Dark Matter is in the best tradition of the 'creeping dread' British horror genre, in the manner of M.R. James. The first person narrative is nuanced and very compelling. The novel is a well-researched fictional history of an expedition in the 1930s to a haunted Norwegian bay, far above the arctic circle. Beyond the main stories are themes of poverty, class and hero worship which give the story incredible depth.
The narration by Jeremy Northam is flawless.
Although written in 1987, this book really hasn't dated all that badly. It's a well thought out post-apocalyptic saga with a pleasing amount of paranormal added in to set it apart from the other post-nuclear novels of the time. In all fairness, it could have been about 5 hours shorter, but it is full of excellently characterized bad guys. If I had to find something to criticize, perhaps the Swan character could have been just a little less perfect, but nonetheless, I did enjoy the listen. It wasn't easy to turn it off come bedtime.
The narration is good. Tom Stechschulte does certain characters exceptionally well. I do wish, though, that he toned down his emotive reading a little. I prefer it when narrators let the emotion come through the words instead of using their tone of voice so much. But if you enjoy emotive readers, then you will really enjoy him. And for the most part, the slightly over-dramatic reading doesn't detract from the listening experience.
I certainly thought it was worth the credit!
I'm not sure the summary of this book does it justice. It's more urban fantasy than horror, although it does get quite gruesome in places. Irwin has built a lush, engrossing, dilapidated world and a wonderful ensemble of characters.
To say to much about it is really to spoil it. Because it's gorgeously original on many levels. One of the best books I've listened to all year.
Perhaps no author can surpass Wharton in delving into the darker corners of the feminine experience. Four of the five stories in this collection are premised on the lingering horror engendered by the harrowing experiences of women ensnared in oppressive circumstances or by their own demons. The fifth, "The Eyes," has more to do with the repercussions on men who touch the lives of women living in silent agony.The conclusion to this tale is particularly unexpected, and it was only after I thought about it for a while that it literally gave me goosebumps--true horror which relies not on gore or violence but strikes at the very core of our own existence.
As always, Wharton's writing is superb and inexorably draws the listener into the gothic atmosphere of these tales. Each story has its own excellent narrator and wonderfully creepy music is employed at various points, enhancing the macabre theme.