Well, having invested several weeks listening to Jonathan Mayberry drag the reader through a rough first volume in Ghost Road Blues, and begin to mature as both a writer and storyteller in Book 2, Dead Man's Song, he finally hit his stride in Book 3 of The Pine Deep Trilogy, Bad Mon Rising. Not only is the plotting much more fluid but the overall storytelling has greatly improved since Book 1, and Mr. Mayberry throws every gruesome thing he can come up with at the reader as he brings all the warewolves, vampires of various kinds (including the zombie-esque "dead heads") and some new characters that liven up the storyline into the mix to make for a much faster paced and much, much more entertaining end to his trilogy of novels. I've beat on Mr. Weiner, the reader, in the previous two volumes' reviews for his stilted way of interpreting the story and it's characters, so I feel obliged to give him props in this final book as he seemed to have gained a better idea of how to read horror fiction. Again, fair warning: when I used the word "gruesome", I meant it. Even for horror fiction, which I've been reading since my youth, I don't think I've read/listened to a more overall dark and bloody story than Bad Moon Rising, not even in all the zombie fiction I read. No readers, this one is downright, well, gruesome! I hope that one day Mr. Mayberry will revisit Pine Deep now that his writing abilities have found their stride in the horror & thriller genres represented in the Joe Ledger series. So if you have made it through Books 1 & 2 of The Pine Deep Trilogy, you will be rewarded with this final installment. Just don't listen while eating. Never while eating.
Sean Runnette really nailed the humor and various character voices in this sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious take on the zombie genre. I couldn't help but feel that this was meant to be Mark Tufo's take on what would happen if "Family Guy" was faced with a zombie apocalypse. Maybe it's just me. Still, the first in the "Zombie Fallout" series is worth the credit - a great read, funny and well written.
The whole concept that Jonathan Mayberry is trying to flesh out is very innovative, and despite some old cliched characterizations, is an above average horror novel/series; yet, again, it would have been so much more enjoyable had a better reader been chosen. The prose in this second volume of the Pine Deep Trilogy is much less stilted as Mr. Mayberry refines his writing talent, so the reader should have been able to adapt. I think though, having recorded all 3 books to audio in 2011, the reader just didn't grow with the author's improved writing. This is horror fiction, not Plato. Seems like a lot of humor and overall good story was wasted due to exacting narration, but in all fairness I did find myself getting into the story more as Book 2 unfolded. Mr. Weiner, the reader, does a good job providing voices for many, many more characters than in a less expansive novel or series, so in this he did a great job. He did a great job with the main bad guys, the seriously deviant Ruger and the malicious Vic Wingate. I guess I just wish that Mr. Mayberry had refined his writing skills, as in his subsequent writing after 2008, before tackling such an enormous 3 novel series. In short, Book 2, Dead Man's Song, is a much better read than Book 1, and I hope Book 3 show's another years' maturity in Mr. Mayberry's obvious writing talent. Would I recommend this series? Of course. Just don't expect post 2008 Jonathan Mayberry and you'll be fine.
After getting seriously hooked on the Joe Ledger series and the exceptionally gory Dead Of Night I really expected the winner of the Bram Stoker award for the best first horror novel to be a better read. Not even close. I have only listened to Book One and I am hoping that I don't regret buying all 3 books in the series at once, but I think I will be calling this an impulse buy - a error in judgement made when finding a great new author. The problems are these: The story, if you were to read its written outline, would probably sound really interesting; however, the finished novel - this first book in the series - is predictable and ponderous. Maybe a better narrator would have been able to make up for some of the bad prose but probably not. This is the second problem with this first novel in the Pine Deep Trilogy, the reader/narrator, Joe Weiner, is better suited to reading audio versions of technical drawings than a horror novel. Every word is clipped clean and enunciated to death, pun intended. He only has a few character voices available, so many of the characters in the story sound alike. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times in the more than 25 years I've been listening to audiobooks that a reader/narrator just hasn't fit with the story he or she is reading. This was not the case with Dead Of Night or any of the Joe Ledger audiobooks. It all came together in those books and I hated to stop listening when circumstances forced me to. I can't wait for the next Joe Ledger audiobook, but if you are thinking, like I did, that you want to go back and listen to everything Jonathan Mayberry has written, remember, I warned you.
If Ron McLarty can't do female voices get somebody else. I didn't get past the first 10 minutes of the story before I stopped. If it were a physical book I would have tossed it in the trash! Mr. Baldacci take note: for the love of God, spend the money and get Scott Brick back! An every book you use two readers on I WILL NOT BUY IT!
This totally apolitical novel is a realistic and often gruesome take on how our nation would devolve after an EMP attack by terrorists. It focuses on the "little things" we take for granted in modern America that disappear in the blink of an eye - electricity, communications, travel, food, medicine. OSA was well researched and well written, and Joe Barrett did an outstanding job in both keeping the listen interesting and managing the multitude of voices required with such a large cast of characters of all ages. I highly recommend One Second After.
I anticipate each Dean Koontz novel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, and this second installment in the "Frankenstein" trilogy was as entertaining as any other. His style style of mixing sarcastic humor with graphic horror is much like that of Stephen King's novels, yet the crude language is gratefully absent in Koontz's novels. I have read other reviews of this audiobook and I don't get why listeners are trashing the series, and that's what it is, a series. If they don't want to listen to a series of novels over time, then they shouldn't start one. I admit I was leary of the change in readers at first, but John Bedford Lloyd really nailed Koontz's style and brought each character to life in a very entertaining way. Some of the dialog should have been hard to pull off in audio form, but Lloyd really did a great job. If you like to listening to a story that has an ebb and flow to it and don't mind waiting a few months in between installments, then Dean Koontz's Frankenstein" is a great listen.
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