Dead Man’s Song by Jonathan Maberry (The Pine Deep Trilogy, Book 2)
Read by Tom Weiner
Length: 15 Hrs 48 Mins
Quick Thoughts: Dead Man’s Song is a chilling tale of dark secrets and legendary evil in a small Buck County town. Despite the fact that there is less action than it’s predecessor, I found myself enjoying it even more, largely due to Maberry’s excellent character development.
I love October here in Bucks County, PA. I have lived in Lower Bucks County, outside of my time at college, for my entire life. October is always one of my favorite times of the year. Summer has finally given up the ghost, yet the days of Ice and snow are soundly in the future. The Eagles have settled into their season and the Phillies have begun their post season push towards the World Series. There is a crispness in the air and a touch of the mysterious as the Halloween Decorations begin to go up. Bucks County is an interesting area, nestled between Big City Philadelphia and rural Pennsylvania. As you travel North up Rt. 413, the spaces between the houses grow, and the open farmland begin to appear. It’s hard to figure when you’re in towns like Bensalem, which is where I live, pushed up right against North East Philadelphia, that barely an hours drive away you find small rural towns that have a history separate from that of the big city. Histories that go back hundreds of years. Jonathan Maberry’s Pine Deep Trilogy is set is a fictionalized version of one of these towns. Pine Deep, The Most Haunted Town in America, full of dark secrets and tragic pasts is the perfect setting for an apocalyptic showdown between evil forces of creatures of legend, and the upstanding citizens of small town America.
Dead Man’s Song is the second novel of the Pine Deep Trilogy. It follows the citizens of Pine Deep as they recover from the events of Ghost Man Blues, mainly the havoc caused by a trio of violent criminals from Philadelphia who broke down in the town. What the people of Pine Deep do not realize is that there are dark forces coordinating events, putting the pieces into place for "the red wave" that will bring about the end of the world on Halloween night. Dead Man’s Song is very much a set up novel, transitioning the story between the beginning of the series, and moving the characters in position for the finale which comes in Bad Moon Rising. Being the second novel in the trilogy, you expect a let down. So, I was surprised by the fact that I actually enjoyed Dead Man’s Song even more than the first in the series. I think this fact is due to Maberry’s excellent character building. Dead Man’s Song is very much character driven, with less action than Ghost Road Blues, and I found myself really caring about these characters. I loved the fact that Maberry didn’t gloss over the events of the previous book, but allowed the readers to see how the tragic events affected each main character. Despite there not being as much action, when it did come, it was well plotted and highly entertaining. My only complain about the whole book was the fact that two characters who seemed to have the best understanding of what was happening, kept on putting off their chances to compare notes. Every time they postpone their meeting, I wanted to scream at them. Dead Man’s Song is the perfect tale for those crisp October days, and dark October nights. Although I do suggest you leave the lights on.
Tom Weiner narrates Dead Man’s Song and his deep sonorous voice perfectly fits the mood of the novel, adding a creepiness that often brings chills to the listener. I really enjoyed the way he handled the character of Mike Sweeny, a teenage boy, who frequently lapses into fugue states. I enjoyed most of his characterizations, although I did find some of them, especially the “bad” characters, a little hard to differentiate at times. What I found odd was, for a narrator with such a deep voice, I enjoyed the way he handled characters out of his expected range, women, kids, and the more squirrelly voiced male characters, more than the more manly types. Maberry’s writing style always seems to translate to audio wonderfully, and this is no exception. Finishing Dead Man’s Song made me long for the chance to listen to the next in the series and luckily the wait shouldn’t be long at all.
Note: A Special Thanks to the good people of Blackstone Audio for providing me with a review copy of this title.