Just After Sunset is a collection of King's short stories, both published in magazines or previously unpublished, bundled together in bite-sized, easy to listen to portions. Unlike "Full Dark, No Stars" there's no overarching theme to maintain the flow between stories and the quality is a bit inconsistent, but it's worth the purchase. "The Gingerbread Girl" and "Mute" are worth the price alone, and King himself even lends his voice for a couple of the stories.
What would you do if all of a sudden both the days and nights got inexplicably longer, birds mysteriously dropped from the sky, and gravity seemed stronger? It would be hard to get your head around, right? Welcome to the world of 11 year old Julia, as she not only has to grapple with the shifts in the marking of time, but the budding onset of puberty and a fascination with the new boy in school.
I was initially captured by the author's brief synopsis and went into this expecting a 'Day After Tomorrow' tone; and for the first third it delivered. The narration was crisp and descriptive, with an air of mystery and danger. But as the rotation of the Earth further slowed, so too did any urgency to the plot, which became more focused on Julia's awkward relationship with Seth and her parents. Perhaps the tonal shift from macro to micro is intentional; showing that in moments of crisis the wider world becomes less important and we focus on things more immediate to us. However it is explored in a quite weak and superficial way. The further the novel went on, the more it became apparent to me that the target audience would most likely be teens much like Julia and Seth themselves.
I can't really fault the narration. Laurence Bouvard does a good job at bringing the source material to life, and as far as stories go I've read much worse. However if you are expecting an apocalyptic joyride to the end of the world, forget about it. 'The Age of Miracles' is merely the background for an average, teenage romance novel.
'Nickel Plated' by Aric Davis follows the story of Nickel, a 12 year old abuse survivor who has turned his horrible experiences around to be an avenging angel for abused kids in his neighbourhood. He spends his time hunting down and blackmailing local paedophiles and supplementing this "job" with a home-grown pot business. His latest case involves helping a beautiful high school girl, Arrow, track down her missing sister Shelby, who may have met with foul play.
The story is quick, punchy and never tedious. Even the unrequited love between Nickel and Arrow comes across as genuine without becoming saccharine. I couldn't stop listening; and given I listened to this as a chaser to works of better known authors, that's saying something. It skirts the lines of being a revenge fantasy, without straying into really dark territory
The only mild complaint I would have is that Nickel seems a little too adept at setting up, stalking and dealing with paedophiles. He has an almost James Bondian array of gadgets and knowhow for pre-teen.
Full marks to Nick Podehl for a fantastic job of narration. He really brings the story to life and his various vocal interpretations of the different characters seem authentic for their personalities and age groups. I'd definitely pick up another book with him narrating it.
This one was a real surprise package which more than delivers on entertainment.
Welcome to a world where drugs aren't cooked up in filthy meth-labs and sold on street corners by kids with low IQs and extraordinary street-smarts. In the world of 'Afterparty', any brain altering experience can be made to order and is only a chemical printer away. After a kid, seeking a religious enlightenment, is found dead and all signs point to the now out of production drug Numinous, ex-junkie and co-creator of Numinous, Lyda Rose, gets spurred into action to make sure that this highly dangerous drug is no longer being manufactured. This leads her on a wide scale, cloak and dagger type operation in Toronto's religious and party scene to try and track down this new menace. Add in a schitzoaffected hitman to the mix and the book veers into thriller territory.
I liked that the book wasn't afraid to ask the big questions like whether a religious experience is pure pharmacological delusion brought on by the neuro-chemical pathways of the brain. What if a "Moses on the mountain top" experience could be artificially induced? What is the nature of consciousness? Is reality subjective or universal? However the novel tends to shadow-box rather than full on spar with these ideas, which is unfortunate. Much like some of the characters in the story the book itself has a bit of an identity crisis; does it want to be a thriller; does it want to be a crime novel; does it want to be a social commentary? So as a result it spreads itself a little thin across all spectrums.
Tavia Gilbert does a serviceable job with the narration, giving unique voices to each character.
If I could I'd give it a three and a half star rating I would. Better than average, but it won't really stick with you after it's over. After a blistering first half, it kind of loses it's way.
I can't remember why I bought this audio book but boy am I glad I did. '14' is an excellent tale for anyone who likes their mystery with a tinge of the supernatural.
I won't divulge much of the story because not knowing what you're in for is half the fun. While Nate may be the main protagonist, the real main character is the Kevatch building that he moves into, which contains a lot of curious anomalies and is the driving force behind the story. Peter Clines' writing moves at a steady pace, holding your interest and dangling the carrot of intrigue just far enough in front of your nose to keep you invested and wanting more.
This descriptive and well-written book is brought to life by a rock solid narrative performance by Ray Porter. He provides a variety of different voices and emotions to suit the characters, who are all very relatable, and sets an appropriate tone throughout the novel.
Although the story starts veering toward the ridiculous around the three-quarter mark, there is still a lot to highly recommend about '14'.
Reads like a bad teenage male fantasy on acid; the female, zombie apocalypse! The narrative is urgent and intense but can be messy as the story transitions in "quick cuts". From memory in the prologue the author says that he was trying to write a movie script at the time and 'Ladies' Night' reads that way. It would make a great B-grade horror movie. The narrator's gravelly voice seems a bit abrasive to begin with but once the action kicks off it suits the story down to a t. I'm still not sure if I "like" 'Ladies' Night', but it certainly leaves an impression while it lasts.
Having read many, many books about Jack the Ripper I couldn't resist picking this one up and I wasn't disappointed. It successfully weaves established Ripper lore in with the avante-garde, deductive detective work of Sherlock Holmes, while steering clear of the more ludicrous consipiracy theories. Not an easy feat.
This is the second audiobook I have listened to with Simon Vance narrating and he is quickly shaping up to be one of my favorites. He gives perfect voice to both Watson and Holmes, amongst others.
I thorougly enjoyed this book and I think it remains true in spirit to both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes and the factual Jack the Ripper murders.
Like many Dark Tower fans I was drawn to the promise of a new novel like a moth to a flame and on the whole 'The Wind Through The Keyhole' doesn't disappoint. Much like 'Wizard and Glass', 'The Wind Through The Keyhole' delves into Roland's youth in Midworld and tells of a challenge he faced as a new gunslinger. However it weaves itself into a story within a story regarding another young boy's experience with an all to familiar antagonist.
King's narration at first seems a bit half-hearted, but about a third of the way through where he hits his stride, he really breathes a lot of life into his own story. Perhaps it just took him a while to get settled into the flow.
Overall, I'd recommend it to any fan of the Dark Tower series, as long as you don't go in expecting Dark Tower 4 and a half. As the man himself states in the prologue, it's more of a visit to old friends to hear a tale they'd not gotten around to telling. I wish I'd gotten to spend a little bit more time with them though.
Stephen King takes a refreshing departure from the supernatural and fanciful, to take a tour of the darker parts of soul of the average everyperson. While "Full Dark, No Stars" consists of four seemingly unrelated tales, they are all wonderfully bound together in the unasked question, "what would you do?" While not all the stories get an equal amount of time to unfold, the first story "1922" almost overstaying it's welcome, they are all well-rounded and most importantly entertaining.
The two narrators do an admirable job with these tales of misfortune, greed and human frailty, however if I was to have one complaint it is that Jessica Hecht sometimes sounds a little too cheerful for the gravitas of the material.
These aren't stories that will chill you to the bone, but they are stories that will hang around in your mind long after the narration has ended.
Eric Roberts does an excellent job of narrating Stephen King's chilling tale of a man who inadvertently has to go to extreme lengths to quit his smoking habit. King's writing is so descriptive and plausible that you have to wonder if such and organisation might exist somewhere for the hardcore vice addicts. If only it went for longer.
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