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Search tags: Barks-Audio-Reviews
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review 2018-07-09 16:48
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells,John Allen Nelson

This is a weird book but I think I liked it well enough. Let’s see if I can work out a rating by the time I stop writing out my feelings here.

 

“I think that fate wants me to become a serial killer.”

 

John Wayne Cleaver is a teen doing his best not to murder the cretins that surround him. I’m not joking about this either. He has serious serial killer in the making vibes. Even his therapist thinks so. His family runs a mortuary and he’s been exposed to death since he was a child but he’s the only one in his family who finds death fascinating. He’s written school essays on serial killers and is obsessed with learning everything about them. But unlike most killers (besides Dexter), he knows murder is wrong and he creates rules for himself that will prevent him from acting out on his urges to slice people up like stir-fry. But people do not make it easy for him. As you all probably know, most people are jerks. Especially when they’re still in high school. John has one friend and that friend was so annoying I might’ve wanted to slice him up a time or two myself.

 

This kid is detached, he knows it, you know it and it’s hard to feel for him since he doesn’t feel normal emotions. He mimics others in order to be a decent citizen and get by in society. You think you see where this all heading with comments like these, don’t you?

 

“If you met me on the street you’d never know how much I wanted to kill you.”

 

But you would be wrong. The book takes a weird and unexpected turn somewhere midway in and it really threw me off. I thought I was reading one thing and then it turned into another thing and I wasn’t sure I liked where it was heading but in the end I guess it worked out because I didn’t quit it. Just go in expecting the unexpected and you might be ok.

 

With that said, I must steer you away from the audiobook read by John Allen Nelson. Sadly this narrator was not a good fit for my ears. He has a news anchor voice and he’s not afraid to use it and it continually threw me out of the story. He would be much better suited to a true crime or a nonfiction book. He doesn’t do well with a teen’s voice and this book is told by a teen. He also has the funniest, most cartoony old person voice I think I have ever heard outside of the shows my kids used to watch on Nickelodeon. I laughed when I should’ve been a wee bit sad or terrified.

 

In the end, I guess I’m giving this production and story a three. I wasn’t happy with the way everything was wrapped up so tidily in the end. It seemed too easy and too unbelievable and it infuriated me a little. Many people say this story gets better as the series moves along. I may try another if I stumble on a free copy but I won’t actively seek them out.

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review 2018-06-13 15:42
The Axeman of New Orleans: The (boring) True Story
The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story - Miriam C. Davis,Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I am DNFing this book. For a story about the axeman, it is so incredibly dull. The author has clearly done her homework but she's included too many sidelines that have nothing to do with the murders. If I wanted to learn about the origins of the Italian Mafia in New Orleans I would've picked up a different book.

 

This story was also one of the subplots in American Horror Story’s season of “Coven”. The "axeman" is the guy Jessica Lange gets cozy with. The gals over at MY FAVORITE MURDER also covered the case in one of their many disturbingly amusing podcasts. I’d say listen to that instead. Life's too short and stressful so I'm picking up something else rather than struggling to stay awake during this one.

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review 2018-06-11 17:28
The Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton
The Outsider - Will Patton,Stephen King

This is the story of an atrocious murder of an innocent and the investigation that turns into a “ f*cked up nightmare of a case” for all of those involved. 

That description about sums it all up. The murder, the ensuing rush to jail a suspect and the follow up are all horrific. To say anything more about the plot, truly, is to ruin it for anyone wishing to read it. It’s not just me being lazy! I’m seriously tired of having things spoiled for me so I’m refusing to say much of anything. If you want to know more, check out one of the zillion spoilery reviews out here in the internets. 

If you want to read a book by a master storyteller who grabs you early and doesn’t really let you up for air until well into its second half, I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough. I was hooked into the story so hard that I found myself making up chores so I could stay plugged in and listen to “just a bit more” before I had to return to reality. I even took my lazy dog for a long neglected walk in order to have an excuse to keep going. He pooped out way before I was ready to call it quits on The Outsider and pull out my earbuds.

This isn’t a straight up murder mystery and you need to know that before going in. It has a horror angle and a tie-in to a previous series. If you don’t like either of those two things in your books, you might not be overly thrilled with the second half of the book. Me? I loved it. I want more books like these and I want them all to be narrated by Will Patton! His voice is just so down to earth, calming and listenable (is that a word?). He breathes life into the characters and that’s a skill that isn’t an easy one to master. 

I’m not giving this book five stars because:

1. I’m a jerk and only give fives out to the rare book that I personally feel fit my idea of perfection.
2. It gets a little sloggy in its last few acts. 
3. It made me sad and horrified but I never felt fear or creeping dread as I did in The Shining or Pet Sematary. 

Instead I give it 4 ½ stars which is the next to best thing, and a very high recommendation. 

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review 2018-06-08 19:04
Fear University by Meg Collett, narrated by Lidia Dornet
Fear University - Meg Collett,Lidia Dornet

I’m not fond of the title of this one. It gives the book a generic feeling of YA or NA and does the book a disservice because it’s a gritty, violent and action-packed story that deserves a title such as Aswang: Demon Dogs! That’s catchier, don’t you think? Or maybe Devil Dogs Want to Eat Your Tasty Bits. Yeah, I like that one but maybe that’s why they don’t ask me. Anyway, I grabbed this because the blurb caught my attention and I’m glad I did because it was pretty darn good.

Ollie has never been able to feel physical pain. Because of this, she ended up abandoned by her mother and was tormented by those who should’ve protected her. She’s grown up tough and resilient and has been living on her own since becoming a young adult. One day she is attacked by a dog-like creature and wins the fight as two young men watch. They can’t believe their eyes. Average humans, AKA civvies, aren’t supposed to win fights against the “aswang”, they’re supposed to become their dinner. They kidnap her and bring her back to “Fear University” where only select families are training to fight a secret war against the aswang beasties. She’s soon entrenched in training for the war by a handsome but all business guy named Luke who is reputed to abstain from sexy times because he likes it too rough. She feels no pain. She is intrigued!

So all that’s going on and a whole lot of other stuff that I will not spoil. This book is definitely more urban fantasy than NA angst or romance and I liked that about it. There’s action, the pace is fast, there are many revelations and surprises, the characters are imperfect and their interactions are interesting. But it’s Ollie who makes the book sing for me. She’s carrying the weight of a painful past and she’s sarcastic, cynical and doesn’t take any crap from anyone but she’s also funny and reminded me a bit of Liv from IZombie.

“I didn’t like Luke or his stupid dick.”

She lies too :)

This was a very good urban fantasy but I recommend picking up the next book (and maybe the one after that) in the series if you’re like me and prefer to have all of your questions answered. This book leaves things a-dangling and may leave you pulling out your hair if you don’t have book two all lined up and ready to go. My library does NOT so arrrrgggh!



The narrator is most excellent. She sounds youthful and tough and exudes emotion exactly where needed.

I received a copy of this audio from Tantor Media. Thanks, Tantor!

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review 2018-05-30 15:48
The Shining by Stephen King (audiobook)
The Shining - Stephen King,Campbell Scott

I reread this on audio, narrated by Campbell Scott. I was a kid when I read it the first time and it helped solidify my lifelong love of the horror genre. I hoped it would be as scary as I remembered. 

Knowing what I now know about Jack after reading Doctor Sleep (if you haven’t read it, you should) helped give me a different slant on his character making him a wee bit more sympathetic instead of the flat out villain I remembered. It also helped that he wasn’t actually written as an unhinged loon from the get go but as a flawed man struggling to keep his family afloat and intact while he battled with the dangerous demons of addiction, anger and regret. I had forgotten all of that or it likely went over my head when I first read it and Jack Nicholson’s performance lingered in my brain instead. Wendy is a better character in the book, for certain, because we get her inner thoughts instead of all of the endless screaming and Danny was such a wise little boy which makes sense considering his gift/curse. I didn’t catch that on the first read because I had never been around kids his age.

It’s most definitely a frightening book but in a very different way than the film. Much of the horror is internal with the dread and ghosts of the hotel slowly creeping up on you rather than smacking you in the face with their presence (and floppy boobs!). I enjoyed all of the backstory of the hotel (even dog-man is there!) and there’s quite a bit of it and the sense of utter isolation and helplessness amidst the storm is terrifying. 

My 12 year old self would’ve given it a five. My grumpy, grown up self gives it 4 ½. Campbell Scott is an excellent narrator and does a low-key performance that doesn’t over-exaggerate the scenes or dialogue which worked for me.

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