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C. Bland

Houston, TX
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 121
  • ratings
  • Childgrave

  • By: Ken Greenhall
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 29

When photographer Jonathan Brewster’s four-year-old daughter, Joanne, tells him about her new invisible friends, he doesn’t think too much about it. But then he sees them for himself: weird and uncanny images of the dead appearing in his photographs. The apparitions seem to have some connection to Childgrave, a remote village in upstate New York with a deadly secret dating back three centuries. Jonathan and Joanne feel themselves oddly drawn to Childgrave, but will they survive the horrors that await them there?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I need more synonyms for *creepy*

  • By Sharon P on 01-17-18

Great, overlooked voice in horror

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

Reviewed: 03-19-18

What did you love best about Childgrave?

It's always fun to discover an overlooked author. Greenhall had the misfortune to write some very thoughtful and scary books that ended up wrapped in lurid dust jackets that made them look like every other mediocre bargain-basement paperback horror trash from the late 70s/early 80s. However, one quickly realizes that this is subtle, quality prose with strong characters and an intriguing plot. I liked the fact that the story unfolds slowly and that the protagonist and minor characters where interesting in their own right and not just one-dimensional props who propel the story forward without contributing anything

What was one of the most memorable moments of Childgrave?

Lots of really crazy moments come towards the middle/end, but to avoid spoilers, I will say any of early interactions the protagonist has with the mysterious Laura, as these passages evoke a subtle yet uncanny dreamy quality that lays a great foundation for what is to come

Which scene was your favorite?

Again, too many spoilers. There are multiple scenes early on that do a great job establishing mood and setting the stage. I also enjoyed the scene where the Sicilian Opera singer is being photographed, for sheer oddness.

Who was the most memorable character of Childgrave and why?

I enjoyed spending time with the protagonist, even thought there were many things about it I disliked, he felt like a fully realized charecter which is refreshing. I also enjoyed Mr. Bordeaux, but mostly as comic relief and a source of witty banter.

Any additional comments?

I really hope Audible makes more works by Greenhall available soon. I would love to listen to more of his books and ideally see a renaissance in interest around him. Travis Baldree was also an excellent narrator, so hopefully he will continue in that capacity if more of Greenhall's works find their way to audio.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Asylum

  • The Afterlife Investigations, Book 1
  • By: Ambrose Ibsen
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 516
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 514

College professor Stephen Barlow needs cash. Badly. He puts his skepticism aside and signs on to a paranormal research organization in the hopes of scoring a fat bonus. Enter Chaythe Asylum: a long-shuttered and controversial institution where patients were allegedly subjected to unethical experiments. Stephen deems the old building, closed in 1989 after a series of grisly murders, as good a place as any to explore the possibility of the supernatural, and arranges to take a tour with his students. But it turns out that the asylum is not as abandoned as it seems. There is something sinister in the building.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A ghost story

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-14-17

very creepy!

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

Reviewed: 10-12-17

this is a very promising start to a new series. while not wholly original, there are enough new elements and interesting takes on genre convention to keep the story fresh. the characters are interesting and surprisingly multidimensional. The characters are also smart enough to arrive at the same conclusions as readers are likely to, which is a welcome departure from the numbskulls who seem to populate so much of supernatural horror.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Alien: Out of the Shadows

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Tim Lebbon, Dirk Maggs
  • Narrated by: Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,258
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,402
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,377

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a work that I highly recommend

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 05-02-16

This was WAY WAY better than I expected it to be!

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

Reviewed: 12-12-16

I typically hate fan fiction, pastiche, and novelizations, so I had my doubts about this audio drama, but it was on sale and the reviews were good... I was more than pleasantly surprised! This audio drama is essentially a side story that expands the "Alien" universe (or mythos, or whatever you want to call it) without rewriting the story line of the movies (it would take a major spoiler to explain how the authors achieved this, but trust me) and all the performances were perfect (lively without being hammy). The performer playing Ripley was so good it was startling. I highly recommend this to fans of the franchise and anyone who enjoys horror, SciFi, action, and suspense.

  • Monster 1983

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Ivar Leon Menger, Anette Strohmeyer, Raimon Weber
  • Narrated by: Marc Warren, Callum Blue, Anastasia Griffith, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 291

Oregon, summer 1983. A series of mysterious deaths shakes the coastal town of Harmony Bay from its peaceful sleep. Shortly after the death of his wife, Sheriff Cody is called upon to investigate numerous murders which all exhibit strange puncture wounds. Cody and his team expect the murders are committed by a serial killer, but it soon becomes clear something more sinister lurks behind this idyllic town, which becomes his worst nightmare.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not worth a credit

  • By Timothy C. Branan on 11-02-16

Good fun!

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

Reviewed: 11-13-16

for those who like their suspense / horror with a big dollop of nostalgia, Monster 1983 will be lots of fun. The performances are (with a few exceptions) very good, and the plot (while not groundbreaking by any means) has enough going on to keep the listener engaged and entertained throughout. this was translated from a German script, and the performances can come of as a bit hammy and forced in places, such as when one character exclames "it's like in that new A-Team show!" (we get it, this is set in the 1980s) but these moments are only minor faults in an otherwise enjoyable audio play. If you like shows like "Stranger Things" or enjoy the "bad things come to a seamingly idyllic small town" sub-genre of horror, you should enjoy this mash-up of things vintage Spielbergian.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Sea of Ash

  • By: Scott Thomas
  • Narrated by: Leeman Kessler
  • Length: 2 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

A Victorian Englishman summons a strange puppet-like being to an old Colonial Inn. A doctor returns from the Great War and discovers a mysterious naked woman at the edge of the Atlantic. A contemporary collector of arcane books retraces the steps of these other men - adventurers who sought out the mysteries of neighboring dimensions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply the best book I've listened to in years.

  • By Kelly Young on 08-12-16

Fantastic wierd fiction

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

Reviewed: 10-17-16

I really enjoyed this short work. it was clearly influenced by some of the greats of weird fiction / Victorian ghost stories / cosmic horror (i.e. Lovecraft, James, Etc.) without being just another pastiche. there are a number if very arresting and unsettling images found throughout and it is all tied together nicely at the end. Highly recommended and an author to keep an eye on

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • North American Lake Monsters

  • Stories
  • By: Nathan Ballingrud
  • Narrated by: Travis Young
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 93

In this striking and bleak, yet luminous debut collection, Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award, uses the trappings of the Gothic and the uncanny to investigate a distinctly American landscape: The loneliest and darkest corners of contemporary life. Ballingrud’s stories are love stories. They’re also monster stories. Sometimes the monsters collected here are vampires or werewolves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding collection of charecter-driven horror

  • By C. Bland on 01-11-16

Outstanding collection of charecter-driven horror

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

Reviewed: 01-11-16

What did you love best about North American Lake Monsters?

If you’ve not read (or listened to) the fiction of Nathen Ballingrud, then you are missing one of the most exciting up-and-coming voices in horror and dark fiction. The range of Ballingrud’s style and interests are on display in this collection of his short works, and every one of the carefully selected stories here is thought-provoking, enigmatic and beautifully tragic. While all of the stories have elements of horror, the supernatural, or some uncanny elements, they are all character-driven, deeply humanistic, and populated with very believable and flawed people. This is not a hackneyed collection of genre pot-boilers; pretty much every story here would hold up perfectly if the supernatural elements were removed, but the fact that there are monsters, angels (maybe), demons, and other kinds of weirdness elevates each work into a kind of dreamy otherworld that oddly makes all the human emotion even more real. Many of these stories (like the Shirley Jackson Award-winning “The Monsters of Haven”) deal with thwarted masculinity, when male protagonist find themselves powerless in the face of the inexplicable. A few of the stories are set in New Orleans (where Ballingrud lived for several years), and in these tales the city itself becomes a major character, but Ballingrud avoids falling back on cliches and instead paints a picture of the city that is as nuanced and conflicted as any of his other characters. To top it all off, Travis Young provides an excellent narration; with a reedy Southern lilt that really sounds at home coming from Ballingrud’s characters. If you love dark tales populated by very real and sympathetic (though not always easy or like or heroic) characters, you owe it to yourself to get this collection.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The protagonist of "The Way Station" some on of my favorites, his loss and hopelessness were beautifully captured in the central metaphor of the story, I found myself rooting for him to find something to hold on to.

What about Travis Young’s performance did you like?

He did a great job, and he has the perfect voice for this these stories

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Peel back the surface and see the world as you always feared it to be...

Any additional comments?

Get this collection and hear an exciting new voice in horror; it will renew your faith in the potential for dark fiction to tell meaningful stories

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Signature Kill

  • By: David Levien
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,471
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,359
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,360

A young woman's body is found on a side street in Indianapolis, horrifyingly arranged. Meanwhile Frank Behr, who is down on his luck and virtually broke, takes on a no-win case to locate a single mother's wayward daughter who's been missing for months. Suddenly Behr feels the two cases may be connected, but he is years removed from his life as a legitimate police officer and has few friends left on the force. His relentless focus has always been his greatest strength...and his deepest flaw.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thrilling

  • By Tracy P. on 11-29-15

Bleak, generic, and unbelievable

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

Reviewed: 10-21-15

by the numbers serial killer story that has a few good passages but often veers into the absurd (hero cop getting an on the spot psychological profile from some random thug he just beat up while the cop's infant son waits in a parked car? WTF?!?) or the relentlessly grim (describing one helpless victim being tortured to death is expected in this genre, but doing it again and again throughout the story is unnecessary and give the novel a torture-porn vibe). literally nothing unexpected happens and the utterly predictable ending is totally unsatisfying on both the literary and visceral levels. skip unless you want to be depressed / repulsed for a few hours by some stock characters.

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,188
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,169
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28,122

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

Exceptional and genre defying

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

Reviewed: 06-14-15

What made the experience of listening to The Fold the most enjoyable?

Peter Clines is one of my favorite emerging authors. The audio versions of The Fold and 14 are wonderfully narrated with vivid characterizations of Clines' assortment of interesting and multifaceted characters. The story itself is endlessly inventive and grabs the reader's attention from the first sentence to the last.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fold?

There are some wonderfully choreographed fight sequences and lots of fun techno-babble to geek out on, but all of my favorite parts were built around the protagonist's interactions with the other characters. I also loved the scenes that gave a tip of the hat to Clines' earlier story 14, although no previous knowledge of 14 is required to enjoy The Fold

What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

Ray Porter is one of the most skilled narrators I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. He brings just the right amount of nuance and accent to each character so that everyone in the story comes alive as a vivid individual, without the narration ever becoming hammy or cartoonish.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My most extreme reaction was to immediately want to read/listen to more the moment the book ended. There are lots of scary and funny moments throughout the story and I'm sure many readers will find themselves jumping and laughing (as I did) while they listen.

Any additional comments?

GET THIS BOOK! It totally defies genres and as long as you're not the type who reads / listens to just get more of the same, you should enjoy this work as it seamlessly weaves together sci-fi, horror, comedy, and techno-thriller elements unto a fantastic story that's really unlike everything else out there there. Clines is an author to watch!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Occultation and Other Stories

  • By: Laird Barron
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 173
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 160

Pitting ordinary men and women against a carnivorous, chaotic cosmos, Occultation's eight tales of terror (two never before published) include the Theodore Sturgeon and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated story "The Forest" and Shirley Jackson Award nominee "The Lagerstatte."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Laird Barron is the future of horror

  • By C. Bland on 01-03-15

Laird Barron is the future of horror

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

Reviewed: 01-03-15

What did you love best about Occultation and Other Stories?

Each of Barron's stories is a wonderful microcosm populated by believable, complex characters with rich back-stories. The horror and suspense work so well because we actually care about the people, we feel that they have lives, and we watch with them in fascination and horror as their world slowly and inexorably unravels; revealing the dark secret at the heart of things..

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's hard to pick just one, but I really liked the protagonist of "The Lagerstatte". In a story that's essentially about grief, it's all too easy to write a character that comes off as self-pitying or whiny, so I was pleasantly surprised that despite the story's overall bleak tone, the main character (who is a grieving widow) comes off as both strong and quite funny in places. It is even more surprising when you consider Barron's penchant for writing stories populated by "Manley Men" that he writes sympathetic and believable female characters, and it really illustrates his versatility as a writer.

What does David Drummond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Drummond does an excellent job bringing the stories to life, he conveys the terror, confusion, anger, helplessness, and exasperation of the characters without becoming cartoonish or melodramatic. I did feel that some of the voices he does in "The Broadswords" were a little over the top, but overall I loved his narration and I hope he continues to narrate Barron's works.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. In fact, I wanted to listen to the whole book again the moment it ended, something that I've not experienced in years.

Any additional comments?

If you've not heard of Barron, this collection is an excellent introduction to his brand of terror. That is, stories that manage to be both literary and visceral, stories that celebrates many of the horror genre's tropes and conventions while at the some time subverting them. There's really no one out there writing works like Barron and if you love horror (especially horror of the cosmic, psychological, and somewhat pessimistic variety) then you owe it to yourself to buy this collection ASAP!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful