The first in a new series by Gregory Lamberson, Personal Demons: The Jake Helman Files is often reminiscent of old pulp detective and horror fiction novels. It's interesting that the author is known mainly for his background in indie gore-fest movies and much of that visual style and flair translates to the storytelling here. Yet you quickly appreciate how fantasy and horror scenes that can seem low budget and exploitational on film can come alive on the page and here in narration. It allows the author to paint rich scenes, and also allows the reader or listener to fill in their own blanks and direct their own internal movies. Personal Demons tells the story of a dirty cop and tortured soul tough guy, Jake Helman, who's trying to solve a series of murders that's taken a very personal turn. The story is part crime drama and part supernatural thriller, but also throws in such diverse elements as power-hungry corporate despots, soul snatchers, genetically engineered mutants, and demonic/angelic interventions.
Narrator Chris Hurt plays right into the retro detective and pulp fiction feel with his deep smoky vibrato. Jake's painted as a man of the shadows and dive bars. Hurt plays Jake Helman as a likeable sympathetic character, yet one who's all too human with very real weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Jake considers himself a good cop though maybe he's seen a bit too much, become a bit too world weary. He's also not above turning to drugs to help soften the considerable sharp edges in his life. Yet despite his failings, you always feel there's an elusive core of a personal code if you dig down deep enough. Despite the wild ride, Chris Hurt always manages to keep the character anchored.
Personal Demons will serve Lamberson's army of cult movie fans well, but should also expand that base to those of us who love just good visual storytelling, whether it's screenplay, novel, or audiobook. It's entertaining, and makes for a good enjoyable listen. It's an interesting study, too, for a generation whose references are no longer short stories and novels, but almost a purely visual world of television and film. Cleo Creech
Gregory Lamberson’s well-reviewed first story in his exciting, dark new series The Jake Helman Files (which also includes the second novel, Desperate Souls) is a genre-bender that mixes suspense and horror. When Jake Helman, an elite member of the New York Special Homicide Task Force, faces up against an addiction to cocaine and an elusive serial killer, he finds that the pressure might be too much.
After resigning from the police department and starting a high pressure position as director of security for a controversial genetic engineering company, Helman begins to discover many dishonorable practices performed in the name of human progress. The resulting tale of ethics, science, and the theft of the human soul is a gripping and suspenseful audio read by veteran narrator Christopher Hurt.
©2009 Gregory Lamberson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Lamberson’s ability to twist a scenario and offer up descriptive, shiver-inducing murders makes Personal Demons a gripping must-finish." (Rue Morgue)
I enjoyed this book, a bit of a twist on the usual detective story. Towards the end I did feel there were a few twists too many, particularly the demise of one baddy but overall an entertaining read. Not for those who like the more traditional detective story.
I like Horror, I like Urban Fantasy and I like Detective Stories. This book is a highly stylized blend of my three favorite genres but at it's core it remains a Horror story(mostly). I really like the protagonist's(Jake Helman) "never say die" attitude - he gets his ass kicked throughout the entire story and his whole world goes to sh*t but he keeps on fighting. The story has a good "flow" to it and the supporting characters are well constructed. I though the narrator did a fantastic job with the voicing. This is one of the more original stories I've heard from Audible. As far as "book 1's" go I am impressed enough "Personal Demons" to move onto book 2 in the series with no hesitation. Listen to the "sampler" and see if you like it.
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