Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man.
He's planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.
During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn't imagine: Skinning unexpecting victims for food and money.
And Macon, and his family, are next.
©2013 Mark Matthews (P)2014 Mark Matthews
“An ordinary running trail becomes the most terrifying place on the planet for Mark Matthews' troubled, likeable, marathon-running, tattooed, hipster protagonists and their young daughter. But, for the horror-show clan living under that trail - who subsist on flesh and bath salts in a nightmare orgy of blood and crazy - the hipsters are a rare treat indeed. As the family v. family showdown transpires underground and off the beaten path, the vulnerability of running on a trail - alone but for the watchers in the woods - makes the setting unique and well-crafted. Written with verve, surprising compassion, and bite, On the Lips of Children is a seriously demented must read.” (Sacha Z. Scoblic, author of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety)
“Mark Matthews' On the Lips of Children is a sprint down a path of high-adrenaline terror that never offers the comfort of monsters you can dismiss by reminding yourself ‘there's no such thing as...’ The story alternates between harsh reality and an almost dream-like surreality while never losing sight of the real heart of good storytelling. Matthews demonstrates that you don't have far down to go to reach the underworld, yet the road back up is a lot harder run than anyone is prepared to make.” (Bracken MacLeod, author of Mountain Home)
“On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews, is a dark, terrifying page-turner. It's Stephen King's Misery on bath salts. In a cave. It scared the crap out of me. The story was original. The characters were fascinating, exposing the reader to worlds foreign to most of us. Matthews has a knack for pacing his story then jolting the reader with a frightening plot twist. I was impressed by how he wrapped up the ending. Read this book.” (Michele Miller, author of The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarterfinalist)
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Starting out great with a view of a woman trapped in the dark, underground somewhere, with little memory of how she got there. I really liked where Mark Matthews was going with this. Sort of a The Hills have Eyes twist with the running trail has eyes. Simply a "family" of meth addicts live under a running trail and their only way of getting more money for more meth is to kidnap unsuspecting souls. To me meth heads are more terrifying than pretty much anything. No cares other than that next fix and destroying everything in their path. Making them great antagonists for any horror tale.
We get to know a young hipster couple and their daughter, that are training for a marathon. Macon, the father, gets nabbed by the meth heads. They demand $10,000 for his release. Beginning an adrenaline filled cat and mouse game of survival and deceit. I found I could not connect with any of the characters or the circumstances of the story, keeping me from fully enjoying everything that Matthews created.
Audiobook submitted for review by the author.
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Offseason by Jack Ketchum
It has to be "T" and "Q", the children whose lips thirst for Macon's bacon.
In On the Lips of Children, tattoo artist Macon has been training for his first marathon, a feat he hopes will convince his girlfriend and accomplished runner Erin that he is a worthy suitor. Little does he know that a routine jog will bring he and his young family face to face a group of depraved and bloodthirsty creatures.
Any regular urban runner can attest to the flighty,nervous feeling one gets when running under an "occupied" underpass or down a poorly lit trail. Author Mark Matthews does an excellent job of juxtaposing the process of painful struggle, growth, and rebirth associated with distance running and body art with the real life fight for survival in this book.
The story was incredible and different. Some of the things have been done before, but never like this.
Hard to say which character was my favorite. I loved Erin's dedication to being a mother, I also thought Lupita was a wonderfully twisted mom. I wanted to see both of their kids on a play date. Dante was a crazied bath salt snorter who I could see when I closed my eyes.
Voice inflections of the narrator were deep, and he changed up enough when reading the female parts.
Made me cringe, made me want to avoid dark places. Some descriptions of bodies being cut were done so well.
This is a deep story about family and trying to take care of what we love, but also a reminder of the sick things out there that can get in the way.
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Edgy, dark, powerful
One of the most memorable moments for me was when Macon came back and made his stand. Not to give anything away, but he didn't need to run that marathon to prove himself.
I've never listened to this narrator before, but he is very talented. Believable voices and appropriate emotion throughout. Very smooth reading, no awkward pauses or stumbling.
I thought the most moving moment in the book was when Macon had to give up something he wanted to give to the person he loved in order to get that person back. He seemed to put so much stock in that object he had, but when it came right down to it, he knew what mattered most. I love the way he fought for his family no matter how beaten down he was.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narrator was perfect and the story was a perfect contrast of light and dark. There was plenty of tension and action and moments that made you cheer out loud. I felt a little bit uneasy about how the book did end, though, and wonder if there will be a sequel in that?
Possibly but not if it were similar to this.
At first the narrator seemed bland, but the story also had a very long, drawn-out buildup; once the story started coming together, the narrator got a better handle on the dialogue and the choppy conversations smoothed out.
I kept listening and although one does seem to be held waiting on pins and needles, it was not a book for me. I believe there will be those who really like this book, I however was not one of them as the story has very graphic and gruesome acts of violence and it is definitely not for those with a weak stomach. It's up-to-date and has a very realistic quality.
I received this audiobook from the author and Audible after responding to a thread on Goodreads.com.
I was provided a free copy of the audiobook, On the Lips of Children. The story was fast-paced and I was very impressed with Mark Matthews' storytelling ability. I felt I could see, hear, and sometimes even taste what was happening in the story. For the most part, this was a good thing but I must admit that some parts were a bit too graphic for me, such as the slurping of blood. That made it difficult for me to listen to. The frightening part is that this story could be real. I was very impressed with Matthews' characterization, even bringing us into the mind of Lyric, the daughter.
The narration was well done and I enjoyed Bob Dunsworth's telling of the story with one exception. Whenever he expressed a character's thoughts, the thoughts sounded as though he put his hand over a phone for it to be muffled. I found that very distracting. Other than that, his reading was very well done.
I'd recommend On the Lips of Children to horror fans.
I really enjoy finding new authors that are putting out new, different and captivating content. Mark Matthews is one of these guys. You can tell he is a serious runner because the imagery he uses can only be from experience, not background interviews. This is a very scary story based on the possibility of something like this actually existing in our dark world. The monsters are human, while being as un-human as possible. The characters are very believable and he ties together experiences that we all have faced as parents as an anchor of sorts. For example, we have all had that time where we lost track of our child, if only for a second, in a crowded place, Matthews links us to the characters with situations we have all had.
The narration was done by Bob Dunsworth, who has over 30 books to his credit on Audible. He does a good job with the only exception being that his “first person voice” sometimes distracts from the story and shifts you to the delivery. Its almost like it is a production issue where they had to go back and re-voice a sentence or two and the pitch was off. That is really my only complaint, really, so I am not knocking on him, just giving you my impression.
I recommend this as a solid horror listen, its not a long one, 6 and half hours, fast paced with no downtime. Give it a listen, unless you are a runner and plan to listen to it while you are running, AT NIGHT, ALONE. If that’s you, then listen to it during the day, in the car! Byf2 MyNextListen
Macon and Erin are building a life together. With their past in the rear view mirror, they need to find a way to survive a harrowing ordeal and make their dreams together come true, for themselves, for their daughter Lyric and for those that have been lost. They will need to dig deep to find the courage to keep running forward toward freedom.
Q and T never had a chance - Weaned on blood and flesh, living in underground tunnels and sewers, struggling to survive and find their way in the dark with only a mother’s love to keep them safe (?) and a disturbed father that just may be the end of them all. Family is everything.
I was fortunate enough to receive the Audlble version of On the Lips of Children from Mark to check out and review. Fortunate, indeed.
On the Lips of Children is a very good, character driven, dark fiction/horror tale that will make anyone that has children squirm in their seat. The narration was excellent and the pacing of the story was perfect. The story itself was simple enough, but the themes and concepts went much deeper and rang with interesting social and psychological tones. Mark did a wonderful job of building up the tension and the feeling of foreboding. The story and never strayed into cliché’ gimmicks or cookie cutter “horror” to provide his thrills and chills. Several times I found myself thinking I knew what was coming and was wrong…must have been my cookie cutter brain.
Sometimes you run for fun. Sometimes for the endorphins. Somtimes....for your life. And sometimes you need to stop and make a stand.
A genuinely creepy short horror novel. It is the story of a family going to San Diego for a marathon, and stumbling across a hidden society on an evening-before-run. It was reminiscent to me of Jack Ketchum novel.
I was glad the author did inject a pretty good reason for the lead male not going to the police (eg parole issues). But by the end of it I was a bit worked up, and hoping that after the story they contacted the police, and the whole area of scumbags were cleared out (above and underground). The thought of them just getting away with all the death they were all causing is just "unacceptable"... Although that said, some people in the health system were obviously complicit in these crimes.
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