Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry
Read by Tom Weiner
Quick Thoughts The start of a horror trilogy, Ghost Road Blues does a good job setting up the upcoming editions of the series, while presenting an interesting self contained story. Full of interesting characters and dark mysteries.
I grew up in a relatively poor single parent home, and because of that we never had much in the way of luxuries. We didn’t get a television until I was in kindergarten and we tended to be the last family to get the latest technology, usually through gifts from family. Books that we received were through donations or libraries, whether it be the local public library or through school and church. When I got a little older, I began to “borrow” my sister’s books, which were mostly Danielle Steel and VC. Andrews. It wasn’t until I was 15 and finally had a part time job that I could buy my own books. And that was when I truly discovered horror novels. I raced through Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I read everything I could get my hands on by Richard Matheson and Robert McCammon. Horror was my guilty pleasure made even better by the fact that it was strictly forbidden in my house. Although my tastes have broadened over the years, Horror novels are still a staple of my reading, expanding to authors like Brian Keene, and James A. Moore. I only discovered Jonathan Maberry this year, but he quickly became one of my favorite writers. His Joe Ledger series is an excellent blend of horror and quasi-military procedural with an excellent lead character. So, when I discovered his Pine Deep Trilogy was being released in audio, I was quite excited.
I have to admit, it took me a bit to really start getting into Ghost Road Blues. Maberry slow plays the opening of the novel, subtlety setting up the underlining mystery of Pine Deep. It takes a bit to get all the pieces into place but when he does the novel takes off like a rocket. Again, Maberry does and excellent job mixing thriller and horror elements. Pine Deep is full of Dark History, and hidden evil, so when a trio of criminals from Philadelphia come into the small town things long dead begin to stir. And not all evil in Pine Deep is the supernatural kind. The residents of Pine Deep are the colorful sort that makes the best tableau for small town horror tales. For every upstanding business man, and strong family, there are abusers, racists and corrupt officials. Maberry has created a vast array of characters that are both believable and interesting. Ghost Road Blues is mainly focused on the violent criminals that invade Pine Deep, and begin a process of awakening an evil presence that had been asleep. In that, Ghost Road Blues serves as a set up novel for those the remainder of the trilogy. While much of the plot is wrapped up well, the major issues of the novel remain in preparation for what is to come, making the ending seem more like a pause then a true finale. Luckily, the wait for the next two audiobooks in the series is short.
Tom Weiner brings his deep, echoing voice to Ghost Road Blues. His voice has such a resonance, it took me a while to find the proper equalization to listen to his reading in. Weiner brings an element of creepiness to the reading that fits perfectly with the style of the book. All I can say is I really wouldn’t want to be listening to him while walking home through a swamp late at night. His characters were well done as well. Despite his deep voice, he was able to perform the female voices well, without sounding forced and brought a youthful feel to the younger characters. Ghost Road Blues is a good start to a series whose potential is great. If Maberry can maintain the tension and mystery established in the first of the series, while expanding on the mythos of Pine Deep I believe we’re in for a heck of a trip.
Note: A Special thanks to the good people at Blackstone Audio for providing me with a review copy of Ghost Road Blues.