This collection contains all of Ervin's published short stories to date. It includes tales of science fiction, horror, mystery, suspense, and inspiration. "The Scene of My Second Murder" relays the tale of a wretched man seeking forgiveness while confronting revenge from beyond the grave. "Tethered in Purgatory" tells of a trapped soul's struggle to escape its cryogenically frozen body and reach heaven. In "Drug Dogs" a falsely accused student learns you can't always trust those who should be trusted. And those are just a few. Remorse and redemption, revenge and revelation, cowardice and courage - all are contained within this fast-paced and riveting collection.
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Note: This review was first published on the reviewer's blog.
This review is going to focus mainly on the audiobook version and its narration. For a helpful synopsis of the book itself, please visit the review posted by Kevin R. Tipple at Kevin’s Corner.
As the aforementioned review suggested, Terry W. Ervin II features a wide variety of genres (horror, science fiction, inspirational/literary, mystery) and a colorful set of characters in each of the stories throughout Genre Shotgun. With such a wide array of genres and characters, it creates a great opportunity for an exciting audiobook.
And that’s just what this audiobook delivers. W. Ryder Timberlake has a bold narrator’s voice—it is clear and well-enunciated. It is the kind of voice that is neither irritating nor grating, neither boring nor over-the-top. This voice is easy to come back to whenever he switches between the wide variety of colorful characters in Ervin’s story.
Among the characters that illustrate Timberlake’s dexterity and deftness as a narrator are those featured in “Skull Face Returns,” “Seconds of Eternity,” “Drug Dogs,” and “Fictional History.”
In “Skull Face Returns,” Skull Face himself is given a grunting, creepy overtone that really makes the text come alive. For “Seconds of Eternity,” the computer/artificial intelligence is given a cold and calculated undertone, subtle and calm, similar to Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, staying true to the tone which I’m sure Ervin was going for in this particular science fiction story.
For “Drug Dogs,” we are given the flavor of a native Spanish speaker that sounds very authentic and pulls us away from any characters that sound too similar. And finally, in “Fictional History,” Timberlake shows us how he is able to use subtlety and nuance with his vocals to show a distinct difference in characters without seeming too embellished as the professor’s voice somehow seems old and wise.
Overall, W. Ryder Timberlake’s bold narration brings another dimension to Terry W. Ervin II’s Genre Shotgun short stories, one which makes them come even more alive. My only complaint is that some of the female voices, especially Sallie in “The Exchange Box,” sound too similar and too weak. Other than that, this was a pleasure to listen to—as entertaining of a listen as it was a good read.
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