The town of Whittier is isolated in Alaska, and the people all live within towers once used by the military. The tourist season is over, and winter is on the way. Then, a body washes up on shore. A body that says it's from the government facility across the sound at Esther Island. With a storm coming, the citizens of Whittier have to deal with this on their own. They put the body in the basement of the towers, but their doctor wants to find out what killed this man. Was it a disease? How dangerous is it? Then, the horror begins.
I know people acting dumb is a hallowed feature of most horror to the point that it's become a cliche (don't go into that dark basement) but surely there are limits and this book pushes most of them.
From the doctor who thinks dissecting a corpse infested with an unknown parasite in an essentially closed & vulnerable community (isolated Alaskan tower where residents mostly live indoors 24/7), to the Coast Guard leader who continues to search a government facility working on top secret weapons research even after discovering dozens of dead bodies, to the people who just stand and stare while the spiders take them over....well the author mentions that certain traits are desirable for the occupants living in this most isolated of Alaskan communities, i.e., wanting to live off the grid or escape a bad past but he forgets to mention the most important...that your shoe size should be higher than your I.Q.
Ok that's an exaggeration but I had to listen to the book in short intervals to work off my annoyance at the dumb things the characters were doing. If you can get past that, this book is not bad. The pacing is suspenseful, the s.p.i.d.a.r.s are interesting and, really, this is just the kind of techno-thriller book I like. I only wish the characters behaved a little less like lambs lining up for the slaughter and more like intelligent humans.
The narrator is competent but he has an oddly chipper delivery for this sort of book; more like what I'd expect in a children's story than a horror novel.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Medical research? Genetic experiments? No one knows exactly what goes on inside the sprawling BioGenTech building on the edge of town. But after an enormous explosion at the facility, people in town start turning up dead...and in pieces. Something is loose in Hope Valley. Something big...and fast...and hungry. It has a lot of legs, a nasty disposition and a big appetite. This is one spider you can’t step on.
The story is an excellent homage to 1950s era Giant Spider movies. A biotech company is apparently producing weapons grade spiders which escape their compound. As an aficionado of the genre, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It has it all; enterprising teenagers, bumbling cops, stuffy parents and lots & lots of creatures and gore.
The narration on the other hand is horrible. The narrator has adopted what I imagine to be an attempt at a 'Perils of Pauline' over-the-top dramatic style with accents on odd words and a sibilant, hissing style of speaking. It is incredibly annoying.
The only reason I gave the narration two stars instead of one is because I've heard that it's usually/often the production staff who make narrators use these absurd accents. If this is the case, it isn't the narrator's fault but the production staff should be ashamed of themselves (in my opinion).
Overall, a great story if you like this genre and can overlook the narration.
The Hundred Worlds have withstood invasion by the relentless Hok for decades. The human worlds are strong, but the Hok have the resources of a thousand planets behind them, and their fleets attack in endless waves. The long war has transformed the Hundred Worlds into heavily fortified star systems. Their economies are geared for military output, and they raise specialized soldiers to save our species. Assault Captain Derek Straker is one such man among many.
I'm sorry but I have to agree with those reviewers who find this one boring. Although I've read other books by B.V. Larson and enjoyed them, this one has all the usual cliches and pounds them relentlessly. Mark Boyett does a reasonable job with the narration but can't save it IMO. I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it...
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
It's been more than 40 years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2 - a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world, and they have only one thing in common: They aren't especially interested in space travel.
This is not a bad attempt at a space horror novel but I have the impression the book was written by someone early in their writing career. Pacing and plot seem subtly off (nearly half the book is taken up by selection of the teenagers to go to the Moon which seems a bit unbalanced as it isn't that important to the main plot).
Some plot elements seem frankly incredible; that the US government could conduct a series of covert operations on the moon, even going as far as building a moon base, without any other governments or even amateur astronomers noticing is not likely (to put it mildly). Even if we accept this as possible it is further incredible to me that any government with a functioning press could or would send a crew back decades later (using seriously out-of-date equipment) to investigate a dangerous mystery using Teenagers to the Moon as a cover story.
As other reviewers have noted, even when you understand the proposed nature of the mystery nothing is explained satisfactorily. Some elements common to the mystery (trying not to say what it is here) seem to have occurred or to be occurring on the earth before they go to the Moon in which case why did they have to return to the Moon to investigate it or why did returning to the Moon trigger the events it did. What even was it really? We don't know.
The narrator has an attractive, light voice such as you find in many young adult narrations (although I thought her attempts at regional accents were unfortunate) but I question whether the material wasn't a little dark for such a perky voice. Perhaps the contrast was meant as an added effect.
There are even some semi-humorous (I guess) items as when Mia is in the airlock at the moon base and thinks that 'in space no one can hear you scream.' There is no attribution for the remark and possibly someone too young to have been exposed to advertising for the first Alien movie might pass right over it but it seemed a funny little fan service kind of moment.
Clayton Shepard is 249 miles above Earth when the lights go out. He has no communication, limited power, and an unbreakable will to survive. His one goal: find his way back to his family.
I hate books written about dumb characters doing what they do best (acting dumb) and this book is replete with them. Let's start with the concept of an EMP knocking out power to the world and the subsequent collapse of civilization as we know it. This is not a new concept, several books have been written about this idea (better books than this one) but the author treats the idea of an EMP as though it were a startlingly novel concept. A brief list of things that bugged me:
An astronaut, stranded in the space station after the event, has to painfully and laboriously reconstruct this idea, 'starting with what he knows about the sun' which is that the earth revolves around the sun. Seriously? This is where he starts? What is he, nine years old? I realize that an author has to be careful not to leave behind his audience when writing about scientific ideas but come on, does the author think that the kind of luddites who don't know the earth revolves around the sun are going to be reading his book?
A father out camping with his son and son's friend is asked to jump a stalled car. He gets out his jumper cables and walks all the way over to the site with the stalled car where the woman he's helping has to ask him where his car is. Apparently it never occurs to him at any point that he requires a power source to accomplish his task; perhaps he was going to fasten the cables to one of those current bushes my husband is always telling me about.
I found the relationships between the people in the book to be wooden and superficial; of course you can't expect in-depth characterization in a book of this type but I never felt an emotional connection with anybody, in fact as my annoyance increased, I sort of wished a gamma ray burst would follow up the EMP and wipe them all out.
Bottom line, I'd spend my money/credit on One Second After by William Forstchen or Aftermath by Charles Sheffield instead, both of which involve EMPs knocking out modern society but are just done better (IMO).
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
After a night of camping turns deadly for Rory and his friends, the town sheriff finds no trace of wrongdoing. No bodies. No blood. No nada. Sheriff Hooper scoffs at their story about the dead people who came out of the lake. The moss-covered ones that allegedly dragged their friends, kicking and screaming, back into the water with them. It doesn't take long for the dwindling group of survivors to uncover who is responsible for the uprising, and what follows is a tidal wave of bloodshed and horror.
The beginning and middle of this book are a pretty fair zombie story. It doesn't stray too far from zombie canon although there is a new aspect to how the zombies function. However, I think the book would be improved by ignoring everything after chapter 27 or 28, basically after the protagonists make it back to town.
The rest of the story is the elaboration of a tedious twist ending (not that you can't see it coming a mile off) and it drags the story out in a manner hard to bear. I listened to the last chapter with gritted teeth.
The narration was good, clear, concise and Mr. Bennett was reasonably successful in giving different characters their own unique voice. I believe this book would appeal most to fans of zombie fiction and then to horror fans in general.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Isla Perdida has been untouched by humans for hundreds of years. Until now. A team of researchers has landed on the rocky shores of this dangerous landscape and discover that a horrific predator is waiting for them. It doesn't take long for this deadly arachnid to make its way from the humid island jungle to the American mainland. As this new threat terrorizes Southern Florida, a murderous infection begins to spread. Victims are piling up, and death is not the worst of it.
Although the use of exotic spiders as a vector for transmission of a parasite which causes 'zombie' illness is an interesting idea, it is not particularly well-thought out in this novel (IMO). Nobody looks to monster books for logic but even so you need to be able to sell your plot for at least the period of time it takes to read your story. Pathosis heaps improbability upon improbability with happy abandon.
First we are asked to believe that there are an undiscovered species of spiders living on a remote island which have not only killed all the life there (what were they living on before the human smorgasbord arrived in the form of a scientific expedition), but then were successful in attacking, infecting and over-running the humans on the expedition and the ship who go insane and begin killing each other. The ship is found and brought to a Florida port with the spider cargo alive and well but the human cargo dead. The Coast Guard is asked to investigate and then things really fall apart.
From a Coast Guard lieutenant named Emily who makes off with a critical ship diary which describes the expedition in detail and its disastrous finish, to a pest control man who gets scared by one of the spiders in the hold but refuses to tell anyone what he saw, to mosquitoes eventually replacing the spiders as villains, to DDT use as a kind of secondary villain, arbitrary events pile on each other thick and fast in a way that doesn't make much sense even in a genre famous for not making sense.
In addition to the plot problems, I had trouble caring about the characters. For instance, Jack the pest control guy, who deliberately misleads Emily of the Coast Guard concerning the thoroughness of his pesticide application in the cargo hold, is also shown as griping constantly about his customers or alternately being a kind father to his children. He doesn't so much seem like a person as an outline for a person. I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to see him sympathetically or not and so on for most of the other characters in the book including the main character, Calla (her survival at the airport toward the end of the book is just as improbably mind-boggling as most of the other events).
Final summation...the book is not absolutely terrible because I kept listening to the end but it could have been better.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then, on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell - and trimonite, the hardest material known to man. When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating and waiting for suitable prey.
This Audible original drama is superb fun for fans of the Alien series. It covers a period between the major movie productions after the Nostromo has been destroyed but before the events of Aliens.
As the story opens, a mining vessel has run into trouble on planet LV 178 with our favorite parasites; Ripleys' shuttle (via means I won't describe here) converges with the mining ship; mix liberally and the killing and conspiracies begin.
What makes this book stand out is the excellent production of the Audible Original drama with an extremely capable cast of actors and sound and musical scores which enhance the action. The actress who plays Ripley sounds like Sigorney Weaver which is impressive and Rutger Hauer who voices Ash is a well-known actor in his own right. Any Alien fan should do him or herself a favor and download this book right away but it should also appeal to aficionados of action-oriented sci-fi.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful
Prepare yourself for the ultimate multicast performance. We've gathered many of Audible's most popular narrators to bring to life some of the most extraordinary words ever written. 19 words, in fact, carefully selected and arranged alphabetically as in their original source: the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. We created this enlightening journey from AUDIENCE to LITERATURE because you asked for it.
I didn't know what to expect when I downloaded this very brief audiobook but I thought, what the heck, it's free, right? Well, I can tell you that these narrators are very, very good and they know how to deliver the excerpts so that they capture your attention. Many of them are very funny in a way that's hard to describe and at least one of them, 'blunderbuss' sounds like it should have an 'R' rating. Great fun, thanks Audible!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light”. But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all.
Paranormal novels come in two general flavors; those which take the heroine and romantic interests relatively seriously (think Laurel K. Hamilton and her ilk) and those which adopt a lighter, more traditionally chic lit approach with lots of frothy dialogue, breathy descriptions of the male romantic interest, etc. First Grave to the Right belongs to the second group.
Charley Davidson is a grim reaper who collects souls and sees (you guessed it) dead people, which might sound serious but isn't in Ms. Jone's novel. This particular grim reaper has bestowed individual names on her breasts and ovaries, one of which is (I kid you not) 'Scotty.' If you can read that sentence without having a gag reflex induced, then you're probably good to go for the entire novel with its lengthy descriptions of heavy breathing with the love interest Rais (an entity of unknown providence) as he makes her 'girl parts' tingle.
There is also lots of emoting as Charley blames herself for the bad behavior and foolish choices of everyone even remotely associated with her. Her stepmother's cruelty and the demise of a woman she had rescued from her abusive husband who decided she had to go back to her house one more time for a baby blanket are all viewed by Charley as her fault and a general indictment of her failures. Speaking as someone who's been around long enough to know that it's difficult to get people to take responsibility for the things they actually did, Charley's overactive conscience not only seems over the top but also tiresome. For a child to take her stepmother's cruel words about her paranormal abilities being somehow wrong or proof of Charley's essential badness is understandable; for an adult to do the same thing is merely pathetic.
The narrator Lorelei King does a very good job with the novel and is the only reason I was able to persevere to the end. Bottom line: chic lit and romance novel devotees will probably love this novel (and judging from the reviews do); those who like their paranormal adventures spiced with a little irony or whose blood sugar is likely to be overcome by too much cuteness should make another choice.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful