Swift to Chase

A Collection of Stories
Narrated by: Karin Allers
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Introduction by Paul Tremblay.

Publishers Weekly top 10 list for most anticipated horror/sci-fi fall 2016 releases.

Laird Barron’s fourth collection gathers a dozen stories set against the backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness, far-future dystopias, and giallo-fueled nightmare vistas.

All hell breaks loose in a massive apartment complex when a modern day Jack the Ripper strikes under cover of a blizzard; a woman, famous for surviving a massacre, hits the road to flee the limelight and finds her misadventures have only begun; while tracking a missing B-movie actor, a team of man hunters crashes in the Yukon Delta and soon realize the Arctic is another name for hell; an atomic-powered cyborg war dog loyally assists his master in the overthrow of a far-future dystopian empire; following an occult initiation ritual, a man is stalked by a psychopathic sorority girl and her team of horrifically disfigured henchmen; a rich lunatic invites several high school classmates to his mansion for a night of sex, drugs, and CIA-funded black ops experiments; and other glimpses into occulted realities a razor’s slice beyond our own.

Combining hard-boiled noir, psychological horror, and the occult, Swift to Chase continues three-time Shirley Jackson Award winner Barron’s harrowing inquiry into the darkness of the human heart.

©2016 Laird Barron (P)2018 Journalstone Publishing

What listeners say about Swift to Chase

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

Poor Narration

I'm not sure I can get through this book with narration this bad, and I love Laird Barron's work. I listen to books while I'm doing daily tasks. I have attention deficit. Therefore, it's important that the narration keep my attention. Why the reading is done so poorly is baffling to me. I lost the thread of whole stories due to Karin Allers's clear, but flat and monotonous reading. She doesn't act out the characters, she never changes cadence or tone. After a while, you know, word-for-word, tone-for-tone, what her inflection will be, so you stop listening. Judging by her consistency and tone quality, she's perfectly able to read this better. Presumably, the producers of the collection (and perhaps the author himself) must've listened to this and pronounced it okay.. Therefore, the only likely explanation I have is she was instructed to read it exactly this way. Why? It's a major artistic blunder. Instead, narrate Barron's stories the way they were read in "The Imago Sequence," or in Ellen Datlow's best horror volumes. If I ever finish this book, I'll revise this review.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Variety of voices with no character

I adore Laird Barons stories and this collection, but the voice actor was very disappointing. While she can do a range of accents and genders woth out feeling forced, the lack of emotion makes it hard to enjoy a story or feel any connection to a character. She reads a character's reaction to being attacked by a monster with the same monotony as listing a grocery list. Read the stories yourself or wait until it's narrated by someone else.

3 people found this helpful

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Poor Narration

I just can't get past the monotonous narration of this audiobook. Barron writes excellent fiction, I have listened to his stories in Ellen Datlow's series Best Horror of the Year and wanted to try his full collections out. I think this would be a good read, but these are loosely connected stories and I literally can't keep track of where we are occasionally because the narrator is so one-note emotionally. It's all read dry and deadpan. I'm going to pick up the ebook and perhaps revisit this to update the story review specifically, normally Barron's stories would earn 5 stars from me. But this production makes it hard to feel the shape of everything. I wonder if that was the voice direction, to execute it like it was being read to you as if in a room by a friend? Regardless, they really missed the mark.

2 people found this helpful

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Laird Barron’s 4th Short Story Collection Delivers

In the last ~20 years, Laird Barron has been the most significant, iconic, and downright impressive writer operating within the (until recently) narrow confines of the literary Horror genre. In the first 10 years of the 21st century, Barron had already published two short story collections – both of which won the Shirley Jackson Award for best single author collection – as well as two novels, (The Light Is The Darkness & The Croning; the latter being nominated for its own share of awards, mind). In his first two collections, (The Imago Sequence & Occultation), Laird Barron created his own Mythos and it’s important to recognize how truely unique it is to see these days – much less to see it done so masterfully, again something that Barron has somehow accomplished so well he makes it seem easy. The overwhelming of majority of burgeoning writers with a heap of potential & promise never even attempt to create their own fictionaly playground; sadly, many a talented writer is all too content to play it safe by instead writing their stories to work – if not directly within the Lovecraftian Mythos, then at least tangentially – by including a few winks & elbow nudges to the ever-present (and always insufferable) readers who, for reasons beyond my understanding, still think that H.P.L. is the “end all be all” authority on Horror fiction. Putting aside the fact that, yes, there are of course a bunch of people who would say that Stephen King is more influential in terms of 20th century Horror authors, King never has once been considered a Horror writer – he’s a mainstream author, like Dean Koontz or Dan Brown, who had a lot of success from film adaptations in the 70’s and 80’s of his earlier work that veered into the Horror, but King is always most comfortable when he’s firmly rooted in the fantastical...(and, uh, lots of drugs, and apparently no interest in writing fulfilling resolutions to his stories, but I digress...). So it’s the 21st century. Enter Laird Barron. It’s about 2002 and his short story, “Shiva, Open Your Eye,” hits the interweb forums and is nominated for every award under the sun. Notable editors of the genre like Gordan Van Gelder, Ellen Datlow, and Stephen Jones all turn their heads and take notice. In every subsequent year since, a new Barron story was featured in at least one of Datlow’s annually curated Horror anthologies, and the at-the-time-new-publishing-company “Nightshade” releases “The Imago Sequence,” in 2007 and “Occultation” in 2010. By then, the literary horror community from writers to editors to readers have all taken notice, and when his third collection, “The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All,” hits the shelves, any discussion regarding who the heir apparent to literary Horror would be was rendered immediately moot: Who else could even come close? So if you’re scouting this fourth collection from Laird Barron as a prospective customer, you at least know his name, and you should be very familiar with his published works – otherwise you’re sorely missing out. Let me get this out of the way though: Yes, SWIFT TO CHASE does not stay firmly under a single dark cloud of horror the way his previous collections do. Instead, Barron has cleverly constructed new stories that pack the same amount of dread & cosmic horror, but he’s also evolved quite strongly such that he’s now capable of springing his traps for the reader and before you’re able to realize you’re firmly invested & ensared in these tales, he’s already fled the scene and it’s your job to pick up the pieces. Barron’s collections have always been discussive by design; The Imago Sequence being one of my favorite to re-visit for its self-reflexive qualities alone. There’s a lot of rewarding Easter eggs to be found if you want to put in the work, but if not, his stories are always entertaining without even considering the supplimental materials bleeding through the edges of the page. So regardless of whatever blurb you’ve read by S.T. Joshi, (a well-established academic who – quite literally – worships at the alter of Howard Lovecraft’s 100+ year old fantasy stories where the monsters are people from other ethnic backgrounds or cultures), Laird Barron IS the big deal that you’ve been hearing about. But hey, don’t take it just from me: T.E.D. Klein, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, Glen Hirshberg, Joe Hill, Gemma Files, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and many more have all said it. “Out there is a relative term; it’s closer than you might think. Oh my, the great Dark is only as far away as your closet when you kill the light...as your reflection when it thinks you aren’t looking. Bye bye, and see you soon!”