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The Tragedy Man

Narrated by: Andy Garrison
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When his boss was murdered, Cary Bouchard’s life began. 

For years, timid Cary toiled away in a cold cubicle. He had dreams, but not the courage to pursue them. That is, until he lost his job and found his fortune in a most unexpected way. 

Nothing could have prepared Cary for how his life changes: Love, money, and fame come to him all too easily. Soon he’s on TV, signing autographs for legions of fans, in love with a beautiful woman, and buying a Manhattan penthouse. Cary’s newfound confidence and cachet elevates him higher and higher. 

But what goes up must come down. Someone is out for blood. When unspeakable horrors and death start to befall everyone around Cary, everything slips from his grasp. His girlfriend, his fame, and finally...his sanity. All gone. 

A broken man, Cary has nothing to lose as he faces complete oblivion head-on. He does everything he must do in order to uncover the truth about the murder that led to his great fortune. 

But even if he does, will anyone believe him? And can he even trust himself? 

©2012 Staci L. Wilson (P)2018 Staci L. Wilson

Critic Reviews

"Staci Layne Wilson is an expert at creating believable characters, a chilling scenario, and a roller-coaster-ride-of-a-story that doesn't put on the brakes until the very last page." (James Newman, author of Holy Rollers and The Wicked)  

"Staci Layne Wilson has one hell of a book here. It’s a spine tingling story from the very start; exciting, erotic, chilling, horrifying, gruesome...but more than anything, it’s AWESOME. This one I guarantee you will not be able to stop listening to.” (Ruby, Fallen Angels Review)

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

An outstanding thriller! Highly recommended.


There are some readers who will take one look at this book and think, “It’s horror. I’m not gonna bother.” Little do they know that in doing so, they’re behaving exactly like its protagonist Cary Bouchard, a snobbish hack writer who writes horror because it’s the only thing he can get published. Wilson perfectly captures the mind of a man who’s bitter and arrogant, yet meek enough that he can’t express his contempt for nearly everyone around him. Cary is not a narcissist in the stereotypical sense and that’s what makes him such a fascinating character. Part of us takes a certain joy in watching his life and sanity fall apart while the other part roots for him because he’s a lot more like us than we care to admit.

And boy does Cary’s life fall apart! The Tragedy Man starts with a murder in the first chapter and keeps building from there, with things at first getting better then much, much worse for its hero. The urban setting and slow descent into madness and horror merit a comparison with Rosemary’s Baby, but at the same time The Tragedy Man is nothing like that at all. Nothing in the story goes the way you would expect and the ending will floor you the way only true originality can. What makes this book even more impressive is that Wilson is not just a writer: she’s also a filmmaker, a producer, a documentarian, a film critic, and an entertainment reporter who has interviewed many a celebrity. How she finds the time to do all these things so well I have no idea. If there’s truly a renaissance woman of the 21st century, it’s Staci Layne Wilson.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Suspense at it's finest

A surreal and utterly captivating thrill ride that wraps up into a spine-tingling finale. Do NOT miss out on a chance to read this novel. The narration is superb, giving you the eerie sense it is being broadcasted straight from the underworld our beloved main character dwells in. A huge round of applause for Staci Layne Wilson.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

The ending is spectacular.

Cary works at a dreary art gallery and he does not like his boss. He may even wish ill upon him, if only in his thoughts. As he sinks further into his own little world of misery, he daydreams about creative deaths for the jerk in charge of his work life.

When his boss turns up dead, Cary decides he’s going to become an Important Literary Writer of Important and Smart Literary Things. Instead, he sells a pulp horror novel all the while despising himself for writing such drivel and he becomes very successful in spite of himself but his success has a steep price. Cary really should’ve read the contract before signing it . . .

The rest of the book follows the insufferable and always morose Cary as he falls further and further into a fever dream of sex, violence, madness and poor-me-ism.

I liked some of the story even though it’s quite easy to guess at what’s going on here and the terrible images in the latter half had me laughing at Cary’s expense but I did not like a single thing about Cary. He’s a depressing, pompous sad-sack, lacking charm and self-awareness and he is also weak and insecure and has a mommy issue or two. He’s just really douchy, hateful and hard to stomach. I guess I wasn’t supposed to like him but his terrible snobbery and constant jabs at horror fiction made this story a not-so-fun time for me. He and his lover were constantly denigrating the genre I love most in the world, as well as its fans, and I found it all very unpleasant and wished painful death upon him a million times over. But the ending was spectacular so I am torn about a rating. I suspect I’ll go with a three after stewing on it for a bit.

I listened to this story as an unabridged audio and the narrator does a terrific job of bringing Cary’s arrogant and bitter tone to life.

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

Fun but not groundbreaking or amazing

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review of the book.

Overall, I thought this book was fun but otherwise somewhat unremarkable. One of the problems I had with the book is that I did not sympathize with the protagonist almost at all (which may have been the point but which certainly makes it difficult to feel invested in the story or the character arcs). From the beginning, the character was snobby and self-absorbed, and was generally unpleasant. While I've read and enjoyed books with horrid protagonists (see Lev Grossman's THE MAGICIANS trilogy) in the past and enjoyed them, there usually need to be other redeeming qualities of the book in order for me to fully embrace and enjoy the book.

That's not at all to say that this was a horrible book or that I disliked it. I thought it had some fun moments, and I ended up liking the protagonist more as the book went on, but I wasn't blown away by any of it. If you're looking for something a little silly to listen to, give this a try. If you're looking for something amazing and life-changing, this may not be what you're looking for.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The next great American novel!

I have to say that floored by how much I loved this story! Wilson's command of the English language is beyond any mere mortal. I was instantly drawn in from the start and enjoyed every second! It was an "audible read" for me and the narrator was no slouch either. He truly brings to life the characters that author put to paper. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for their next great read!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Cerebral horror

A surreal tale of terror that stays with you. So many lurid details and surprising moments. Will make you look over your shoulder and never break a deal.

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

Interesting thriller

Great and interesting thriller - especially for writers. Wonderfully performed by Andy Garrison. Would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed twilight zone.