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Publisher's Summary

Ben McKelvie believes he's moving up in the world when he and his fiancée buy a house in the cushy Washington, DC, suburb of Barcroft. Instead he's moving down - way down - thanks to Madeleine Roux, the crazy neighbor whose vermin-infested property is a permanent eyesore and looming hazard to public health.

First Ben's fiancée leaves him; then his dog dies, apparently killed by a predator drawn into Barcroft by Madeleine's noxious menagerie. But the worst is yet to come for Ben, for he's not dealing with any ordinary wild animal. This killer is something much, much worse. Something that couldn't possibly exist - in this world.

Now, as a devilish creature stalks the locals, Ben resolves to take action. With some grudging assistance from a curator at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and the crackpot theories of a self-styled cryptozoologist, he discovers the sinister truth behind the attacks, but knowing the Beast of Barcroft and stopping it are two different animals.

©2015 Bill Schweigart (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[A] swift and breezy suburban creature feature." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    25
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Story

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

A wonderful surprise

when I got this book I was expecting an average"monster" book. the fact that it was was also apparently the author's first novel did not inspire me either.

I was very happily surprised. the story moved quickly and kept me guessing all along. the characters were authentic and believable.

in fact, I immediately bought the author's second novel and preordered the third.

in short, I very much enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Beast and Northwoods

These comments address two audiobooks by Bill Schweigart released by Tantor Audio in late 2016. The Beast of Barcroft is about seven hours in length, Northwoods just over ten. Both are narrated by Will Damron.

Didn’t like: Narration is laboriously slow, ergo set Audible application to 1.5 - normal speed, in addition to Damron’s soft voice, will put you to sleep regardless of scary moments. Although there’s little trouble discerning who-is-speaking-to-who, there isn’t a uniqueness to voices. They all sound similar, male/female. Plots are not very creative. In Beasts, an unknown, but scary, creature is terrifying a small town and good guys figure it out. In Northwoods, the same batch of good guys save the day again from an equally scary creature.

Liked: The ‘hide-under-the-covers’ moments. If you like the horror story genre, these fit the bill - shape-shifting, ferocious coyotes and wolves and hyenas, bloody zombies, glowing-eyes traverse the pages. Action scenes are exciting.
That said, some imagery is a bit confusing. The literary visions of Schweigart leave the reader to imagine quite a bit. In the horror genre, sometimes this isn’t all bad.

The books are not identified as a series - although they should be; there is no doubt you should read Beasts first. There is also no doubt there will be subsequent novels, as book two - Northwoods - ends abruptly with the line “We’re going to Jersey.” No spoilers - but, guess that’s a hint?

No gratuitous sex, some language issues but very rare and none inappropriate to the circumstance or character.

Recommended only those who enjoy horror stories.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

A little too sci-fi

I was originally going to buy Northwoods by the same author, but after reading the reviews I decided I would buy this one first, since reviewers mentioned the context would help. Since I wanted a mystery I decided to by Beast of Barecroft first. I felt it was a bit too fantastical and Sci-fi for my liking. I did not care for the narrator's style. Every sentence was spoken in an ominous tone; it felt overdone. I did not care for the story much either. I don't think I will purchase the Northwoods.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Just Bearable

This author was really pissed off at women when he wrote this book. He makes every female character appear either selfish and self-centered or whining and definitely stupidly​ angry. The story is OK and the narrator is very good. I recommend this audiobook but be warned about all the female characters.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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

Surprised

Surprise me. At first I thought this was going to be one of those stories where the beast turns out to be something about mutant raccoons or horses of rats destroying the town. No, it grew into something better. Could develop it more, you know, less personal introspection and more story line.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Bottom line, I liked it. But.....

It has the most unlikeable protagonist I have ever had the displeasure of spending a book with. I love a good creature feature however, and the book certainly delivers there. The dialogue is painful at times, though to be honest, I wonder how much that had to do with the narrator. He spit the words out with such venom that I began to think that the characters weren't capable of civil conversation. The author also has a flimsy grasp, and clear disdain for law enforcement. I was entertained for the most part, and will give the next book in the series a try.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Meh

I didn't like it. Just powered thru to the end hoping it would get better. It didn't . Will return it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Wow, that many positive reviews?

What disappointed you about The Beast of Barcroft?

It intrigued me initially, and the narration started out passable, but about an three hours into the story I could take no more.

What was most disappointing about Bill Schweigart’s story?

Parts of the story where the author decided the need to have an insignificant side story about a particular character. Perhaps this was intended for character development, but often stunted the pace of the story and added very little to the characters' themselves.

Would you be willing to try another one of Will Damron’s performances?

Female voices weak and stereo-typed. General characterizations weak overall. No, I'll pass.

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

Story line, as others mentioned, was like a bad X-Files episode. The prose was ok, but there were lots of poor similes, metaphors and adjectives that left me rolling my eyes.

Any additional comments?

I hate to give bad reviews about anyone's personal creative work. I'm not a professional writer as you can see. However, I've been listening to audiobooks for over 15 years, and this one simply didn't work. Had I read the book, I probably would have finished it, but there's no motivation to continue to the next novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Magnifique

A delightful find... It's an imaginative thriller w/ kinda a drive-in/X Files feel, but more real people in unreal situations than unreal in unreal ones... The entire story has a crafty, and often subtle, attention to detail adding authenticity and color to an already engaging yarn/plot... Some nice science looking at the encroachment of ecosystems, and the whole suburban wilderness thing works well presenting stellar imagery and settings... Chills, humor, and some creative monster making, w/ tasty flavorings of the preternatural... Woven throughout is a touching glimpse into the relationships between fathers and sons... Many will find themselves thinking of Dad, often w/ a smile... The action and pace are outstanding, and I feel like a kid that just discovered a new favorite candy and am about to gobble down some more w/ the second book... Narration is good, if a smidge on the slow side, and this is absolutely, no doubt about it,put it in the bank, worth the credit!!!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Good Story idea - bad story telling.

Writers in general, and Bill Schweigart specifically, should NOT make jokes of the horror in his own story.
WHY?
Don’t ruin the tale by letting us know that you, the writer are smart, and understand this is just a silly story. The tale shouldn’t be taken too seriously. That it’s so silly it’s worthy of making fun of.
This act of putting jokes into a horror story stops the action.
It kills the sense of suspense.
It destroys the suspension of disbelief.

The Beast of Barcroft will never become a classic novel. It’ll will have a short life-span as in the grocery store paper-back rack.

Why do the characters in this Horror novels so often act like A-holes?
They’re selfish, mean spirited, disbelieving, argumentative, uncooperative.

They behave extremely un-helpful joining in any group action against the monster.
They argue at the worst time, such as while the creature is attacking them.

Why do the characters in this horror novels decide to do completely stupid things?
Writers, like Bill Schweigart, are LAZY and won’t do the hard work of writing it correctly. Having the tale make sense.

Often a mediocre writer, like Mr. Schweigart, doesn’t really know how to get his characters from one plot-point to another. So Bill will force his characters into annoying ridiculous actions. It’s too hard to come up with better more real acting people, and have them behave realistically. Make them cool, neat and smart and nice. They should be some one you can root for.

I wanted the monster to kill the lead character, and most of the rest of the idiots in The Beast of Barcroft by the middle of the book. I hated them.

Sad, after Bill Schweigart came up with a really great story idea. A awesome monster. A great place to have the tale happen. He obviously did a lot of research.

But, Bill Schweigart dropped the ball.