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Editorial Reviews

A fantastically dark and gripping tale expertly delivered in performer Michael Carman's sandpaper-and-silk voice. Australian Nicholas Close is living in London when an accident kills his new wife and leaves him with the ability to see the dead. Returning to Australia, he discovers that a 100-year-old string of child sacrifices have been taking place in the dark woods near his house. Close must get to the bottom of the horror, or risk being swallowed up himself. Stephen M. Irwin takes what might be a cheesy plot in the hands of a lesser writer and crafts an icily beautiful thriller instead. Highly recommended for fans of horror and suspense.

Publisher's Summary

The Dead Path tells the gripping story of a broken man, Nicholas Close. A terrible accident has left him a widower and awoken in him the ability to see the dead. Now, he can’t escape visions of tortured spirits, their last moments caught in horrible, endlessly replaying loops.

Nicholas leaves London and returns to Australia, where he is disturbed to see that a heavily treed tract of land in his childhood suburb has somehow escaped development. These woods have haunted Nicholas since he was a boy, and now he knows why: he sees the ghosts of terrified children being dragged from the path into the grinning maw of dark trees.

When another local child goes missing, Nicholas himself becomes a suspect, yet he alone knows the girl has been taken into the woods. If he does not act against whatever resides among the shadowy trees, more innocents will be murdered. But the force he resolves to confront is old, cunning, and evil...and wants Nicholas for itself.

©2010 Stephen M. Irwin (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"I can't remember being this creeped out by a book since reading King's The Shining." (HorrorScope)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

An excellent story!

I really enjoyed this. The narration seemed a little harsh at first, but after a few minutes you adjust to the light accent of the narrator. Also, since the story itself takes place in Australia it adds to the authenticity. I'm not kidding when I say I listened to the whole story in one sitting, it really keeps you on the edge of your seat with plenty of twists and turns. The only negative comment I would have is that section of the story were slightly pornographic. This isn't really a bad thing since it all relates to the story, but of course it means that I wouldn't recommend it for younger listeners. Other than that, this was an outstanding story full of interesting characters and great suspense!

PS: Those read up on the occult will be happy to know there's a decent amount of accuracy when it comes to runes and European pagan mythology. Complete with a positive example of a modern adept to offset the negativity of the antagonist.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Best Debut of the Year

This is the best audiobook I have listened to in ages. In fact, after I finished it I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, so I went back and listened to it again.

The story is riveting. An Australian in London loses his wife in an accident and then returns to his home town in Australia after he discovers that his own accident has left him with the uncanny ability to see the ghosts of people at their moments of death.

Back in Australia, he discovers that children are being abducted and killed in the dark woods near his house. These relate to the murder of Simon's best friend 20 years before. They also relate to a string of child killings (sacrifices) which have taken place over the past hundred years or so.

The story weaves the current day plot with scenes from Simon's childhood. Simon seeks to find answers and to stop the horrifying occurrences. He enlists his sister, his mother, and the widow of an acquaintance. They are all drawn into the mystery and the witchcraft.

The images in the book are compelling. The woods are haunted and haunting. There is witchcraft and ancient magic. There are ghosts. There are spiders and shape-shifters. There are believers, non-believers and reluctant believers. There are shamans and priests. Several characters die. The end of the book is surprising and satisfyingly disturbing.

The narration of this story is superb. Michael Carman is absolutely brilliant. His English accents and Australian accents are spot on, and he's one of the few male narrators who does a really excellent job with female characters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hope
  • Broken Arrow, OK, United States
  • 01-22-11

Wonderful story

I loved everything in this book. I have no idea why on Earth there are so many comments about sex detracting from the story, that is not the case by any means unless I blanked out at just the right moments. I was interested from start to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

If you hate Spiders.....

I enjoyed this book immensely, mostly because the end was completely different than I was expecting. I would have given it a five but only books that make me cry or fool me who the murderer is get that.
I heard about this book on Facebook, and I was somewhat skeptical about how good it would be but I am very glad I downloaded this. It was entertaining, creepy and I did root for the characters.
There was a review on here that said it was sexually explicit....I don't know what book she was reading but I didn't think any of this book sexually inappropriate. And what sex there was was important to the story.

Download it, I liked it, a good listen, good narrator and I will definately buy his second when it comes out.
a.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Loved it

I don't understand the negative critics, it might not be the kind of book that everyone loves, but it definitely is a great book, I am hoping for a sequel. As for adjusting to the accent (???) come on...there is absolutely no problem with the accent, the reader speaks clearly and is very easy to understand.

I highly recommend this book as it has lots of twists and turns and the end is very interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Donna
  • Queensland, Australia
  • 07-13-10

Very Enjoyable

I've not heard of this author before, but I'd love to get my hands on anything else he's written after hearing this book. His story is easy to get into, well-written, and each time I had to turn it off to do other things, I was always thinking about it and trying to figure out when I'd be able to listen to more. This was my first selection after joining, and I'm very, very happy with it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Abri
  • LonehillSouth Africa
  • 06-05-10

The Awesome path

This is serious edge of your seat stuff. Well written and read, and there is never a dull moment during this novel.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Yawn...

Would you try another book from Stephen M. Irwin and/or Michael Carman?

Nope.

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen M. Irwin again?

Nope.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No.

Any additional comments?

After really trying to get into this book I have to give up after 2 hours. It's just blah and boring.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Read

Good book, it was similar to The Broken Ones but I liked that book also. I'm glad I took a chance on Stephen Irwin.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very Good - Not for children though

Any additional comments?

The story keeps moving and is consistently interesting. Despite the synopsis, seeing the dead isn't actually the main point of the story - and has no resolution. It's more of black arts tale. <br/><br/> My only complaints are some unnecessary detail towards bodily functions - and it's not really a lot - and the last couple of lines of the book. VAGUE-SPOILER: the last few lines after the real closure of the story appear to have been thrown in at the last minute, as they don't really line up with what you've learned about the story world. It also appears to be an attempt to give the story the traditional negative ending that most horror stories have.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Karen
  • 10-06-13

very good

Any additional comments?

Didnt think I would like listening to an Australian narrating (Not because I dont like Australians I think they are great) but I found Michael carmans voice to be very engaging with good characterisation. I love supernatural tales and this was very good moving along at a good pace One thing I have never read a book in which so many people threw up in the characters were doing it all the time (Prehaps the nora virus was doing the rounds!) I felt it did seem to get over zealous towards the end with the supernatural stuff but overall it was very good with a twist that I never saw coming

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J
  • 07-01-13

Brilliant!

Would you listen to The Dead Path again? Why?

I would definitely listen to this again - the story was gripping and unusual, full of unexpected turns.

What other book might you compare The Dead Path to, and why?

This reminded me of Stephen King at his best.

Have you listened to any of Michael Carman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

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

No

Any additional comments?

I had expected a murder mystery with some supernatural twists, but this was so much more - unexpectedly brilliant.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • jennifer
  • 04-07-12

The Dead Path

Great creepy ghost story,i often used to think how good it would be to see the dead,but after listening to this story i take it all back!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • knittyboot
  • 06-01-11

Brilliant book!

Writing horror books or supernatural thrillers I've always thought must be really difficult. How do you come up the new ideas? In this book Mr. Irwin solves the problem by using a very old idea, won't tell you what it is because I don't want ruin the story. Suffice to say he has created an eerie story that I’ve listened to over and over. Apart from the quite horrible Irish accent that pops up occasionally the narration is great. If you like Stephen King you'll probably like this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • christian
  • 10-26-13

Unexpectedly good

Any additional comments?

This is a quite competent horror thriller, with good characters, an interesting storyline, an unexpected enemy. The style is competent, even though the author repeatedly uses metaphors and similes that one can get tired of. It has some gruesome descriptions, really horrific moments ( no-one is spared...), and good dialogue with some humorous moments. It manages to be elegiac and somber at times, amidst the general gruesomeness... and though I have read and heard quite a few audiobooks... I did not see the twist in the end coming. A twist which sent chills through me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • dawn
  • 11-11-14

The creepiest book since forever.......!

What made the experience of listening to The Dead Path the most enjoyable?

From the first bit I was hooked - cant tell you more without spoilers.....well written and very descriptive. Fantastic

What other book might you compare The Dead Path to, and why?

Christine - Stephen King - the only other book ever to make me feel scared stupid

Have you listened to any of Michael Carman’s other performances? How does this one compare?

first time - it is good. Actually it makes it less scary as I dont find his accent to sinister.<br/>

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

dont watch alone - and dont go to the bleedy woods anymore.

Any additional comments?

If you like the books I have enjoyed, Duma Key, The Stand, The Passage, American Gods, Shining etc (in no particular order) try this - you will not be sorry.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mrs J Greenhalgh
  • 09-07-14

fabulously creepy

Would you consider the audio edition of The Dead Path to be better than the print version?

havent read the print version

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dead Path?

the book was filled with them, so hard to narrow it down to one.

What about Michael Carman’s performance did you like?

he made the story feel very atmospheric.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

if you go down to the woods today

Any additional comments?

superb book and narration, the story took me back to childhood at times, and all the things that terrified me.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • sarahmoose2000
  • 12-13-13

Gah! Freakout

Give me vampires, werewolves etc and I'm fine; but give me a ghost and I revert to a shivering five year old!

Nicholas keeps seeing ghosts in the woods next to his childhood home. Something is leaving Blair Witch-stlye effigies for unsuspecting children and Nicholas keeps reliving their terrifying deaths.

What do his sister and mum really know? Does the local old granny/witch have anything to do with it?