The village of Ashford, New Jersey, is about to discover terror. The Howler, a bloody killer who has already shredded six teens, is moving in.
Seventeen-year-old Don Boyd doesn't need the grief. He's already under siege - jock trouble, girl trouble, school trouble, family trouble. Then one frosty autumn night, Don is jumped by the Howler. Suddenly they're surrounded by fog, green fire, the sound of iron striking iron.... And Ashford's real horror begins.
©1987 Kathy Ptacek (P)2012 David Wilson
This audio book was provided to me by Audiobook Jukebox for review.
The books started out with an alright feel to it. The main characters along with several minor characters and “The Howler” and introduced and there is a bit of background given. It’s quickly established that the main character, Don, isn’t all that popular and that he has some troubles at home, which is why he has his “friends” in his bedroom. His “friends” being pictures and statues of animals.
The story takes a while to get going and it seemed like The Howler was really only there simply to help move things along to the point where the horse makes it’s appearance. The Howler is in fact a werewolf, though it only ever mentions him having long nails/claws, so I’m not sure how accurate of a description that is. His character was a bit weak, he spent most of his time skulking around in the bushes missing opportunities to kill people. When he finally did make a kill it felt like it had taken a bit too long to reach that point.
When the horse is finally summoned, and after far too long of it just creeping in the shadows and forcing the narrator to say “Iron striking iron. Hollow.” far too many times the horse truly appeared. The murders that followed made sense to the rest of the story but overall seemed a bit lackluster, mostly it just slowly stalked after the individual scaring them with the sound of it approaching but them not being able to see it.
The narration of this book was fairly good. At times I found the narrators voice a bit dull and my attention wandering away from what I was listening to. One issue I did have was at the parts where Don was yelling the narrator seemed to be whispering those sections which seemed odd and a bit disappointing. He should have at least raised his voice, not lowered it.
As far as the overall story is concerned I found there was a lot of repetitiveness throughout, especially with the description “Iron striking iron. Hollow.”. That sentence alone seemed to have been said probably around 100 times and I wonder if it would have felt less or more repetitive had I read to book instead of listening to it. The horror in the book seemed almost non-existent, even with the various murders, The Howler and the horse stalking people before he killed them. The issues with Don, his parents, the school and everything else seemed to take away from what would be considered the horror plot line of this story. There was a lot of good descriptive moments in the book, however I felt at times that the story was a bit bogged down by all these descriptions and it distracted from what was actually happening.
I think this book might be better classified as Young Adult Horror and even then I think it’s a stretch on the horror part. Perhaps this would be good for a person only getting into horror and not wanting to dive headfirst into the genres but for regular horror readers it would likely be disappointing.
The ending made me shake my head, it was so predictable and far too cliche, which was actually something that seemed to be a plague on this book. Far too many cliches. I think the author was setting it up so perhaps he could write a sequel in the future but it felt too obvious, just an excuse to throw in another monster at the end.
Would I recommend this book to others? Perhaps, though I would be straightforward and tell them that I didn’t find it to be a horror novel. In the end I am glad to have read this book as one can never know if a book is truly good or bad until they read it.
Don is a moody 17 year old "nobody". He's not a brainiac, not a jock, not a goth etc. Regular kid. His mom busies herself with anything including affairs to keep from being home. His father is the principal at Don's school and goes out of his way, even when it has been proven that Don's teachers are picking on him because of a labor dispute, to make sure Don is treated like any other student. Both parents apparently favor Don's deceased brother Sam. Don spends his time in his room with his friends which are models and paintings of animals. He talks to them, daydreams about them and tries to draw strength to get through the bullying he endures at school from the jocks. In comes a serial killer. The serial killer is murdered and then people who have "wronged" Don die as well. Yep. Don has managed to bring something evil into this world. It's not scary, there is absolutely nothing new in it. Same old story. Everyday kid - supernatural protector. Just look at the cover of the book and you can figure out who the protector is. It may as well be a cute furry bunny. I don't see that animal as scary. It's full of holes. Even when Don realized that getting upset with people he loves may bring about their death he still manages to get angry and vent aloud about his love interest having to run home before a curfew etc. Again nothing new, VERY slow start, character building was ok but Don is the same 17 year old kid I've "seen" or read about a gazillion times. I wouldn't purchase this again. If you're 14 and don't want to get too scared then use a credit. Off to the next one.........
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