanny ability to vacillate the tone of his writing between humor to horror. While most stories would suffer from such dramatic tonal shifts, The Unnoticeables thrives on it, distinguishing itself as a truly unique (and wonderful) reading experience. One passage will make you shudder in fear, then the next will have you cackling so hard that the people on the other treadmills at gym will start to stare.
Brockway can also write one heck of a great action sequence. Car/motorcycle chases don’t always get translated that well into prose, but the main one in in this book is still my favorite of all time. There’s another one, but it’s hilariously (and purposefully) awful.
Another great thing about The Unnoticeables is how distinctly voiced the protagonists are. Kaitlyn manages to be completely likeable/relatable while also being a total badass. Carey, on the other hand, is about as vile and boorish as you can get while being a good guy…and yet you can’t help but root for him.
As far as the villains and monsters go, Brockway fills his novel with chilling creatures and characters that somehow inhabit the same world you and I are sitting in right now. He also shows a knack for vivid imagery that sears them into your mind—and not just because the worst one looks like everyone’s least favorite SBTB character.
What Doesn’t Work
At first, knowing that Carey survives into 2013 makes his 1977 story seem a lot less urgent. To Brockway’s credit, however, he eventually manages to make that plot thread feel just as important (and enjoyable) as the one occurring in the present.
Is it Good?
The Unnoticeables is one of those books that won’t let you forget about it after the last page. The images and characters from it will haunt both your waking and non-waking hours.
Thankfully, Robert Brockway has turned it into a series. The second book, entitled The Empty Ones, is not quite as good, but still a fantastic read. It’s also even more shaded toward the horror genre. More importantly, though, it gives us continued contact with the wonderful characters/world Brockway has created.
You’ll definitely notice their absence once you stop reading.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!