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Publisher's Summary

A dense black cloud boiled up in the southeastern sky. It rose high and fast, like a time-lapse movie of the birth of a thunderhead. But it was no rain cloud. Wholly black, it reached up and up until it loomed over her, blocking out the sun. Somehow, she knew, it was Death coming for her.

Pre-med student Coral is on vacation in Idaho when something terrible happens. The black cloud is followed by a wildfire and searing heat that lasts for days. She survives deep in a cave but emerges days later to find the world transformed, with blackened trees, an ash-filled sky, and no living creatures stirring - except for her.

So begins her desperate journey to find water and food and other survivors...and the answer to the mystery of what happened.

Note: This is a combined edition of Gray I, Gray II, and Gray III.

©2017 Lou Cadle (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,942
  • 4 Stars
    915
  • 3 Stars
    282
  • 2 Stars
    70
  • 1 Stars
    45

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,127
  • 4 Stars
    703
  • 3 Stars
    183
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    26

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,731
  • 4 Stars
    879
  • 3 Stars
    304
  • 2 Stars
    86
  • 1 Stars
    60
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story - Superb Value

When comparing entertainment value to story length, Gray: The Complete Collection cannot be beat. Being kind of cheap, I prefer spending credits on longer books, and this was a 24 hour listen fest that I simply could not put down. The combined talents of Lou Cadle and Lauren Fortgang ensured I wasn't disappointed.

For 2017, I've been binge listening to Post Apocalyptic books, and this book is right up there with the best of them. For me, plausibility is a big deal - I like real people solving real problems. I think the author did a great job creating believable situations that held my interest. This is also the first Post Apocalyptic book I've read that was written from the perspective of a woman. Many of the scenes involve her struggling with self-doubts, but always becoming the strong woman at the right time. This may sound tedious, but I felt the way it was written helped embellish the storyline. Some may also feel that the main characters were a bit too lucky, but in this new World you make your own luck, and that's what they did. Overcoming one obstacle after another as the World grew ever bleaker truly holds your interest.

Please don't be put off by my 4 star review. This book is well written and highly entertaining, which most people value (I certainly do). To get a 5th star, a book has to have meaningfulness - it has to make me think. While Gray has some thought provoking situations, at the end of the day, it's a standard overcome all odds type of book. Lauren Fortgang is also, by far, the best female narrator I've listened to; able to read multiple male and female characters equally well. So, if you like the Post Apocalyptic Genre without any zombies, then Gray: The Complete Collection is definitely one that needs to be in your Audible Library.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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

Promising but ultimately tedious

The author is truly compelling when writing about the nitty gritty of survival in this post-apocalyptic future. This is most of the first 2/3 of the book. But whenever the plot takes us beyond that into some society it falls apart and becomes cartoonish, almost laughably so. There's no nuance to the secondary characters and antagonists, they are straw men that the main characters can judge, defeat and leave behind. It gets very tedious. And by the end I was so sick of the holier-than-thou attitude of the main characters that I was eager to end the whole thing. In fact I didn't bother with the last hour because it was so annoying and boring. The narration is actually solid throughout, better than the story deserved.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

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

Long Slow Burn

If you have an extremely long wait to see the cardiologist and want to fill the time without raising your heart rate a single beat just fire up this audiobook and you're all set.

The story just slowly steadily and painstakingly smoldered to its "dawn of a new day" conclusion. It was like asking someone for the time and, in response, they built a clock for you in slow motion. The story was not bad, despite loose ends throughout, it just unfolded very very slowly.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

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

Something new in the Apocalypse genre!

One of my favorite books is The Road and many of my book loving friends would call it slow. I found it intense and so beautifully written that I often forgot to breath while listening. The book Gray many would consider a slow book too it is also based on character development and not constant action. For me I found the Gray compelling and always engrossing. I couldn’t wait until I could listen again after work. It is what I call a treasure hunting book in an apocalyptic world, my favorite. I love scavenging, persevering and never giving up hope. I am excited when they find a can of meat or a bottle of medicine that allows them to live one more day. The main characters often do things that I would not have done (I’m more blood thirsty) but I was alright with the decisions because it was more realistic. There were things that bothered me like everyone pretty much being evil and scientific things that would not be true. Even those things did not distract me from loving this book. There are many action packed exciting parts of the book but it is not a constant ongoing part. The book is based on regular everyday people and not the military or super hero’s doing unbelievable things. I rarely give a five star to a book for me what it means is 1. I will go to the author’s web-site 2. I will buy other books by this author 3. I will listen to this book more than once 4. I will tell others about it

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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

Could have been 1/3 the length.

Nice writing. Good story- but could have been written in 1/3 the amount. This book did not contain 24 hours worth of story-more tedious detail than I prefer.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Was Loathe To Put It Down!

This is one of THE very few audio books I had to listen to straight through. The first chapter ran a bit slow, but I stuck with it and soon enough I had headphones plugged in and had my Kindle tucked under my arm as I cooked dinner, washed dishes, exercised and even used the restroom while listening.

I did sleep for 4 hours, but since my Kindle has a sleep timer on it, I only had to back up 23 minutes or so when I woke up. I know! I sound so pathetic! But this plot was very well written and the narrator did a heck of a job bringing this story to life so....

I regret nothing.

It DOES beg the questions, though: In such a situation, where there are no answers as to what can cause the world to physically flip flop to the extreme unknown, who can you trust? How does one survive when they are ill-prepared for such an extended and volatile event? Where do you draw the line of humanity when very decision means life or death?

I purchased this book outright.
I was not disappointed.

58 of 64 people found this review helpful

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

Best value for money in a long time!

There is certainly a lot to like about this one. Firstly, the author creates the perfect amount of tension through developing characters who are just ordinary people and putting them in an extra ordinary situation. The tension is further developed through the plot itself, the overall reason for disaster and the way some characters respond to the disaster. It all helps creates a level of realism which made me wonder... what I would be like in this situation?

Secondly, there is nothing to complain about in regards to sound quality and the quality of the narration. Maybe, slightly slow... I sped it up a notch to 1.25x speed, but I might have done that because I was so eager to hear the story.

Thirdly, and most importantly I finished this one with a good deal of satisfaction, knowing that I had received excellent value for money... it is over 24 hours in length!

Lastly, I know this probably won't happen. But it is possible for this story to continue. I really hope the author does. I would even pre order a copy! Please don't take this point to mean that I was not happy with the ending and or that it leaves you hanging waiting for an incomplete story to finish. Because it isn't like that all!

In summary, I am happy that I brought this one as opposed to my usual zombie genre. The world’s fastest fat man is giving this two thumbs up and a very long and cheerful 'heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey'

PS. Some people have tracked me on the good old inter webs and asked if I receive free copies of the titles I review, or if I get paid for reviews. I can say beyond any shadow of doubt, the answer is no I have not. Some authors have offered, but I have said no.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I missed something.

Many reviews gush over this series. I guess I am missing whatever they experience, but I found it boring, repetitive, predictable, and repetitive. And it keeps presenting the same ideas over and over.

The narrator presented the information acceptably, but is not my favorite in the audible stable.

Mr. Stephen King’s “The Stand” is the ultimate example of this genre. Against that carbon arc lamp, this one casts but a feeble glimmer.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ungodly repetitive

If hearing about how hard finding food or water in a post apocalyptic world is over and over and over for hours on end with sporadic bouts with crazy or fanatical people thrown in is excitement for you. This is definitely the book for you. It started out promising in the first few chapters but then falls flat on it's face by not moving on to new subjects in the story line

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Blah.com

This book is full of so many irrelevant details it is exhausting. The story is a snails pace. The one thing I did love was the narrator, she is the only reason I finished it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Erika
  • 09-13-17

Captivating disaster survival story

Would you listen to Gray again? Why?

Yes, definitely. This writer creates a compelling narrative that keeps the reader's attention. The characters have personality that I could relate to, although as a work of fiction the writer does take some liberties with caricature. I loved the excitement and mystery concerning what had caused the event that now appeared to disrupt perhaps most of the world. We still don't know how much of the world was affected. I will look for more books by this writer.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Gray?

The book had many memorable and exciting moments and to state them might spoil the story for the next reader. The characters' struggle for survival following the event, was it nuclear or was it some natural disaster event, the characters didn't know to begin with, and it's only hinted at. The reader draws a conclusion on what may have caused the event.

What does Lauren Fortgang bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The best thing about an audio book is that you can get on with chores whilst listening. The narrator had a pleasant voice and an accent that I found comfortable to my English ear. An American accent, but not an overly strong accent. An American accent was appropriate for this book, as events are based in the USA.

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

Oh I wish some producer would. The earth burned.

Any additional comments?

I really recommend this book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • S. Ascough
  • 12-02-17

A bleak apocolypse

Did you read The Road and think it was just too cheerful? Then this is the book for you!
This is a remarkably bleak apocolypse - unlike most end of the world scenarios there's almost nothing left just lying around for the survivors to utilise. This is a gripping story of survival with an excellent narrator.
I dropped a couple of stars, as occasionally I felt there was too little curiosity by the characters about certain situations. This was obviously essential to keeping the sense of mystery, but wasn't that well written, and strained credulity too much.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ourson
  • 02-16-18

Survival in an ice age

Different from other survivalist fiction, this book leaves our protaganists searching for food and signs of life follwing an event which sends the world into a new ice age. The characters were rounded enough to make you care about what happens to them and the story was believable. Of all the things that could bring an end to the human race, this is the one that is the most scary and I wouldn't want to survive in this land.....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • john
  • 01-19-18

Gray it was not

I found this book far. from gray it was a fantastic trilogy I enjoyed every word
and performance was second to none

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-18

Pure addiction

Great story that develops and twist all the way through. Very thought provoking as to what you would do when the day comes!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 07-27-18

Posibly the best and deepest story I have read.

Deep characters, and through it all I allways felt close to them. As others have pointed out, this is a grim story and not one time did I think that corners where cut, or compromises made, or that the feelings where overplayed. It kept me up during nights and I overslept a couple of times during this last month, but it was worth it.

If you enjoy tales of the human condition, the philosophy of our nature and life itself, then don't hesitate, just buy this book and enrich your life with this tale.

(And please excuse any spelling-errors I may have made. English is not my first language and it's 4:17 AM as I am whriting this.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aoife C.
  • 07-23-18

Bleak and briliant

If you enjoy 'end of world'/apocolapse stories then this book is for you. I imagine it's not too far from the mark and it's both bleak and chilling, with a dash of hope mixed in. The very worst and best of human nature. Very enjoyable listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • HughesyMK
  • 06-05-18

Struggled to get through three chapters

I might be being harsh here but with very little character introduction and a storyline that would appear to be full of holes, even after an hour's listening, I just couldn't stomach any more, especially with the narrator drawl.
I always knew I was a bit different, but I honestly don't understand how this is so highly rated unless it dramatically improves in time. It would have to be some improvement though, as what I heard was truly ghastly. #refund

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gilly
  • 02-15-18

Good

Would you consider the audio edition of Gray to be better than the print version?

Ive never read the print version of the grey, bought this on a hunch

What other book might you compare Gray to, and why?

No other ive read

What three words best describe Lauren Fortgang’s performance?

Little bit roboty

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Iain
  • 12-19-17

Not a bad read

I did enjoy this book, it was very easy to listen to but I feel the ending seemed a bit rushed, like the author got bored and just wanted to finish it in a hurry.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • 09-23-17

Very Entertaining Story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'm not sure. Although I really enjoyed this book, I can see how others might not enjoy it for all the reasons I did. It certainly wasn't edge of your seat fiction, and I could put it down and go back to it without too much drama. I liked it's steady pace and thorough descriptions, its characters and how they survived.

What other book might you compare Gray to, and why?

I haven't listed to any other books like Gray, however since I enjoyed it so much I have now purchased another book dealing with survival which I am really looking forward to listening too.

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

Not yet

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

Not really, it didn't seem to be that type of book. It was more thought provoking.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lauren
  • 09-08-17

As fun as watching two people starve in real time.

I'll be honest i only made it 5 hours into this, when i saw there were 20 hours to go i gave up. I'm a long-distance driver and i love audiobooks, best thing to keep me awake plus i get to read at work. But i just couldn't slog through this one, i figure 5 hours is enough time to get me hooked. I saw one reviewer described it as Walking Dead without the zombies and they are right although they meant it positively and i don't. It's literally someone stumbling around the wasteland getting hungrier and hungrier encountering issues. Maybe it picks up, maybe it's the most amazing reveal as to the cause of the apocalypse but i'll never know.
If you liked The Road i'm sure you'll love this but it was too dull to keep me awake.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-21-17

Average

This book had a great story line but that was about it. The different voices were hard to distinguish from each other and they spoke like eeyore! It took forever to move on, and the characters questioning of everything was boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Petra
  • 08-20-17

Suspenseful reading

Great book, little slow at times but it did continue to build suspense rather than giving all the answers up front.

Good characters and not Disneyland-like but also not too gruesome

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-20-18

great story

once you start you need to finish and once you finish you wish there was more great book

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • HarperSeed
  • 10-13-17

Gets a bit boring

The first book was ok however buy the second it had become a bit tedious. When the religious woman raping cult turned up I was completely turned off.