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Publisher's Summary

The world has two faces. The natural and the supernatural. The faces we see every day. The faces of hose filing past us in an almost zombie-like stupor, numb to the horrors of everyday life or driven to madness by the pain and agony of modern-day existence - and those are the people who aren't zombies or monsters! Cal McDonald is a detective with one foot in the real world, and one in the world of magic. For Cal, the horrors we all dream about in the fevered darkness of the night are all too real, kept at bay through an almost constant influx of drugs to numb the pain, but never erase it. McDonald is Cut from the same mold as Sam Spade, Jake Gittes, and the famous detectives of Chandler, and Spillane. Cal McDonald, whether he likes it or not, is all that stands between us and the nightmare world just outside our vision.

Criminal Macabre 007, Steve Niles. Dark Horse Books and the Dark Horse logo are trademarks of Dark Horse Comics, LLC, registered in various categories and countries. All rights reserved.

©2008 Steve Niles (P)2020 Mark Alan Miller

What listeners say about Criminal Macabre

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A functional drunk fights monsters and evil!

The character Cal McDonald is a paranormal private detective created for Criminal Macabre, which is a Dark Horse Comics series. In addition to the comic series, the character also appears in two novels (Savage Membrane & Guns, Drugs, and Monsters) and a collection of short stories (Dial M for Monster), which are all included in this single omnibus edition of Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories.

The backdrop of the Criminal Macabre series is similar to what you might find in the dark urban fantasy genre, but the majority of the population is in denial of the existence of the supernatural and the authorities actively work to cover up evidence of supernatural involvement in criminal activities. Though vampires, werewolves, and the undead are integrated within society, normal people are unwilling or unable to accept their existence, leaving individuals like Cal McDonald with the task of investigating crimes in the dark, supernatural underworld. Cal, isolated by his work and the horrors and loss he has experienced during his life, is a self-destructive, anti-social, anti-hero. He spends the majority of his days and nights taking an excess of alcohol, barbituates, and illicit stimulates in order to maintain a balanced state of functional inebriation.

I found all of the Cal McDonald stories enjoyable, especially the interplay between Cal and his kinda-sorta-sometimes business partner (and ghoul), Moloch. The books are well written and the narrative is deep, dark, and immersive. The plots of the stories often take unexpected (and interesting) twists and turns. The story is told from Cal’s point of view and the tone, like his character, flits between grim horror and snarky sarcasm. Cal seems to possess a death wish born of his self-loathing and depression, yet refuses to die at the hands of another, particularly if it's one of his many supernatural adversaries. Between his awful luck and occasional fits of rage, he tangles with vampires, werewolves, demons, aliens, zombies, and other things that go bump in the night through the series. I know the comic series is still running, but really hope there are more novels published in this series as well.

The narration for the audiobook is a perfect fit with Criminal Macabre and Eric Bryan Moore’s distinct tone perfectly captures Cal’s personality and dark temperament. Other characters are well portrayed with unique voices that represent their nature and disposition. Overall, Moore’s performance greatly enhances what is already an entertaining and interesting collection of stories.

Special thanks to Eric Bryan Moore, who provided me with this book at my request.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Procedural Paranormal Noir

“Criminal Macabre” is a collection of “Cal McDonald” stories wrapped up in a single audiobook volume. The stories consist of over thirteen hours of audio containing all of the material from the Cal McDonald books one thought five. A few of the stories are novellas where the others are more short stories. The compiled stories were written by Steve Niles who is an American comic book author and novelist mainly crafting books in the horror genre. The Audiobook’s narration was exceptionally performed by Eric Bryan Moore who I previously reviewed for his performance of the “Damian Stockwell” series of audiobooks. After listening, I could understand the author writing graphic novels as the characters and stories felt more satirical and humorous while there were quite a few graphic scenes that felt over-the-top. The audiobook is really a collection of paranormal procedural noir horror tales each including a few facets of suspense and surprise. If this is your type of genre, I would recommend the audiobook based on the amount of material for one’s Audible credit including great narration.

Unlike your typical noir or cyberpunk tale, this one involves aspects of paranormal activity in the likes of Ghost Busters elevated to a much greater level. There is humor, satire, and zaniness. However, our main character is a broken man who was a police officer that now fulfills specialized tasks relating to supernatural events. Often, these cases taken on by our hero evolve from a basic request to a rather crazy set of events involving ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, vampires, and others. I was hoping for the stories to contain a bit more detail and background as getting into each of them took me some time. Even after getting some context, it was hard to connect with most of the characters. For me, it felt more comic bookish than a deep and compelling story. The feelings I had towards the main character were more out of pity due to his self-destructive personality and substance abuse, then a connection. I was hoping the scenes would have been more detailed and the characters more complex than they were.

There were a few gems sprinkled in the various stories that caught my interest. I like the author’s use of some unique weapons and scene locations. I was able to feel the dark and dreary environment as I listened. However, I wanted more. More communication, more depth, more interaction and more complexity. The bones of a great story were there, but I wanted more of the flesh and sinew as I listened. I think that is why I saw it more as one would write if they were trying to describe a graphic novel or comic book.

The audiobook’s narration was performed very professionally by Eric Bryan Moore. I have enjoyed many of his other audiobook and this one was no different. The characters were strongly voiced, had distinctive personalities, and each one felt alive. Inflection and other elements that assist a listener with expressions and events was executed well. The thirteen hours of audio was clean and clear of any audio artifacts such as background noise, swallows, or page turns. I quite enjoy the smooth tone and pace of reading when I listen to Mr. Moore.

For parents and younger readers, this set of stories is intended for mature audiences due to the amount of adult material and rather graphic violence. Vulgar language flows steady from the first page to the last. There is quite a bit of self-destructive behavior from the main character including a fair amount of substance abuse. For this reason, I would not recommend this audiobook for younger listeners and even some adult many find it overly explicit.

In summary, the audiobook and its stories have a decent flow and there was a good amount of humor to offset the more graphic portions of the book. The book can be consumed in smaller bite-sized sessions. Both procedural and horror are not one of my top preferred genres, yet the stories keep my listening until the end. The stories are told in a way that is a bit choppier than I like my stories to be, yet there was enough mystery keeping me engaged.

Disclaimer: This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator and/or publisher in exchange for publishing a non-bias review

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Foot in real world and one foot in the magic world.

With a foot in the real world and one foot in the magic world really does sum up this collection of stories and short stories. The different people we pass. It parts a little gorge and the zombie state some people are in. Given audio for my voluntary review and my honest opinion

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Criminal Macabre

This is a complete collection of Cal McDonald Stories. The stories are entertaining and fun yet a bit gorie if you are squeamish. I love supernatural stories and how authors are only limited by their imagination. Steve Niles does a fantastic job creating a mix of unique characters. I also love how Cal uses his addictions to get himself out of some situations, and I also must admit at times his addiction drove me nuts and made me wonder what the folks at the hospitals thought of his frequent visits. Eric Bryan Moore does an amazing job bringing these stories to life!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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No Holds Barred in a Supernatural Underworld

Steve Nile's short story series about Cal McDonald, a human private detective solving cases in a dark, urban fantasy world, is gripping, gross, and hilarious all at the same time. In this complete series, you get 13 hours of paranormal noir crimes, ghoulish monster mayhem, and a cast interesting and unique characters that give Cal a reason to keep his glass full. Cal flirts between excessive wise-guy-attitudism and grim depression episodes but he is an honest man and lives within an inch of his life everyday as he fights off vampires, werewolves, zombies, and the whole lot. all in all, an excellent and horrific series that keeps your interest from story to story.

This audiobook is brilliantly narrated by Eric Bryan Moore, whose voice nails the mixture of satirical, zany humor and dark, temperamental tones presented in the series.

Overall, I highly recommend the series especially if you're already into the graphic novel series this audiobook is based on, and am looking for more stories in this franchise.

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PI With a Twist

Great series of stories that are nothing like you have ever heard. Cal and his Ghoul partner are somehow able to come out alive or dead based on how they went into a situation. A great mix of horror stories mixed with humor.

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Awesome, Fun, Engaging Intro into Criminal Macabre

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Series is an excellent audiobook of the Criminal Macabre series. I’m not too familiar with the Criminal Macabre comic series; however, this is an outstanding intro. The relationship between Cal and Mo’Lock is tight, engaging, and very fun. I was very concerned with the zombies and vampires being generic tropes, but Criminal Macabre puts its unique twist into it. Each character and every moment has a purpose, and it is something that I enjoyed about Criminal Macabre. The narration by Eric Bryan Moore is outstanding, and he is personally my favorite narrator after listening to him. He creates very distinct voices for each character and makes it entertaining. This is not your typical “I read for you” audiobook. The story is an excellent intro to the Criminal Macabre series, and I am heavily interested in reading comic books/graphic novels about it. There is a lot of content for an audiobook of about 12 hours. However, it is worth the listen. Nothing gets stale, and each chapter makes the listener wanting more. I highly recommended this audiobook, especially if you’re a fan of Criminal Macabre or want a great intro into the series.

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  • Ern shady
  • 04-19-20

nicely narrated fantasy crime novel

A nicely and clearly narrated., fantasy dectecive novel . Good storyline and entertaining to listen to.