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Christine Newton

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  • Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 3

  • By: Scott Smith, Nathan Ballingrud, Brian Hodge, and others
  • Narrated by: Angel Leigh McCoy
  • Length: 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

It was a killer year for horror fiction of the harder kind. Authors, editors, and publishers presented readers with some startling works of horrific imagination, stories graphic in the extreme yet with subtleties suggesting larger meanings, tales that explore humanity by plumbing depths of soulless inhumanity and, in some cases, outright depravity. The stories here represent the best of them, disturbing tales that dig deep and take you into the dark heart of horror itself, unrelenting and unapologetic.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • GREAT ASSORTMENT!

  • By G C on 09-25-18

More hits than misses in this collection

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

I know that when I read/listen to short story compilations, I won't enjoy every single story. I call it a win if I can pick out a half dozen that resonate. In this audiobook, I'm happy to have found several stories here that I really enjoyed: "Burnt", "Til Death", "Bernadette", "Reprising Her Role", "Treehuggers", "West of Matamoros, North of Hell", "Ultra", and "The Dogs" were the ones that stood out for me personally. Everyone has different preferences and thresholds when it comes to hardcore horror, and I"m not sure that I'd classify all of my favourites here as hardcore. Of my handful of favourites, I'd consider "Burnt" and "West of Matamoros, North of Hell" to definitely align with my internal definition of hardcore horror, and maybe also "The Dogs".

When I see a book titled "Volume 3", my subconscious grades the content as somehow inferior to the stories that would make the cut in "Volume 1" or "Volume 2". That's why I suppose I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of these stories were so compelling (in a hardcore horror sort of way).

I really enjoyed the narrator - I'm a fan of alto female voices for narrators and I liked her dispassionate tone as she was narrating. It seemed to fit well with this genre of audiobook because it shifted the focus to the stories and let the words speak for themselves. A hyper-emotional narration would have been overkill, I think. It occurred to me as I was listening to the audiobook that the narrator does good accented voices, too. I'm not sure how authentic they are to the specific regions where the stories took place, but I found them to be quite compelling. I didn't give five stars for narration because I felt that the pace was a bit too slow; once I increased the playback speed to 1.25x, I hit a sustainable comfort zone with the narration.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Pandora’s Card Game

  • By: E E King
  • Narrated by: Genevieve Sibayan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

 

Fate, Destiny, Chance and Luck play cards beneath a new October moon. A wind destroys their game and the cards begin to move. Each card tells a tale.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Some stories were quite interesting

  • By Christine Newton on 10-10-18

Some stories were quite interesting

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

The other reviews here have been overwhelmingly positive, so I guess my tastes and preferences are different than most.

My thoughts: Most of the stories didn't resonate with me at all. In a short story compilation, there are bound to be some stories that hold one's attention and others that don't. Ideally, you want the majority to be in the first category but I found (in my opinion) that most of the stories didn't pique my interest at all. A handful of stories in the middle were really, really good, though. They included: "Evolution", "The Dream Rental", "Footprint in Time," and "The Hearing Aids".

So, why didn't I enjoy the other stories in this compilation? I liked the author's wordcrafting - I admire the ability to write lyrically, which is a talent that I absolutely do not possess. I think it was the plots of the stories themselves that were less compelling. Also, the author 'linked' the stories together in the context of round-robin storytelling by four immortal sisters. I liked the idea of using this as a means of connecting the stories, that's intriguing! However, the themes of the stories themselves weren't linked. One sister would tell a story and the sisters would chat about it, usually in a 'this is the moral of the story' fashion, an 'I don't understand what that story was about' fashion, or a 'it's too bad that story had a sad ending but such is life' fashion. Then it would be the next sister's turn to tell a new story and an overarching arc or thematic progression wasn't apparent to me. Throughout the audbiobook, there was a foreshadowing of the coming of the sister's dreaded brother (Despair), but when he appeared at the end of the book, the scene turned out to be less suspenseful than I thought it would be.

Again, most other reviewers gave the narration 4 or 5 stars, but my personal tastes and preferences are different. The narrator has a whimsical, fluid style of speaking and I enjoyed the emotionality of her voice. However, I found the pacing very slow. I couldn't listen to it at regular speed, but increasing the playback speed to 2x worked better for me. Also, my preference is for alto voices in female narration and this narrator's voice was usually more high-pitched and childlike. So, generally not to my taste but I could see how other listeners might find the narration more appealing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • The Distance

  • By: Jeremy Robinson, Hilaree Robinson
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer, Heather Costa
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209

The human race has turned to dust. August Morrison faces it after rising from the depths of a dark matter research facility in Arizona. His co-workers. His daughter. All of them: dust. Friends and colleagues around the world don’t answer their phones. The city of Phoenix burns. He is alone. As a world without mankind starts to crumble, August fights not just for survival, but for his very sanity. On the other side of the country, Poe McDowell watches her parents crumble into dust just moments after being shoved inside a coffin-like device that spares her from the same fate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He's done it again!

  • By Sandra on 09-02-18

All is explained in the final scenes...

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

I can see why many other reviewers gave this audiobook high ratings. The writing styles of these co-authors is great for this type of story. I’m ambivalent about the use of present first-person tense – I think I absorb and enjoy stories more when they’re written from a third-person omniscient perspective. Because it’s written in a first-person style that alternates between a male point of view (POV) and a female POV, it’s necessary that we have a male and a female narrator. I’m glad the authors made this decision! Having one narrator voice both the male and female POV would probably have been less effective (especially when narrators exaggerate the other-gender voice, usually to ridiculous extremes), so two thumbs up for using two narrators.

The narrator for the female voice was very effective and authentic, in my opinion. She sounded youngish and a wee bit naïve, good-hearted, and stubborn -- just like my mental picture of Poe. The narrator for the male voice grew on me after a while, but at the beginning I was distracted by the drawl of his voice (reminded me of the actor Patrick Warburton, which was not the mental image that I had of August). I increased the playback speed a bit, and things were fine after that. No major complaints.

Regarding the story itself, the main reason why I gave this story four stars instead of five was because of the pacing and placement of the ‘big reveal’. It’s like, for 95% of the story, as we’re narrowing the distance between August and Poe, we learn about their strange experiences (which I won’t describe, to be spoiler-free) as time passes. However, near the very end of the story, we’re suddenly given the entire explanation, which is kind of complicated and hard (for me, anyway) to absorb. I think it would have been easier for me to process if the authors had dropped more breadcrumbs along the way. As it is, don’t be surprised if you have to rewind a few times and re-listen to the explanation of what the story was about. It kind of felt like the authors were telling a joke, and they told the punchline… but then felt like they had to explain what the joke was because the audience got confused looks on their faces. So, don’t be surprised if you get through most of the story without understanding what’s happening – all will be revealed at the end!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Zombie Airman

  • By: David Guenther
  • Narrated by: Randolf Rebrick
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

The night of the plague follows sunset on April Fool’s Day around the world. By sunrise, less than fifteen percent of the world’s population is uninfected. The airborne disease is invulnerable to any air filter or disease barrier. The fifteen percent uninfected are still vulnerable to the disease when spread via bodily fluids as the infected seek to spread their disease. These are the stories of those just trying to survive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting twist to the zombie genre!

  • By RJ on 09-15-18

3.5* zombie adventure

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

3.5* -
As another reviewer mentioned, there are lots of abbreviations used by the author in this audiobook. After each new abbreviation, the author indicates what the abbreviation means. The use of extensive abbreviations is interesting. Abbreviations make communications more efficient for people who understand what the abbreviations mean, but they make communications less efficient for people who don’t know the abbreviations and need the explanations. Also, abbreviations are like a secret language that distinguish members of the ‘in-the-know’ group from individuals who aren’t ‘in the know’, either reinforcing inclusivity or reinforcing boundaries (depending on whether or not you’re ‘in the know’ about the abbreviations). This is a long-winded way of speculating that the author likely gained fans who have military (and related) backgrounds by the use of those abbreviations, but had some of us outsiders scratching our heads in confusion each time an abbreviation was used. Yes, the author gave us the explanation after the abbreviation but it caused confusion first, and then we were given the explanation. I think it would have been better for us noobs if we got the explanation first and then the author followed that with the abbreviation. Less confusing for people like me, while also letting the military readers know that the author is ‘in the know’ about the terminology/abbreviations. Sounds like such a minor thing! But there are a lot of abbreviations in this audiobook and each time the abbreviation was mentioned, it jolted me out of the narrative until the narrator could explain the term.

The only other observation that I would make about the story is that this a very action oriented story and less of a character-driven or plot-driven story. My personal preference (your mileage may vary!) is to understand and engage with the main characters emotionally, but this story focuses more on what the characters are doing rather than what the characters are thinking/feeling. It’s like watching old Godzilla movies. When you watch those Godzilla movies, you hardly get to empathize with any of the human characters. There’s usually an underlying moral message of man’s relationship with nature, but that’s more subtle and instead the focus is on the action and the carnage caused by the monster(s). I think Zombie Airmen is kind of like that.

The narration is good for this type of story and this setting. If I could make one suggestion, it would be that the narrator take slightly longer pauses after each sentence -it would have been easier for me to absorb what he was saying.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Alphabet Soup

  • Horror Stories for the Tormented Soul
  • By: Tobias Wade
  • Narrated by: Paul Jenkins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Discover original horror stories from around the world. Each author chose a letter of the alphabet and was given complete artistic freedom to make something horrible happen. Some stories will be mysterious, others creepy or even profound, but all are crafted to thrill and terrify you to the last word. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Alphabet Soup

  • By Gabrielle on 10-08-18

Re-listen to connect the stories

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

As other reviewers have indicated, this is a compilation of short stories and (like most short story collections) some are more engaging than others. Also, there is an over-arching narrative that connects stories together. Like others here, I started to realize within the first three or four stories that stories were linked. For better or worse, that focused my mind on trying to understand these connections and figure out what it was all about. I say 'for better or worse'. For 'better', because I really like the idea of connected horror stories - it's an interesting way to present a short story collection. For 'worse', because (as other reviewers have noted) things start to get really weird towards the end of the book. The more information that was revealed to me, the more confused I became. I think this is because there were more than two dozen stories to try and connect, and sometimes the connections were very fleeting indeed - in some instances, a mere handful of words in a sentence tugged you back to a previous story. Again, that's very cool! But... um, it might have been easier on my poor brain if the author had used a theme of seven days in a week, or 12 months in a year (fewer stories to connect!). This is definitely a short story collection that I'll want to listen to again, this time with a pen and paper to take notes. It's definitely possible that if I re-listen to the audiobook, things will become more cohesive and clear.

The narration was well done and reflected the rising and falling tension in many of the stories. A minor disconnect for me was that the narrator spoke with a UK accent but the stories were set in the US. There's nothing specifically wrong with that. But, to use a flipped example, if I listen to an audiobook about British history, my preference is that the narrator have a British accent, to make it easier for me to become immersed in the context of the book. So as perverse as it may seem, if this collection of short stories were set in the UK, I'd probably have given the narration 5 stars. Since the stories were clearly set in the US, the British accent of the narrator distracted a small part of my brain that was wanting to hear a more authentic-sounding accent for the region where the stories were occurring.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • The Tree of Penance

  • Society Lost, Volume Three
  • By: Steven Bird
  • Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

Join former sheriff Jessie Townsend as his journey takes him across a nation that is a mere shell of its former self after suffering numerous devastating blows from an orchestrated collapse and the attacks that followed. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hatfields vs. McCoys!

  • By RJ on 09-13-18

Sheeps, wolves, and sheep dogs

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

I took a bit of a risk by jumping into the third installment of this series without having listened to/read the first two volumes. You never know if the author will bring seamlessly into the story arc or if you'll be bewildered by what's going on (like somebody's told an inside joke that you don't 'get'). So.... my review doesn't have the broader context that other reviewers may provide, because I didn't start the series from the beginning.

Well, the good news is that, yes, it is possible to enjoy the third book without reading the first two. The author does a good job with character description, so you can easily get the measure of the main characters. Plus, this story has a VERY small flavour of the old David Carradine series 'Kung Fu', where that protagonist wandered into a new situation with a new cast of characters and plot each week. I got the same sense with 'The Tree of Penance'. The main hero (I believe) has been in the story since the beginning but the rest of the characters in the story are unique to Volume 3. I could be wrong, but that's how I understood it from my perspective. So, no, it's not imperative that you start from the first Volume; the author drops bits and pieces of back story into the narrative so you can sense the recent tragedies in the protagonist's life and the purpose of his larger quest (which he resumes in the final chapter).

The main reason why I deducted a star for the story is that the author doesn't give any details about why/how society collapsed. I'm assuming that this is covered in Volume 1 or Volume 2? All I know from reading Volume 3 is that society DID collapse and we're now in a 21st century 'wild west' environment. To get one more star, I would have loved to know what happened to cause the situation that we're in during Volume 3. If the author didn't want to integrate it into the main story of 'The Tree of Penance', even a brief Forward/Prologue/Introduction would have been sufficient to orient new readers into the series. I have a feeling some serious stuff happened, but there's no mention of armed forces or military, no mention of viruses, no mention of zombies, no mention of government, or anything like that. I would have loved to know what happened to bring down civilization!

I didn't deduct stars due to the brutality of the events in this story, although there is certainly a lot to be uncomfortable about. As my header indicates, we see sheeps, wolves, and sheep dogs. And the wolves are very, very bad. Are humans capable of the kind of brutality that we read about in this story? Yes, I suspect that we are. Interesting, but I wasn't able to identify any female wolves in this story; women were mostly victims, with a few transforming into Charles Bronson 'Death Wish' personas. Perhaps female bad guys made appearances in earlier volumes of this series, but their absence here stood out in my mind (it's something worth reflecting on, I think).

I'm glad I read this story. The author writes very well and tells a compelling story. The narrator was a good pick as well. J. Scott Bennett's style is very complementary to the story - good work! I increased the playback speed a bit, but that's a personal preference for me.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ancient Enemy

  • By: Richard A. Bamberg
  • Narrated by: Melissa Williams
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

When Greta and her husband move home to Ash Grove, Alabama, they learn they are not the only newcomers to town. The ancient enemy of Greta's family has finally found them and he is there to destroy the family. For a hundred years, they had been safe, and now, even though most of the family no longer believes in their eternal hunter, he is there to prove them wrong. As Greta feels each grisly death in her family, she realizes that it is up to her to stop their ancient enemy once and for all, or die trying.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great book

  • By TU on 08-22-18

Supernatural suspense

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

I really liked the beginning of this book, which brought us back in time to events in the late 19th century. Dread, tension, and the supernatural - very successful in catching my interest! Fast forward to present day, and the tension relaxed as we were introduced to the main characters. However, as the book progressed, the tension and supernatural menace started to ratchet up again. At the very end, the supernatural plot element took a twist that I'm not sure I liked, though. I suppose I was expecting a certain sub-genre of supernatural thriller and ended up with a different sub-genre at the last minute. As a result, the motive for the 'Ancient Enemy's' existence/behaviour was hard for me to absorb/ understand/ appreciate. I don't want to get into spoiler territory, so I'll leave it at that.

The narration was well done, although my personal preference was to increase the playback speed to pick up the pace a bit.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Five Roads to Texas

  • A Phalanx Press Collaboration
  • By: W.J. Lundy, Brian Parker, Rich Baker, and others
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 115

It spread fast - no time to understand it - let alone learn how to fight it. Once it reached you, it was too late. All you could do is run. Rumored safe zones and potential for a cure drifted across the populace, forcing tough decisions to be made. They say only the strong survive. Well, they forgot about the smart, the inventive, and the lucky.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great story, can't wait for the next round!

  • By Julie Loeb on 07-24-18

3.5* - Five roads, five authors

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

3.5* rating - I liked the title for this book. Five authors, collaborating on this story that ends up in Texas. Five sets of characters, with mostly independent journeys towards a common safe haven. I've read a fair number of zombie novels over the years and I typically find something engaging and unique about each book or series that I read. Thus, this story was interesting for me because I wanted to see how seamlessly the five-author collaboration would work out. One of the things that I enjoyed about this story was how the pacing and action/danger differed for the different story lines. I liked some of the main characters more than others, a sign of how well fleshed-out the characters were. I imagine that this would reflect reality: some folks might choose to hunker down and wait til things cooled down, while other folks choose to travel to an isolated sanctuary, while other folks don't know that the apocalypse has hit until the disaster is essentially at their doorstep, and so on. But all roads nevertheless lead to Texas.

The main reason why I gave this story less than a five star rating was because it became apparent in the final chapters that this was book 1 of a multi-book series. No where in the book cover, book title, or book description does it say that this is the first book of a series. I was expecting a resolution, but instead we were introduced at the very end to some entirely new characters and a cliffhanger that will clearly move us into the next book in the series. I was in the mood for a stand-alone zombie book, not a series, so I felt like I was on the receiving end of a bait-and-switch tactic.

I've listened to audiobooks narrated by Andrew Wehrlen in the past. On the whole, I've found his style more appealing for some stories, less so for others. I suppose my enjoyment of his narration depends on a variety of factors, such as the topic of the story, the length of the book, the number of characters, and the writing style of the author. For this book, which has numerous intense plot-driven moments, I think his narration was a bit too intense. In this book, there were times when I felt that the narrator packed a paragraph's worth of emphasis into each sentence. He has a very unique narration style, and sometimes it's a bit overwhelming when listening for a long span of time in a single sitting. I did notice that his intensity levels seemed to even out part way through the book, but I'm not sure if it was because he was settling into the narration, or because of the authors' wordcrafting during that portion of the story. Regardless, I'm not put off by the narrator and have enjoyed his past work - it wouldn't surprise me at all to give him a full five-star rating for a different audiobook in the future.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lit

  • The Alt Apocalypse, Book 2
  • By: Tom Abrahams
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88

In Lit, Abrahams tells the story of a couple on a camping trip to the Angeles National Forest, a Los Angeles firefighter, a lonely fry cook, and a group of college students who struggle to escape and survive in Southern California after an unprecedented outbreak of wild and urban fires. Can they escape the flames? Will they become heroes or run from danger? What will it take to end a fiery hell on earth?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting premise

  • By KS on 07-22-18

3.5* - interesting idea for a series

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

As noted by other reviewers, the over-arching premise of this series is quite interesting - same characters, different scenarios. We're warned in the preliminary Author's Note that the actions and fates of the characters may be different from book to book. That's a neat idea and I can't recall reading a series quite like this before. It will be interesting to see what the entire series looks like. The narration by Kevin Pierce is very good as well.

Unlike most of the other reviews, I didn't give this story a full five-star rating. Paradoxically, even though I'm keenly interested in the idea for this series, I couldn't quite get my mind wrapped around the fact that they're connected-but-unrelated. I think my brain subconsciously identified connections and continuity across the stories, such as: same characters; same location; a character randomly finding invitations to a bunker in one book and characters who owned the original invitations in the other book; and, the fact that Ash is specifically called Book 1 while Lit is specifically called Book 2, implying a sequence in which the reader should read the series. On the other hand, the contexts and fates of the characters were different in each story (a character may die in one story but not in another, for example). My brain is kind of spinning gears, trying to work out how to resolve this dissonance - continuity on some levels but disconnections on other levels. I think this mental conundrum subconsciously distracted me from my pure enjoyment of the story. I'm glad to hear that most other reviewers didn't seem to mentally hiccup the way that I did!

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • White Death

  • By: Christine Morgan
  • Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

The blizzard hits out of nowhere, screaming across the Great Plains like a runaway train. Frostbite and hypothermia wait for anyone caught without shelter. For the hardy settlers of Far Enough, in the Montana Territory, it’s about to get worse. Something else has arrived with the blizzard - something sleek and savage and hungry. Wild animal or vengeful spirit from Native American legend, it blends into the snow and bites with sharper teeth than the wind. It is called the wanageeska. It is the White Death. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Excellent

  • By Tatiana on 08-01-18

Fabulous story based on legend and history

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

One of the first audiobooks I ever listened to was 'Ordeal by Hunger', an account of the Donner Party disaster. Another one of my favourite audiobooks is 'The Man Who Ate His Boots', a story of the Franklin Expedition. One of the reasons why I loved those audiobooks is because they transported me back to the harsh reality of pioneering/exploration times and I got to live through their experiences vicariously from the safety and comfort of home. Christine Morgan has been similarly effective with White Death, which is based on the midwest blizzard of 1888. I grew up in Northern Ontario and have an appreciation of how brutal winters (and winter blizzards) can be, even when one is prepared and has access to modern comforts. So these stories are like riding on a roller coaster for me - thrills and suspense but no personal danger (or nausea).

So... I'm a sucker for historical disaster fiction, and White Death is right up my alley. This book was somewhat reminiscent of Dan Simmons' book 'The Terror', in that the author weaves Native myth and legend into the plot. I imagine that some listeners might find this offputting or unbelievable, but I think the author did a good job with it. Many people attribute events to supernatural forces/influences, so I was willing to be patient and see how the story unfolded. I felt that my patience was rewarded.

Some reviewers felt that the author juggled too many characters without giving them depth.I suppose I can understand that, but I was personally okay with that. Referring back to my aforementioned 'Ordeal by Hunger' favourite audiobook, that story involved dozens of actual characters so it was sometimes challenging to keep track of them, too, and we didn't get an overly deep-dive into many of those characters' personalities, either. But I would suggest that this superficiality of character development is reasonable, given the context. We have a group of humans in this story who aren't larger than life. It's mother nature that is larger than life, crushing and sweeping away those humans like flies on a windowsill. Although we didn't get treated to character depth, we instead got something just as good - character breadth. All of those different people, with different backgrounds and temperaments, swept up by the force of the single blizzard that was outside of their control. They were all bowling pins, at the mercy of a big meteorological bowling ball that knocked them all sideways. (Besides, if the author had added the pages to develop these characters more fully, it might have upset the pacing of the story.). Anyway, enough of me feebly trying to be lyrical and imaginative...

Full stars for the narrator, Matt Godfrey. I've listened to two of his other audiobooks in the past - The Bog and Haven - and he continues to impress me. From what I've experienced of his work, there's a great fit between his voice/style and the stories he narrates. There's a synergy here in White Death, between Christine Morgan's story and Matt Godfrey's storytelling. I'll be re-playing this one at least once more in the future.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful