Audiobook Review: Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry

27 10 2011

Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry (Pine Deep, Book 3)

Read by Tom Weiner

Blackstone Audio

Length: 17 Hrs 42 Mins

Gerne: Horror

Quick Thoughts: Bad Moon Rising is the finale of the Pine Deep Trilogy, bring together the events of the first two book in an action packed bloodbath which serves as a pay off that should bring joy to horror fans. Maberry’s tale of evil and the good people fighting it taps into that section of our psyche that still wants to be scared, with wonderful results.

Grade: B+

Bad Moon Rising is the final book in Jonathan Maberry’s Pine Deep Trilogy, about the Most Haunted Town in America. If you need to know why I decided to listen to Bad Moon Rising, it’s pretty obvious, Jonathan Mayberry is an awesome writer, the first two books in The Pine Deep Trilogy were awesome, and, really how can anyone resist that coming together of factors of awesomeness? The Pine Deep Trilogy is one of those old school horror tales that reminds you of those early days of Stephen King, full of great characters, small town secrets and ancient evils. It’s been a while since I found a truly old school epic horror tale that reminded me of why I fell in love with the genre to begin with. In fact, the last great horror trilogy I enjoyed was James A. Moore’s Serenity Falls trilogy back in 2005. The best horror tales always find a way to combine modern day fears with the mythological archetypes of our past. These tales work, when done right, because, while our outer intellectual sides reject vampires, werewolves and other mythological creatures. that part of us that prays when we’re scared, that sees that monster in the shadows from the corner of our eyes, still influences us. Maberry’s tale of evil and the good people fighting it, taps into that section of our psyche that still wants to be scared, with wonderful results.

One of the things that most impresses me about Maberry’s Joe Ledger series is that he provides a real world science basis for the monsters that we fear. In Bad Moon Rising, instead of science, Maberry wields a different tool, mythology, with the same excellent results. The mythology that Maberry uses isn’t your typical Hollywood pop mythology, where Vampires run screaming from your necklace, but a well researched mythology that feels authentic. Maberry takes everything you think you know about vampires, werewolves and ghosts and annihilates it, in turn offering a mythos that is truly frightening, and steeped in cultural history. Bad Moon Rising is definitely the most ambitions novel of the trilogy, and the most effective. Not only does Maberry reunite us with the characters we have grown to care about, Crowe, Mike Sweeny, Val, Saul Weinstock and Newt, but introduces some new significant characters that become vital to the story. One of the more fun aspects of Bad Moon Rising was the use of real life horror icons who aren’t just making cameo appearances but actually get mixed up in the action. Everything that Maberry set up in the first two books comes together in action packed bloodbath as our heroes attempt to turn back the apocalyptic plans of true evil. Bad Moon Rising is a great finale which doesn’t fail to give the pay off that you want in a great horror epic.

Tom Weiner narrates this third installment in the series, with the same creepy flare as the first two. Weiner captures the truly horrific feel that the book offered, and carefully guided us through hectic finale. There is a lot happening in Bad Moon Rising and Weiner narration helps keep the listener focused on the events, never leaving us behind. As always, his voices were spot on, capturing even the characters that you would expect a narrator with such a deep voice to struggle with, particularly women and children. It’s sad to come to the end of any good series, but a great ending always eases the pain a bit, and having the right narrator to guide us through that ending doesn’t hurt at all.

 

Note: A special thanks to the good people at Blackstone Audio for providing me with a copy of this title for review.





Audiobook Review: Dead Man’s Song by Jonathan Maberry

5 10 2011

Dead Man’s Song by Jonathan Maberry (The Pine Deep Trilogy, Book 2)

Read by Tom Weiner

Blackstone Audio

Length: 15 Hrs 48 Mins

Genre: Horror

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.

Grade: B+

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.





Audiobook Review: Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry

22 08 2011

Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry

Read by Tom Weiner

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Horror

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.

Grade: B

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.