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David Bridges

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  • Apologies to the Cat's Meat Man: A Novel of Annie Chapman, the Second Victim of Jack the Ripper

  • Jack the Ripper Victims Series
  • By: Alan M. Clark
  • Narrated by: Alicia Rose
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Annie Chapman led a hard, lower class life in filthy 19th century London. Late in life, circumstances and her choices led her to earn her crust by solicitation. After a bruising brawl with another woman over money and a man, she lost her lodgings and found herself sleeping rough. That dangerous turn of events delivered her into the hands of London's most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Murder Is the End of Her Story…

  • By Madelon Wilson on 07-31-17

Foray into 19th century London

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

Reviewed: 06-05-18

Another delightful foray into 1800s London with Alan Clark and Jack the Ripper. Clark is one of my favorite writers, I have read many of his books and this is a third of his Ripper victim series I have completed. Clark does in this book what he did so well in his previous stories about Elizabeth Stride and Polly Nichols, he provides humanity to Annie Chapman, Jack The Ripper’s second victim. After reading three of the books in this series, some overarching themes emerge. The most remarkable is the harsh environment and atmosphere these women survived in as impoverished vagrants of 19th century London.

Annie Chapman is her own woman although she will meet the same obvious fate as others. You already know how this book is going to end which for me always seemed like the challenge for Clark who has to rely on his storytelling skills to keep you interested despite the foregone conclusion. Clark is someone who definitely can meet that challenge. The story starts off with Chapman finding herself put on the streets after being attacked by an adversarial neighbor in the building she was scraping by in. Once out on the street, the story follows Annie as she tries to survive while “sleeping rough” and you begin to learn some of her history and how she ended up in this desolate state. The story is dramatic and unforgiving like many of Clark’s stories are, but he does such a compelling job of exploring the humility and desperation of survival you can’t help but sympathize with Annie.


I definitely recommend this book if you have been reading this series. Although, I think Say Anything But Your Prayers is still my favorite of the series, Cats Meat Man is a great read. I still have not gotten to Of Thimble and Thread which I believe is the only book in the series out that I haven’t completed. I will rectify that eventually. I also hope Clark writes some more new non Ripper related books soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Eat Only When You're Hungry

  • A Novel
  • By: Lindsay Hunter
  • Narrated by: David LeDoux
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15

A father searches for his addict son while grappling with his own choices as a parent (and as a user of sorts). In Lindsay Hunter's achingly funny, fiercely honest second novel, Eat Only When You're Hungry, we meet Greg - an overweight 58-year-old and the father of Greg Junior, GJ, who has been missing for three weeks. GJ's been an addict his whole adult life, disappearing for days at a time, but for some reason this absence feels different, and Greg has convinced himself that he's the only one who can find his son.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Huh?

  • By Rebecka on 10-27-17

Deeply Human

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

Reviewed: 09-08-17

This is a darkly funny, richly literary story that recognizes some of the most mundane things that happen to people and makes them interesting and thought provoking in a way I would’ve never imagined independently. Hunter puts our insecurities and emotional survival to the forefront here through the spirit of the characters in this novel. I couldn’t help but relate in small ways with various characters. That was my favorite part about this novel, the human element.

There is a ton about addiction and dealing with a loved one who suffers from severe polysubstance addiction. The main character Greg is divorced, overweight, and struggling himself in so many ways but decides to take a road trip to look for his missing son (GJ) who is an extreme addict. While Greg is looking for his son, the reader learns a lot about Greg himself and his own problems. Like many real life family addiction situations, Greg loves his son but is so burnt out from the continuous fall out of his sons use that he doesn’t even know what to do for himself much less his son.

Hunter’s mind works in a way that others don’t when exploring the human experience. Hunter’s work in this book reminds me of one of my favorite writers AM Homes, so if you are a fan of hers then pick up this book. To be honest though, while I liked this book, I loved Hunter’s previous book, Ugly Girls. So in comparing Hunter’s own work is why I will likely give it 4 stars instead of 5 stars. Ugly Girls has the human elements Eat Only When You’re Hungry has, but also contains more tension and violence which gives it more action and made it more appealing to me. Honestly, the stars don’t mean much. If you want to read a book that will make you laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time then give it a try.

  • Wild Fell

  • A Ghost Story
  • By: Michael Rowe
  • Narrated by: Gary Dikeos
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20

The crumbling summerhouse called Wild Fell, soaring above the desolate shores of Blackmore Island, has weathered the violence of the seasons for more than a century. Built for his family by a 19th-century politician of impeccable rectitude, the house has kept its terrible secrets and its darkness sealed within its walls. For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed that the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay there, locked away from the light. Jameson Browning, a man well acquainted with suffering, has purchased Wild Fell with the intention of beginning a new life, of letting in the light.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Narrator decent book!

  • By Marianne H Dean on 09-23-16

Classic Ghost Story

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

Reviewed: 06-09-17

I completed Wild Fell by mostly listening to the audiobook and a little by reading a hard copy. Right off the bat, I want to say Wild Fell is a great novel that is about as straight forward of a haunted house/ghost story you can get. This is my second Rowe novel and I am comfortable saying the author is a gifted storyteller. Both books I have read by Rowe contain classic tropes (Vampires/Ghosts) but still manage to remain compelling and original thanks to the author’s skilled prose and refined character development.

The novel opens with a superbly executed prologue that introduces us to the haunted nature of Blackmore island and what it is capable of. After that, the story becomes a coming of age story you may find in a King book or other ghost stories. Again, Wild Fell stands out from these due to the quality of Rowe’s writing and the darkness it conveys. I was captivated the entire time by the story and honestly, it was over before I knew it. I did like the ending, I don’t want to give it away but I will say it is an eerie and disturbing one. Despite the underlying creepiness of the narrative the story still explores the topics of love and family in a delicate and nuanced manner.

If you are a fan of ghost and haunted house stories then please pick up Wild Fell in one form or another. As I mentioned before I took in most of this book via audiobook and it is read well by the narrator, but the way this story is written it will be easy to follow no matter the mechanism of intake. I love and have read a ton of ghost stories in my day and Wild Fell will be high up on my list of recommendations. I do not think it would be unreasonable to compare the writing in Wild Fell to that of my favorite writer of ghost stories, the great Michael McDowell. So if you are a fan of McDowell I suggest you pick up Wild Fell. Chizine continues to remain one of my favorite (if not my favorite) publishers of quality horror fiction. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Rowe’s work.

  • The Three

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Lotz
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott, Melanie McHugh
  • Length: 13 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 183

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Meh

  • By Daniel on 06-05-14

Pre Apocalypse

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

Reviewed: 03-03-17

This is a character driven epic about the pre-apocalypse. I was initially throw off by how the story is told but once I found the groove I grew to appreciate the narrative and how the novel moves forward. It has a lot of characters, some recurring, some not recurring but all tied to the events of black Thursday where four simultaneous plane crashes happen with the only remains being 3 child survivors.

What makes the story interesting is how society responds to an unexplainable phenomenon. While all the four crashes have scientific explanations for how the planes went down the speculation of why is what sends ripples throughout the world. The idea of four plane crashes is just enough for people to blow off as a coincidence but the three child survivors are perfect fodder for religious nuts and the tin foil hat types. Everyone has their theories but evangelicals and conspiracy theorists have a unique style of influence and with the internet at their disposal, they can be more influential than ever. The book is very meta. There is a book within the book and much of the story moves forward, via emails, interview transcripts, tweets, and skype sessions. It is really like you are reading the transcript to a documentary. I can’t imagine how much work it was for Lotz to create and put all of these various puzzle pieces together to form a coherent narrative. She pulls it off, though. There are some reoccurring characters and the way Lotz intertwines the stories of the three kid survivors and how the plane crash affects them and their families is impressive. There is a beautiful side story about one of the kid survivor’s grandmothers and her having to in the kid while caring for her husband that suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Honestly, with the way things are going on in the world, I found this book to be relevant and prescient on many levels. It has an international feel to it as the plane crashes happen in the Florida, UK, Japan, and Africa. The internet and the spread of information plays a role in society’s downfall. Religious fanatics use the events of “Black Thursday” and internet to bring upon a dystopia they think reflects their prophecy. I see there is a follow-up book called Day Four which I intend to check out. I am definitely in on this series and am looking forward to seeing what Lotz has next. Also, I want to add that I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and it is performed well. There are so many characters and the two narrators do a good job.

  • Rabbits in the Garden

  • By: Jessica McHugh
  • Narrated by: Kristin Allison
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

The discovery of a secret crypt in the basement starts the Norton family down many unexpected avenues, including one that leads to Avery's arrest for murder and her subsequent imprisonment in Taunton State Lunatic Asylum. Set in 1950s Massachusetts, Rabbits in the Garden follows Avery Norton's struggle to prove her innocence and escape Taunton with her mind intact.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WOW. Very dark, yet compelling.

  • By Sharron on 05-19-12

GOAT

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

Reviewed: 02-21-17

I have a shelf in my library called the "GOAT" shelf (Greatest Of All Time). These are my favorite books that I have read. They are books that I have read multiple times or plan to read multiple times. These are books that helped define my taste. They are books that made me feel something, various emotions, sadness, fear, and disgust. They have also made me feel humor and provoked thought. I am saying all of this because Rabbits In The Garden by Jessica McHugh has made my GOAT shelf. This is my second time reading it and I did listen to the audiobook the second time. I read a hard copy of Rabbits a few years ago before I was writing any reviews on Amazon or anything like that. After the second reading, I loved it even more than the first time and felt compelled to write a review.

Avery Norton is a 12-year old girl living a relatively normal life in Martha's Vineyard. Avery's mother, Faye, seems a little uptight but Avery is really too young to notice Faye's psychosis. Avery is in love with a neighborhood boy named Paul. During a visit from Avery's sister Natalie, who is in town from boarding school, encourages Avery to follow her feelings, leading to her first kiss with Paul. All the butterflies are there and McHugh does a great job with describing the confusing yet obsessive feelings of young love. Once Faye realizes what is going on she flips her lid and punishes Avery. She forces Avery to tend their garden which has been the site of her mother's puritan lessons and is a metaphor for how Faye views the world. In anger Avery lashes out in at the rabbits in the garden, killing a few of them. Avery feels terrible about doing this and while trying to hide the bunny corpses stumbles across her mother's slaughterhouse. When Avery comes too she realizes not only her mother is psychotic but she has set Avery up as punishment for her relationship with Paul. Avery is locked away in a psych facility named Taunton and this is when the book picks up and becomes one of the most compelling psychological thrillers I have ever read.

Faye is one of the evilest characters I have ever experienced in my readings. If you love villainous matriarchs, like Adeline Parr from Michael Rowe's Enter Night, you will absolutely love Faye Norton. Everything Faye does to Avery is so vicious, but in her mind she is righteous and it makes everything so infuriating. In all of McHugh's books I have read, there is some kind of complicated family dynamic. The author always handles it with such superb depth. Love is what prevails through all of the horrors. Not corny love, but such a strong bond between people that it can cross dimensions and withstand supernatural intervention. While in Taunton, Avery is fighting for her freedom and sanity but she is also coming of age. The majority of the book is set during her time in Taunton from age 12-18. I wanted so badly for Avery to get out and have a normal life but I don't think it is a spoiler to say she doesn't get that. She is hardened and tortured both physically and mentally by an inept mental health system in the 1950's. One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the book for me is when Avery escapes from Taunton and makes her way to Paul. They immediately drop everything to get married and start a life together. They have been wanting this normalcy so long they don't consider she has just escaped a mental institution and there is no way this will work out. It reminds me of the scene from the movie Fury where Brad Pitt and another young soldier take two pretty German women hostage and play house with them for a few hours. It is not real, but they want it to be real so bad they are willing to pretend to have this normal life outside of war with two hostages. The ending is perfect, in true Mchugh fashion the suspense crescendos to a revenge scene that would make Lady Vengeance proud.

I have both read Rabbits In The Garden and listened to the audiobook and suggest either form. Kristin Allison, the narrator of the audiobook, definitely does the story justice and brings the characters to life just how I imagined them in my head the first time I read it. Another thing I notice about all of McHugh's books, but this one, in particular, is how air tight the plots are. As soon as I would think I found a plot hole McHugh would immediately cover it. After Avery was thrown in Taunton I thought to myself, where the hell is her sister? Bam, the next chapter is Natalie's perspective. It is written in a more linear narrative than the other books I have read by McHugh but none the less it is an upward trajectory of suspense, horror, and turmoil until the very end. You have everything in this book: a serial killer, torture, and ghosts but in the true Mchugh fashion you have raw emotion, love, and even a few jokes here and there. I feel like I have seen Ms. Mchugh mention on social media a possible sequel to this book and I sincerely do hope that is true. Regardless, I want to welcome Rabbits In The Garden to my GOAT shelf.

  • We Did Everything Wrong

  • By: C.V. Hunt
  • Narrated by: Scott Servheen
  • Length: 4 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

Abraham Koyfman is a widower of nine months. He works from home selling subliminal self-help tapes for a questionable doctor he found in an ad in the back of a magazine. His meager retirement is enough now that he's alone and Abraham is ready to quit his job - a task proving to be difficult due to the company's tactics. The combination of grief and the lack of empathy from his adult children have him ready to quit life, also.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A grumpy old man buddy comedy, CV Hunt style.

  • By David Bridges on 01-11-17

A grumpy old man buddy comedy, CV Hunt style.

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

Reviewed: 01-11-17

A grumpy old man buddy comedy that would make Walter Matthau blush. While this story is funny it also has the trademark darkness and misanthropy that I have come to know and love in Hunt's books. This book is a pretty significant deviation from her last one, Ritualistic Human Sacrifice, which was an insane horror novel. We Did Everything Wrong is definitely a testament to Hunt's literary versatility. There are scenes in the book where I was actually laughing out loud. Also, I listened to the audiobook version and Scott Serveen do a great job bringing the comedic dialog to life but also captures Abe's frustration and despair.

The story opens up with Abe, the narrator, planning to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills because he cannot get over the death of his wife. His kids don't visit and he has just completely given up. When he is about to go through with the deed, he gets a call from his obnoxious (and hilarious) friend Horace. Horace comes to his house drunk, with his new girlfriend and they end up drawing Abe into their antics.

If you are a fan of Hunt's previous work then you will definitely enjoy We Did Everything Wrong.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Stranded

  • A Novel
  • By: Bracken MacLeod
  • Narrated by: PJ Ochlan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 64

Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Odd But Compelling

  • By Kim Venatries on 11-28-16

Stranded review

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

Reviewed: 12-17-16

A brutally cold tale about a supply ship running into an earth shattering storm that sends the crew into a very claustrophobic and violent episode of the Twilight Zone. There is a lot of action and suspense. I felt like I had some questions about the plot right after I finished it but the more I thought about it I grew to appreciate the unknowns more. I would recommend this book to PKD fans as well. Parts of it reminded me of some of his work like Time Out Of Joint.

If you like high action and intense end of the world type stuff then you will like Stranded. This is my first Macleod book and I intend to read more. I see he has a book coming out with ChiZine. Any author that puts out a book with ChiZine will likely be read by me at some point. Also, I did listen to the audiobook through some of Stranded and it was well read by the narrator named PJ Ochlan. You can't go wrong in any form.

  • Zero Lives Remaining

  • By: Adam Cesare
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

Robby Asaro is dead. And alive. He's a ghost in the machine, keeping a watchful eye on the arcade where he lost his life two decades before. And the afterlife is good. The best thing ever to have happened to him. But when the conscious electric current formerly known as Robby Asaro makes a decision to protect one of his favorite patrons, Tiffany Park, from a bully, he sets loose a series of violent supernatural events that can't be stopped.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Creepy!

  • By erobbins33 on 10-07-16

Fun and Gory

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

Reviewed: 04-10-16

Any additional comments?

A fun and gory read from a go to writer when I want something gory and fun to read.

Robby Asaro makes pizza at the Fun Cave, an arcade/pizza joint where the book takes place. One day Robby accidentally cooks himself in a conveyor belt pizza oven. While he is obviously burnt to a crisp his spirit haunts the arcade via the electrical wires on some evil Wreck It Ralph shit. Two decades later Robby develops feelings for a regular patron, Tiffany Park. When another kid, Chris Murphy, aggressively pursues Park at the arcade, Robby is having none of it and electrocutes the Chris to death. After Chris' death, Robby notices that he has absorbed some of the aggressive personality traits of Chris and his desire to kill increases. This leads to everyone else being trapped in the arcade and an elevated body count.

Cesare never disappoints. I know when I read something by him it is going to entertain me. Just to show you how serious about that I am about that, I actually sprung for the hard copy limited edition of this book when it came out from Shock Totem. With that being said, I actually listened to Zero Lives Remaining via Audible audio book. The guy who read it did a great job and I feel like I would've enjoyed the book no matter how I consume it. This is definitely worth picking up for established fans of Cesare.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful