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Although I know absolutely nothing about trucking, I thought this would be a fun read. Especially after being able to review Eric Miller’s Hell Comes to Hollywood. Another fantastic anthology that sets the bar for short horror stories. In this, there are just a few stories that did not fully explain the trucker terms but for the most part I was easily able to discern what the authors were saying. Many of these are horrific, some bloody, some a little spooky, and there are even a few with happy endings! Surprising for horror stories. All in all it was a fun listen and I’m really glad I was able to read, especially since I have no trucking experience.
In short: There were some that really made me enjoy my time and left me thinking. Some didn’t quite hit the mark, but as a whole this anthology was awesome! I am sure those that are truckers will enjoy the horror stories even more. I’m sure they have heard them all! Narration from Graydon Schlichter and Jennifer Knighton was spot on and the audio was great. In some stories there are even gun shots or CB Radios going in and out. Really kept me in the story.
A Dark Road:
This one set the stage of what the anthology was about quite well! Told from a trucker’s point of view as he speaks into his CB. No one else can hear who he is talking to. It’s one of those stories where the reader will get the creeps right from the beginning and not know why until the end!
This trucker talks quite a bit about seeing Lucille. He’s tired and looking to score so he decides to take a little break at a rest stop. He doesn’t want to stop and rest, he wants to keep on driving, so a break might do him some good. Rising Fawn was interesting and kept me on my toes. I was not sure exactly what was happening until closer to the end but the pieces fit together well.
Never Lost Again:
While eating chili at a rest stop, a trucker and the owner have to deal with a guy that is threatening them. The guy decides to leave amicably when a cop walks in but not before the trucker notices he’s wearing a watch that looks very familiar. It just happens to be the watch of his dead wife. Unable to let the guy go, the trucker follows him, intent on finding out how he got the watch. This was another great, and really creepy one. I can see this scene happening out. Loved the ending!
Roy Kincaid is down on his luck. Low on money and doesn’t have much to live for but has a lot of debt. Which is exactly why it is hard to turn down an offer to deliver a load without any questions. Roy knows something is amiss but needs the money and it’s a big score. This one had a lot of dialogue and was even more creepy than the last few. Roy is trying to decide what to do when he realizes he is way out of his depth and probably should not have agreed to the drop. This one kept me on the edge of my seat and had me rooting for Roy. He’s a good guy that made semi-bad choices. Another great ending. I want more of this story!
One of my favorites! Downshift is all about getting revenge. A man can still see and talk to his dead wife after her murder and has made a plan to get his revenge. Really short but very horrific. I have a lot of empathy for this guy even though the story was extremely short!
She’ll never rest. I don’t care about myself. I’ll dance haunted until the end of my days and then burn in hell for eternity if it means she’ll finally rest.
Driving with a partner can be scary. Nodding off and trusting them, even more so.
They had drifted out of their land and were onto the shoulder. Gary’s eyes whipped to the other side of the cab to see Phil fast asleep in the driver’s seat.
Knowing a few things about sirens, I had an idea of what this story would be about but it is a different twist on them. Fighting to stay awake, Phil has to work to keep the truck on the road and make sure he and his companion survive. I loved how this one was written and the twist with the siren.
We all have certain superstitions. Hayward has many. Hayward also has some issues with his beliefs. Like the one where he has to hold his breath while driving past a cemetery. He believes that if you inhale while driving past one then you could invite a demon into your body. Some cemeteries take quite a few minutes to drive by so he has set up inhaling salts so if he passes out, they’ll wake him almost immediately. As I was reading this I could just imagine all the issues this could cause! He knows he’s coming up on a really long stretch but he also hopes he can make it before passing out and driving off the cliff. Not one of my favorites, although written very well. There are many superstitions in this that I have never heard of!
Deciding to take a break from her husband, Ray gets on the road in an ice storm. Knowing she’s been lucky, not really lucky but just lucky enough, she’s not too worried about the storm and thinks that the break will do her relationship some good. Sadly, the storm, and road, take a turn for the worst and she’s routed to a gas station that’s closed for the evening. This was one that had some good bones but then went downhill (pun not intended). In horror movies and books people are always making some really stupid choices.
Happy Joe’s Rest Stop:
Father and son on the road for some bonding time! At Happy Joe’s Rest Stop Greg decides to go inside. It’s teeming with people buying food and merchandise and filling up their tanks. Instead of getting hot dogs and a soda Greg is surprised when everything seems to stop and then there’s a huge explosion. All he wants to do is find his dad and hopefully live through whatever is going on. For a 13 year old, Greg is really smart. He’s face to face with a nightmare and is able to think through it and keep his head.
Completely paranoid and hoping to not get caught by pursuers, the narrator winds up being very clever and makes sure to remain undetected by everyone. The first idea I had was that this person had watched way too many cop shows. The narration changes a little in the middle and makes me wonder if it was supposed to change to the trucker or if it is still the original narrator. I believe it is the latter, which makes this even deadlier. A very good villain but this story was a bit more difficult to figure out. Maybe reading this instead of listening would have made the story flow more.
Beyond the Best Seasoning:
Started off innocuous enough until these guys decide to open the package they were supposed to deliver. They’re starving and the box miraculously has what both of the guys are craving the most. Instead of closing the box they decide to indulge, eating their fill. Not much time passes and they are hungry again and look at the box. This one was great! Firstly, the second they opened the box anyone would know they were in for some crap. If not from the box itself, from the owner! This is another where I would love to have more of a full story and find out what happens next!
Take the Night:
Band mates at a gig and all of a sudden they are facing excruciating pain. When they find out why they are pissed. This is one of those, be careful what you wish for scenarios. Not my favorite of the bunch but not a bad short either.
This story was one of my least favorites. The guy in this, Clay, was beat as a kid and when he became a trucker he decided to give out punishment instead of getting it. There’s a portion about dogs that really turned me off. I love blood and guts but when animals get hurt I like to fast forward or put the book down. Seemed a little superfluous for the story after the previous horrific events. Some readers may enjoy if they don’t worry so much about animals but I have a Pitt that was used as a bait dog so this hit a little too close to home. Great narration and sounds in this one though. Shot gun sounds actually made me jump!
Sadly, I think I found a hiccup in the audio. The book begins and the narrator almost immediately breaks the fourth wall (so to speak) and talks to the listener! I love how this starts. I am loving every minute but then rather abruptly, the story ends. I have the book so I decided to see if the story was only a page. It’s a bit longer. So, if you have the audio this one may be messed up.
This one is creepy but for all the wrong reasons. It is not my favorite of the bunch for a few reasons. Girl gets saved by boy, finds out boy is not what he seems, and she falls instantly in love. The story gets a bit better as it gets toward the end. So, there are reasons to stick with it! Narration for this one was fantastic.
Matt is trying to put the past, and the fact that his wife is dead, behind him. He doesn’t feel like there’s anything to live for but continues one mile at a time. He’s in a stupor, driving just to drive, until he sees a woman that looks very much like his dead wife. Matt is in a tough place but I have empathy for him and for trying to help someone that looks like the love of his life. This story has some meat to it but ends faster than I wanted it to.
There will never be enough miles in the rearview to fix him.
The Iron Bulldogge:
Two companions driving through the night hear a lot of strange stories. They meet a kid that has a whopper of a story. Rook and his pal don’t really have time for whoppers and Rook is a bit brusque with him, but still nice enough to give him a ride. Rook has seen a bit of everything so it is going to take a real story to get his attention. It’s his companion that I love the most though. Rook’s demeanor is way cool but Coogles got my attention from the second he enters the scene. The narration for Coogles is great! I love the take on what he would say and what he sounds like. Probably my favorite of the bunch.
“Brakes! Brakes, Coogles!”
Race Race Race! Came the bark from the cabin.
“I really need to get a human sidekick,” Rook grumbled.
Trying to get home he’s pushing but still has 300 miles to go. He hears about a speed trap and is trying to figure out where it is when he starts trying to get the other trucker back on the radio. Buzzsaw gets back on the radio and gives him directions for where and when to slow down. Fantastic audio for this one. The narration is just like if you’re listening on a CB radio. The voices go in and out as if there is static or not a great signal. The back and forth is only for a minute but enough to make an impact. The thoughtfulness of the other trucker starts a conversation that Warthog is hesitant to get into but with all his dreariness he is pulled in. Bit of a psychological thriller for this short. Fantastic ending to a great anthology!
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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10 of 12 people found this review helpful
I thought they were going to be about paranormal things truckers encounter on the long lone roads. not all the foolish stories in this book. some really stupid out there things.....not to ruin it for other brave souls who after this review disregard my warning and proceed. waste of time I will never get back. I continued to listen simply cause I believed the next one would be better.... NOPE!!!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful