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  • The Red Tree

  • By: Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Eileen Stevens, Katherine Kellgren, Christian Rummel
  • Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 98

Sarah Crowe left Atlanta, and the remnants of a tumultuous relationship, to live alone in an old house in rural Rhode Island. Within its walls she discovers an unfinished manuscript written by the house's former tenant - a parapsychologist obsessed with the ancient oak growing on a desolate corner of the property. And as the gnarled tree takes root in her imagination, Sarah risks her health and her sanity to unearth a revelation planted centuries ago.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it for the quality of writing

  • By Kristen on 06-15-10

Great writing, Fantastic narration, Absent Story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-01-19

There's a story in there - hell there's a few stories in there - but they all pale in comparison to the writing and the narration. The author really knows how to turn a good phrase, how to describe things so perfectly, how to capture a characterization. The narrator - she's amazing - I've never heard a person switch in and out of southern drawl so seamlessly.

The story itself unfortunately.

And the very heavy doses of info-dumps and citations from boring periodicals or reference books - I want to believe that maybe this is a "House Of Leaves" kind of meta-story thing and just maybe half of it is lost in narration, or perhaps there's some much much MUCH deeper meaning that my feeble little mind just couldn't pick up because the writer was writing for other writers, who would be able to pick up on all the subtle literary references between mythology, Virginia Woolf, Yates, Jung - there was just so much going on that whatever kind of supernatural scary tale that might've been buried in there - it just never got a chance to breathe.

And there's no ending. Literally.

And the hard core erotica threw me for a loop; I'd already recommended the book to a few people because of the brilliant way the author explained her take on ghostly apparitions, and her writing, it was a really good book, but as soon as the lube came out, yeesh I had to do some serious back-pedaling.

So - we've got an author who is just amazing at writing themes and using her words in the best of ways, with a narrator who just NAILS a torn soul or two, but a story that is trying to be about seven things at once, and succeeds at MAYBE three of them, tops.

  • Blackwater: The Complete Saga

  • By: Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
  • Length: 30 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,700
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,692

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido's first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A 6 Star Worthy Epic!

  • By jksullycats on 10-29-17

Good Tale. Not Horror. Not Well Written

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I've seen so many reviews praising this book. I finished it yesterday and did not like it.

Well. No. I didn't like most of it. The story was interesting, the characters were interesting. The narrator (I listened to the audiobook) was great.

But, the writing.

The writing was just so cluttered. And so maybe it's the pitiful amateur author in me, (it's definitely the pitiful amateur author) but I was caught up in three things:

Thesaurus Abuse
Adverb Abuse
The Said Game

Thesaurus and Adverb abuse are pretty obvious. "The door opened soggily" is just bad. It's horrible. It hurts to read.

The SAID GAME happens when an author, having learned that redundancy is bad, struggles to use any possible way to avoid saying "SAID". Opting instead for words that give credit to the person speaking, but sometimes they fail miserably, ("she puzzled" when answering a question) and are entirely too distracting once you notice an authors' addiction to the said game.

McDowell's incredible story would have been an amazing book (to me) if he replaced every non-said with "said" and replaced FIFTY percent of his godawful adverbs with better, more succinct descriptions. I realize maybe he was pressed to stretch his tale 6 novels, so more words were better, but holy crap, it was exhausting. Annoying. Bothersome. Vexatious. Incommodious.

Again - I have to believe my own hoity toity author snobbery got in the way of enjoying the tale - and I DID enjoy the tale itself, and the characters, and like most people have said, the scary bits happen naturally in the tale. Unfortunately, they don't happen enough to make this a horror book, no more than the movie Halloween is a movie about cutlery. Sure, that's a part of it, but, it's definitely not a cooking documentary.

  • The Mountain Man Omnibus

  • Books 1-3
  • By: Keith C. Blackmore
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 27 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,937
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,539
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,533

Boomstick. Samurai bat. Motorcycle leather. And the will to live among the unliving. Augustus Berry lives a day-to-day existence comprised of waking up, getting drunk, and preparing for the inevitable day when "they" will come up the side of his mountain and penetrate his fortress. Living on the outskirts of a city and scavenging for whatever supplies remain after civilization died two years ago, Gus knows that every time he goes down into undead suburbia could be his last.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great read, keeps you engaged

  • By Steve on 07-30-15

An editor definitely would have improved this.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-18

Ahh well, they can't all be five-star novels. This is a fun premise, and if you like zombie stories, you'll definitely hear one if you buy this one. There's zombies, bad human guys, guns, zombies, good guys, twists.

But here's the thing.

The narrator sounds like Jack Friday from Dragnet. And that wouldn't have been such a bad thing if the writer wasn't apparently VERY GOOD at writing police reports where every single detail is necessary.

Do they kill a horde of zombies? Yes. There's the pear shaped woman. The old codger. The student. The nurse. The mail man. The younger pear shaped woman. The younger codger. A professor. A gas clerk.

Do they eat? Yes. They prepare soup. First, they open the container. And then they put the water on to boil. And then they get a spoon. And then they wait for the water to boil. When the water is boiling, they add it to the soup mix. And then they sit at the table. And use the spoon to take one spoonful of the soup. And then they use the spoon to take another spoonful of soup. When they are done, they get up from the table, pick up the bowl, walk to the sink. They put the bowl in the sink with their right hand.

You get my point yet? Somewhere underneath all these minute, meaningless, redundant steps, there's a tale about a guy surviving out in the woods, just up the ways from a town overrun with zombies. I kind of get the feeling the author was trying to hit a certain word count.

The first book was bad enough, (three days hiding in an attic, full of details about each time they have to go to the bathroom into a suitcase, unzipping, positioning, finishing, zipping, AUGH.) but it was bearable. The second book - I finally quit at the fourth chapter when Gus cooked another bowl of soup, or maybe it was oatmeal.

Or maybe it was when he put on his socks. First his left sock, and then the right one, tugging each up with the socks firmly grasped between thumb and forefinger. Once the socks were on, he put on a pair of pants, the slightly faded blue jeans that were in the second-from-top drawer in his bedroom. Once the jeans were on, he went into a different drawer to pick one of the millions of t-shirts.

OH ONE LAST THING! For a story that takes place in 2025, they all seem to really love only movies and songs and bands up to 2005, and then, well, I guess nothing else was released. But now I'm just being nit-picky.

Yeesh.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Before the Fall

  • By: Noah Hawley
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,358
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,331

On a foggy summer night, 11 people - 10 privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter - depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later the unthinkable happens: The plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs - the painter - and a four-year-old boy who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • What you should know before listening...

  • By Snozzle on 07-31-16

Pretty predictable, nothing amazing.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-15-18

Two dimensional characters full of predictable clichéd actions. I didn't see the ending coming but I also didn't really care by the time they got to it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Little Heaven

  • A Novel
  • By: Nick Cutter
  • Narrated by: Corey Brill
  • Length: 15 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,089
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,018
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,014

From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and Stephen King's It, in which a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Visceral Effectiveness

  • By Michael on 02-07-17

I Just Couldn't Stay Interested

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-06-18

In theory, this story has it all - creepy country folk with a dark mysterious type evil, three protags who dislike each other but bond together, gun fights, crazy people...

Maybe, in the end, there was way too much going on that didn't seem to congeal into an interesting story. Or maybe it was the almost literal copy of 'Salem's Lot scene where the kid is at the window?

I can't really tell you what this story lacked. The narrator was good enough I guess? But while stuff happened, there never seemed to be a story - a thread - through the book.

Of course, I'm only half-way through it... but at 15 hours long, I finally gave up at the mid-point, after trying at least a dozen times to come back to it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • FantasticLand

  • A Novel
  • By: Mike Bockoven
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe, Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,570
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,471

Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where "Fun is Guaranteed!" But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absurd...But awesome

  • By T.J. on 11-12-17

When it ended, I started the book over again.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-06-18

If you liked the narrative style of Rant by Chuck P, or World War Z by Max Brooks, you'll enjoy the story AND the performances of this book.

If you liked the devolution of civilization in Lord of The Flies or those early seasons of The Walking Dead, (the battles between groups, not the zombie stuff), you'll enjoy this story.

If you ever worked at a theme park, (I worked at Six Flags Over GA in the eighties) you might find a delightfully sick thrill from reading this book.

This might be my new favorite book, and new favorite author. I'm looking forward to his next book, ("Pack") coming out this July.

  • Haunted House

  • By: Jack Kilborn
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 759
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 689
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 687

At Butler House a series of grisly murders over a century have led many to believe it's haunted. To one scientist it's the perfect place for an experiment in fear. Eight people, each chosen because they lived through a terrifying experience, are offered a million dollars to spend one night at Butler House. They can take whatever they want with them - religious items, survival gear, and weapons. All they need to do is last the night.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining

  • By CoCoPuff on 07-23-15

Cliche House with Shaggy and Scooby.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-03-16

Is this a ghost story? No.
Is it horror? Maybe? In the same way Human Centipede II Featuring Scooby and the Mystery Machine might be horror.

One would think that an author with over two million sold books could do a better job telling a story. I'll ignore the problems with his writing, primarily because he ignored them as well.

I will focus on the story.

Are there spoilers in this review? Honestly, there are no spoilers because it's all happened before in sophomoric horror: he telegraphs what's going to happen long before it does, and he tells you how it happened as it happens.

And while you might be thinking, "isn't that storytelling?" I'd have to shake my head in embarrassment for this author.

1. Vincent Price from The Haunting Of Hell House.
The bad guy, hell the premise for the ENTIRE STORY, is a pitiful lift from the Haunting Of Hell House; with almost no worthwhile deviations. Crazy Scooby Doo villain offers a million dollars to Fantasy Island guest stars to spend the night in his haunted house to fulfill his mad scientist research. I think I just summarized the entire story right there: all that's wrong with it, and why someone should have said "This is cute, Jack, now go and write a real story."

2. Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo. SO MUCH.
I expected to hear "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids." Predictable terrors which are completely explained in eye-rolling detail later.

3. The Never-ending Happy Ending of Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.
Everybody gets a happy ending in predictable syrup-dripping detail. The alkie quits drinking, gets her son back, finds love, I almost expected the stutterer to quit stuttering and the amputee to grow her legs back.

4. The ridiculous cheese of Snakes On A Plane.
When the author lifts the catchphrase from Samuel Jackson's crappy disaster movie, un-ironically, it's a giant neon glowing hint that you should stop reading the book. Give up.

5. Gore that is both overkill and impossible.
I expect some blood and guts in a horror book, even if I was fooled into thinking this was a ghost story. Once I got past that, I was okay with it, but the gore just didn't make sense at times, it was like asking a nine year old to describe what they think happens during a violent assault.

HE HAS A MONKEY SQUARE OFF AGAINST A MONKEY IN A HAUNTED HOUSE, PEOPLE. Do you understand the sheer idiocy of that? Two super-smart monkeys, one of which was living in Hawaii at the beginning of the story, duel to the death, one expertly wields a scalpel but the OTHER ONE USES THE SMALLEST HANDGUN IN THE WORLD, and then uses sign language to say "STUPID MONKEY BROUGHT A KNIFE TO A GUNFIGHT."

Maybe this was fan fiction, and he picked it up, put his name on it and paid off the original author?

Maybe this was a first draft and he had bigger ideas until he realized that with over thirty! novels! to his name, that ANYBODY would pick up his garbage regardless how much it pulls the worst aspects of so many bad stories?

I don't know. I don't know what drives a celebrated author to crank out a steaming pile, and I don't know how it has ANY ratings over two stars. One reviewer calls this book, "disappointing" so, maybe reviewers are giving bonus points because they liked his earlier crap?

Kind of like how we all did that for Tommyknockers, I suppose.

I don't know. The narrator did the best he could with the material, Maybe he was overacting too often, but when you've got a cheesy soap-opera scooby-doo human-centipede tale, is there such a thing as going any farther over the top?

And let me be clear. I've never seen any of the Human Centipede movies. I've read reviews, seen commercials, and imagine the success of that franchise can only be due to the success/demand for more SAW sequels, regardless of plot, characters, logic, reason.

This book is embarrassing. It was the first novel I'd read/heard by this author, and I got it, thinking it would introduce me to more of his great books. Instead, it has steered me away, not unlike a garbage bin with the sign "Biohazard Waste" painted on the side.

So, take my advice. Stay away from this book. It gets two stars, one of those stars is just for effort. He wrote a book, he published a book, he had it made into an audiobook. That's a lot more than most folks. Unfortunately, that's where the achievements end.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Endurance

  • By: Jack Kilborn
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 790
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 672

The bed and breakfast was hidden in the hills of West Virginia. Wary guests wondered how it could stay in business at such a creepy, remote location. Especially with its bizarre, presidential decor and eccentric proprietor. When the event hotel for the national Iron Woman triathlon accidentally overbooked, competitor Maria was forced to stay at the Rushmore. But after checking into her room, she quickly realized she wasn't alone. First her suitcase wasn't where she put it. Then her cell phone was moved. Finally, she heard an odd creaking under the bed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW.......GREAT BOOK!!!

  • By Terri on 04-13-11

Editor Needed. Oh, so very badly.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-05-14

Jump scares, horrible writing, cliche ending upon ending upon ending - I honestly expected Chewbacca to growl in triumph as the cast turned to the camera for the grand finale.

I stuck with it. So you don't get one star. The idea for the story was great, and I bet the story itself would be great if somebody helped clear out the clutter of cliches and abuse of adverbs, predictable moments, and two-dimensional, (can a character be one-dimensional?) characters. Oh, so very very disappointing.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Closed for the Season

  • By: Mary Downing Hahn
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

The weather-beaten sign on the gate of the Magic Forest says closed for the season. But when the boys ride up to the gate on their bikes, Arthur tells his new friend, Logan, that the old amusement park hasn’t been open for years. Kudzu vines have grown over everything, making the park look sinister even in broad daylight, so Logan is reluctant to go inside, but Arthur urges him on. He’s sure they’ll discover important clues to the mystery they’re trying to solve: Who killed Myrtle Donaldson? And what happened to the money she handled as head bookkeeper at the Magic Forest?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Scooby-Doo Novel

  • By Beau on 06-04-14

A Scooby-Doo Novel

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-04-14

I got the book for my son to listen to on the road with me. The first quarter was a good setup, but after that, it fell into such predictable beats that it was hard to stay interested. Characters are two-dimensional, reveals are revealed a mile away, and the writing was pretty heavy-handed.

There wasn't a great deal of "What happens next?" moments in the book, because they were broadcast long beforehand.

Which all leads me to the my review title. It's a lot like a Scooby Doo episode. So, for a 9 or 10 year old? I suppose this is all great. I would have liked more creepy stuff, less annoying Hardy Boys stuff.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Child of God

  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 629
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 630

In this taut, chilling audiobook, Lester Ballard - a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape - haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail. While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Soaring description of base depravity

  • By Aunt Crabby on 10-31-13

Cormac McCarthy is just odd. Good, but odd.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-14

First off - great story, and fantastic narration.

Second, it jumps. The storyline. I know that's a thing for McCarthy, and on a written page I bet it's (hopefully) a little more obvious. But in narration, there's spots that I doubled back, even tripled back, a few times, trying to understand what was going on. Once I got it, the story moved quickly and with such great detail and description, I knew exactly what was happening; but it was those odd scene changes that were jarring, all the way through the book.

This is not my first Cormac novel; (No Country For Old Men, which is amazing to read); so I knew what to expect with the graphic violence, (which didn't bother me at all) or sexual deviance, (also didn't bother me). His sense of timing was crazy. Sometimes, a scene goes so slow, detailing the tiniest bits, taking care to provide what's going on in the character's head, and then other times he's leaping forward in bounds.

I liked it. I enjoyed it; laughed, cringed, the whole thing. Like in No Country, he didn't really spend much time on the WHY something happened; it just happened and then the story unfolds.

I'd totally recommend it to somebody to listen to. I already have. I hope the movie nails the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful