Doughnuts, family tensions, relatives who arrive in a Winnebago, Christmas decorations, business worries, Uncle Henry's womanizing, and pyramid schemes wrap Walt Stebbins in layers of detail and distraction. Walt runs a small catalogue business out of his garage, and he has no notion of a demonic presence in his town until a package is mistakenly delivered to him.
The contents are not the inexpensive Chinese toys and novelties he deals in. The nasty-looking pickled bluebird of happiness ("Best thing come to you. Speak any wish.") piques Walt's interest, and he keeps it when he rewraps the box and passes it on to the addressee: The one person in the world Walt loathes, his former friend Robert Argyle. But Walt's keeping back the bluebird of happiness is the best thing that could have happened to Argyle - and the worst thing that could happen to Walt. What price happiness? If you have to ask...
In a tale of greed and the powers of darkness, tanned, laid-back Californians come under the influence of black magic.
©1995 James P. Blaylock (P)2014 Audible Studios
"...in the best tradition of The Twilight Zone, crossed with wacky characters, humor and moments of real love stunningly portrayed... Blaylock doesn't give his supernatural events the short shrift. His low-key descriptions ring true and are quite chilling, much more so than the buckets of gore we're used to finding in horror novels. But then, All the Bells On Earth is quite a bit more than a horror novel..." (The Agony Column)"Blaylock is one of the most brilliant of that new generation of fabulist writers: All the Bells on Earth may be his best book... mystical and enthralling... at once reminiscent of C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength and Clive Barker's urban fantasies." (Washington Post)"Weird and funny and touching." (New York Review Of Science Fiction)"With acrobatic grace, Blaylock ... once again walks the dividing line between fantasy and horror ... Blaylock's gentle satire on ‘capitalism gone rancid’ is supported by his authentic rendering of a small town where the economic reality of having to pay the bills occupies much of people's time. While the author probes the dark side of small-town life, he ultimately celebrates the virtues of simple living, yielding the sort of homey moral one finds in a Garrison Keillor monologue." (Publishers Weekly)
A very intriguing story about good and evil and the POV of one man as he faces what will be the most important turning point of his life. That being said the story itself had some very strong similarities to Bradbury and King, but a little lighter than King as far as horror goes. The character development was pretty good and visualization was more than decent. I did think that some of the nomenclature was very akin to 1950s and I had a hard time remembering that this novel was set in the 1990s - other than that the novel was a good listen/read and worth the credit spent. The narration was very good, no issues with characterization or suspension of disbelief.
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