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Tamer Animals

Narrated by: Ryan Drean
Series: Tamer Animals, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was just a camping trip.   

Down by the old Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge, four high school friends only wanted to kick back, smoke some weed, and forget about their problems for a day or two. Sure, there were stories that the area was haunted, but there was no way they were true.   

It was just a local legend.   

Decades earlier, an old goat farmer had been murdered by the Klan, hung from a tree near the bridge solely because of the color of his skin. His body was never found. Since then, numerous sightings of a strange creature - half-man and half-goat - had been reported in the surrounding woods. He was called the Goatman.   

It was just the worst night of their lives.

From the moment they arrived, strange noises echoed around them.... A sense they were being watched pervaded the campsite...and that was just the beginning. When one of them vanishes and a horned monstrosity pursues the others, it becomes clear that the legends are real...and the truth is so much more horrific than they could ever have imagined. 

©2018 Bloodshot Books (P)2018 Justin M. Woodward

Critic Reviews

"Justin M. Woodward isn't playing around - this is a terrifying descent into depravity." (Jeff Strand, author of Sick House)

“Dark, twisted, and full of surprises.” (Duncan Ralston, author of WOOM and Salvage)   

“Woodward is the kind of dick who invites himself into your nightmares, and Tamer Animals is the key he uses to open the door.” (J. Z. Foster, author of The Wicked Ones and Witch Hunter

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

Do you know where that steak came from?

TAMER ANIMALS by Justin M. Woodward is part TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, part WRONG TURN, all fast-paced fun.

A group of teenagers fake going on a church youth trip and instead go camping in some woods where there are legends of evil and a mysterious "goat-man". In short order after arriving, things start going bad. Their friend disappears, their vehicle is run into the river, the little brother of one of the boys vanishes. And there's a strange family whose hospitality is weakly masking a demented blood lust. Meanwhile, a strange young man with unexplainable abilities knows something is wrong and is trying to get the Sherriff involved to help.

I recently read THE VARIANT by this same author, and that one had more of a sci-fi slant to it with elements of horror. This story is much more firmly in the horror genre with a cannibalistic family and some horrific torture and dismemberments, not to mention the demonic goat-man. But it has a hint of the sci-fi slant of the other book, and the author cleverly weaves a crossover of the two books into the story, one you'll instantly recognize if you've read his previous work, even though this is a stand-alone story of its own.

The narrator does an excellent job bringing the story to life.

This is a no-brainer if you like backwoods hillbillies who enjoy carving up and eating people. And it gets more twisted and demented than even that, but I'll leave you to discover it on its own. If you haven't read THE VARIANT yet, I'd recommend checking it out first so you see the clever crossover, though it isn't really necessary. You just won't know you're missing it. At any rate, this one was fun, fast, and a great read, easily finished in 2-3 sittings at most. I'm calling this one a home run.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Never sleep again!

An adventure is to be had near the old Coheelee Creek covered bridge but only for those who are strong at heart and fearless. Seeking to escape their parents for a weekend, explore the urban myth and be teenage boys, Patrick, John, Tim, and Dean set out for the haunted bridge. Unbeknownst to them, Patrick’s young brother, Sam, is a stowaway.

A masterful storyteller, Justin Woodward sets out to grab the reader’s heartstrings and their own experiences to bind them to the characters in the story. Taking the boys home lives, their personalities and exposing them for all to see, the listener cannot help but connect to the boys.

Woodward paralyzes his readers with the gore, the ensuing and horrendous terror as well as the feeling of losing someone close. Long after the last breath is spoken, the listener will be haunted by the story for days afterward.

Fast moving and gory, Woodward spins his tale. He is very adept at keeping the listener off-keel as he throws in several twists. This is a horrifying story (cannot be said enough!). The number of different nightmares that are far reaching is amazing! Parents wondering if their kid is going to sneak off somewhere dangerous, their car is smashed, someone dies, someone goes missing, lies are told, trust is broken and if that’s not enough … guilt. Most of the instances in Woodward’s book is based on realistic situations which result in a horrifying conclusion and could saddle any parent with tons of guilt.

It should be noted that the book itself is short; 5 hours 3 minutes long. However, the amount of horror captured in this coming of age story is amazing!

The narrator, Ryan Drean, was very good. He injected levels of emotion that moved the book and listeners to the right place. He brought the characters to life through his talented voices. Very well done!

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook. However, there were some issues with my sleep patterns after hearing this book!

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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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
  • Jason
  • Sacramento, CA
  • 09-22-18

Exciting and adventurous coming of age story.

Tamer Animals was very well written and well paced. Creepy and haunting, the story takes us through the last days of a small group of friends who encounter something haunting the woods where they are camping. the story premise may sound simple, but the writing is superb and the characters leap off the pages (or out of the speakers in this case). we learn about each character and their individual reasoning for wanting to go on this camping trip through a series of vignette style pieces. They all come together and the story just builds from there. the forest and the Goatman are very creepy and vividly laid out. Not a slow moment in the story. Highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories and good haunting horror stories.

Ryan Drean's narration was superb as well. The characters come alive and you can feel for the anguish and the horror they are going through.

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

Truly Horrific

I kept describing this book to my husband as "The Body" meets "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and I see I'm not alone in my thinking. This is a truly horrific read yet it's not gratuitous and the characters are all well developed, relatable and very real. Ryan Drean does an excellent job of bringing each person to life.

It's hard to describe the story without spoilers so I'll just say that I wanted to keep listening even if it meant losing sleep because the book pulled me in and kept me enthralled. The writing is so good and the performance on audio only enhances the story. Don't miss out on this great "read".

I received a free copy for my honest opinion and I'm so glad I was one of the lucky ones chosen to experience this wonderful five hour journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KD
  • Somewhere
  • 08-13-18

no spoilers

Honestly I had no idea what this book was about when I started listening.. was not expecting to be scared out of my wits.

Great book short and sweet I just finished with the outsiders from King and this books gives me some king vibes

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wow

Great plot with a few unexpected turns. The ending is different to what you expect early on in the story. Having already read The Variant by Justin Woodward this shows how much he's grown as a writer. I will be reading Candy at some point soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Gruesome, gory, and poorly written

First of all: "This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review."

This is not high-class literature. Nor is it intended to be. But even evaluating it for what it is meant to be, it falls woefully short of being good.

The plot is extremely shallow, more like a bunch of scenes of gore and violence loosely linked together. And the characters are never really developed, especially the evil ones. The flashing back and forth didn't really work for me.

And then there were all the grammatical errors and all the awkward writing. And while SOME over-the-top violence and gore can be excused, the majority of the "shock factor" here was far too unrealistic, even bordering on impossible.

The narrator of the audiobook makes a valiant effort, and does a pretty good job.

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Well done but scary

Unusual story and very scary. The Narration is superb with many characters to represent and no indication of what is coming.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 05-27-19

Stand By Me meets Texas Chainsaw

I received this book free in exchange for an unbiased review.

This was brutal, and I loved it! I’ll admit, it started out a little slow, but when it ramped up it really didn’t let up. Justin Woodward’s story is, dark, gritty, and grimy. If you love that kind of horror like I do, then you’ll love Tamer Animals.

Ryan Drean’s narration was perfect. The narration also took a little while to grow on me, but once we really got into the horror aspects of the story, I was hooked.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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I really liked it!!

Ghost story and realism makes this kinda horrifying. I’m usually pretty good at guessing what will happen but he got me a couple of times. If you like dark fiction this is definitely one to read.