LISTENER

Matthew Jacobson

St. George, Utah
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 29
  • helpful votes
  • 9
  • ratings
  • Hell House

  • By: Richard Matheson
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,632
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,167
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,167

For over 20 years, Belasco House has stood empty. Regarded as the Mt. Everest of haunted houses, its shadowed walls have witnessed scenes of unimaginable horror and depravity. All previous attempts to probe its mysteries have ended in murder, suicide, or insanity.

But now, a new investigation has been launched, bringing four strangers to Belasco House in search of the ultimate secrets of life and death. A wealthy publisher, brooding over his impending death, has paid a physicist and two mediums to establish the facts of life after death once and for all. For one night, they will investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townsfolk refer to it as the Hell House.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Got scary?

  • By Lesley on 06-17-08

It's repulsive -- to great effect!

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

Reviewed: 07-27-15

Where does Hell House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is definitely one of my top 10. The story is gruesome and at times sacrilegious, and it's nice to get into a story that isn't afraid to pull punches. Because every lurid detail is explained, the horror is that much more effective.

What other book might you compare Hell House to and why?

The only one that comes to mind immediately is "The Haunting of Hill House." However, "Hill House" doesn't so much scare as it does intrigue. "Hell House," on the other hand, paints some pretty horrific pictures.

What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

He performed without having to do any silly voices, a bad habit among many narrators that immediately takes me out of the story.

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

I can't for the life of me think of a tag line. But, I would definitely like to see an adaptation of this film beyond the one starring Roddy Mcdowall. I'd love to see a film that keeps all the gruesome scenes and disturbing images.

Any additional comments?

Richard Matheson is a master storyteller. He created a house that I personally want to explore.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Haunting of Hill House

  • By: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,385
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,075
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,080

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written horror tale

  • By Crystal on 02-11-14

This "Haunting" is more of a psychological one

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

Reviewed: 07-05-15

Is there anything you would change about this book?

At first I'd wished there were more supernatural elements. But upon further reflection, I realized the demise of Eleanor really was the "haunting." At least, for me it was. Sadly, I saw a lot of myself in that character (although I'd be more likely to admit I'm like Theodora).

Which scene was your favorite?

The most intense for me was the scene in which the incoherent babbling was heard on the other side of the door. It brought me back to my early childhood when I could hear the muffled voices from my parents' TV downstairs, although I didn't know it was the TV. I thought the sounds were coming from creatures wandering around outside. I called them "Omms" because that's the sound they made.

Was The Haunting of Hill House worth the listening time?

Yes. I'm glad I finally got to the foundation of the story that inspired so many movie adaptations.

Any additional comments?

I've seen this book pop up on many "Scariest Books of All Time" lists. I definitely wouldn't add it to my scariest books of all time, although I do wonder what the experience might have been for me if I'd read it instead of listened to it. However, that doesn't make it a bad story. It's fascinating, just not frightening.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Scarlet Gospels

  • By: Clive Barker
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 612
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 581
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 582

The Scarlet Gospels takes listeners back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes, faces off against his formidable and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with baited breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Guys, I have a great idea for character voices...

  • By Jim Fenner on 06-03-15

I can't get past the narrator.

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

Reviewed: 06-15-15

Would you try another book from Clive Barker and/or John Lee?

I am planning to delve into the Barker collection. I read "Hellbound Heart" many years ago, and I think Clive Barker is clever and original. I am sad that Pinhead's story arc doesn't get much play in any of the other stories (as far as I can tell). I would have loved to have the universe of Hell Priests expanded into a full history.

John Lee, on the other hand, was very disappointing as the narrator. I don't expect the narrator to come up with a voice for every character, so I never understand why narrators go out of their way to attempt voices and accents that are far beyond their range. With the core characters being of American origin, it was not a good idea to cast a narrator from the UK to attempt caricature American accents that wouldn't even sound good in a cartoon.

Every time he spoke as Harry, or, worse, Lana, it completely took me out of the story as both sounded like they should have been arguing in a Bronx deli over rye bread instead of how to defeat an onslaught of demons.

If you’ve listened to books by Clive Barker before, how does this one compare?

This is the first book I've listened to by Clive Barker. I'll listen to the others as long as Lee isn't the narrator.

How could the performance have been better?

If you can't do an accent, don't try. The listening audience isn't here for a theatrical performance. We're hear to listen to a story. If it's absolutely necessary that the characters have American accents, then use a narrator who is either American or can speak in an American accent.

Did The Scarlet Gospels inspire you to do anything?

Yes. I want to re-record it.

Any additional comments?

From what I've read about Barker and Pinhead, it seems like he doesn't want to do anything else with the character, which is fine. But, my hope is that he changes his mind someday and revisits the monastery with its many Hell Priests. I'd love to know its history and purpose.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Trigger Warning

  • Short Fictions and Disturbances
  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,997
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,983

In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction--stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013--as well as "Black Dog", a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It Triggered Me to Stay Up Late and Listen

  • By Jan on 02-10-15

I love Neil Gaiman... but...

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

Reviewed: 04-29-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Definitely, assuming you can handle Gaiman's short stories. However, if you're like me and love to read/listen to character development that lasts a whole book's worth, then you might want to wait until Gaiman finishes his next novel.

I told myself after picking up "Fragile Things" that I wouldn't put myself through Gaiman's short stories again. Not because they aren't good, but because I want more! I am not so easily satisfied with the rich worlds and characters Gaiman creates, only to have their lives last but a few pages.

Would you ever listen to anything by Neil Gaiman again?

Of course. Neil Gaiman is my favorite author/narrator. (In fact, I almost had to stop listening to "American Gods," purely because Gaiman didn't narrate. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because that's a wonderful book!)

What about Neil Gaiman’s performance did you like?

Whenever an author reads his or her own work, there's always that extra amount of passion behind the storytelling. This is true with Gaiman. Plus, I love to hear him say "room," and I often find myself repeating it aloud after hearing it. "Rum."

Did Trigger Warning inspire you to do anything?

Definitely. It inspired me to get back to my damn story about Victorian-era demons!

Any additional comments?

It's my opinion that Neil Gaiman is the greatest author alive today. I just wish I didn't find his short stories so frustratingly short!

  • Gadzooks!

  • A Comically Quirky Audio Book
  • By: Adele Park
  • Narrated by: Garry Morris, Andra Harbold, Lesley Mendenhall, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

In the eyes of Nadine, a polygamist and serial bride, nudging her husbands into heaven is a testament to love. Even Nancy Neptune, a notorious shock jock, is gobsmacked by Nadine's so-called Celestial Send-Offs. Things go to hell in a hand basket when Nadine offs the wrong guy and is charged with assisted suicide. Meanwhile, Blue McKenna has problems of her own. A power outage has leveled Blue's medical marijuana dispensary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gadzooks

  • By trixie on 05-28-15

Hilarious – especially for Utahns!

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

Reviewed: 03-26-15

Would you listen to Gadzooks! again? Why?

I might, but I'm especially looking forward to listening to the other productions by Adele Park. The production value is incredible.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed how the story – being set in the Fundamental Latter Day Saint world – was rife with topics we don't equate to the FLDS world, like marijuana, porn, lesbian and gay characters, etc. It made it really, really funny.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Nancy Neptune is hands-down my favorite character in the story.

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

It definitely made me laugh!

Any additional comments?

I think people from Utah – especially Southern Utah – will particularly love this story. It's fun to imagine all the sister wives I see in Wal-Mart every day having these secret adventures to Las Vegas to sell skin cream and then off to Colorado to do a drug run.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Rosetta Key

  • By: William Dietrich
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 41

Gage finds himself hurled into the Holy Land in dogged pursuit of an ancient Egyptian scroll imbued with magic, even as Bonaparte launches his 1799 invasion of Israel, which will climax at the epic siege of Acre. Pursuing Napoleon to France, where the general hopes ancient secrets will catapult him to power, the wily and inventive Gage faces old enemies with unlikely new friends.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Good Book

  • By Craig H. on 12-02-08

The bones of the story are awesome. But...

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

Reviewed: 02-15-15

Would you try another book from William Dietrich and/or Jeff Woodman?

I don't think I will. I read the first in the series, and it was intriguing, although I would have liked more story and less history lesson throughout. I thought an audio book would help me through the lull in action with this book, but I just sort of found myself tuning out instead.

What could William Dietrich have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

For sure we need some historical context to put Ethan Gage in the proper time and space, but exposition often gets lost amid the constant reminders that, yes, this is happening in a real place in a real time.

Which character – as performed by Jeff Woodman – was your favorite?

It would have to be the titular character.

Could you see The Rosetta Key being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Absolutely. I couldn't say who the stars would or should be, but I think with some paring down, this entire series would make either an excellent film franchise or a great Netflix project.

Any additional comments?

The Ethan Gage series has the potential to be awesome. But with William Dietrich being a historian, the plot gets hung up on the semantics of the time and place of the events. So, yes, there is action, but it's muddled with a story that reads/sounds less like a novel and more like a history text book.