On the Lips of Children

  • by Mark Matthews
  • Narrated by Bob Dunsworth
  • 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man.
He's planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.
During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn't imagine: Skinning unexpecting victims for food and money.
And Macon, and his family, are next.

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What the Critics Say

“An ordinary running trail becomes the most terrifying place on the planet for Mark Matthews' troubled, likeable, marathon-running, tattooed, hipster protagonists and their young daughter. But, for the horror-show clan living under that trail - who subsist on flesh and bath salts in a nightmare orgy of blood and crazy - the hipsters are a rare treat indeed. As the family v. family showdown transpires underground and off the beaten path, the vulnerability of running on a trail - alone but for the watchers in the woods - makes the setting unique and well-crafted. Written with verve, surprising compassion, and bite, On the Lips of Children is a seriously demented must read.” (Sacha Z. Scoblic, author of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety)
“Mark Matthews' On the Lips of Children is a sprint down a path of high-adrenaline terror that never offers the comfort of monsters you can dismiss by reminding yourself ‘there's no such thing as...’ The story alternates between harsh reality and an almost dream-like surreality while never losing sight of the real heart of good storytelling. Matthews demonstrates that you don't have far down to go to reach the underworld, yet the road back up is a lot harder run than anyone is prepared to make.” (Bracken MacLeod, author of Mountain Home)
On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews, is a dark, terrifying page-turner. It's Stephen King's Misery on bath salts. In a cave. It scared the crap out of me. The story was original. The characters were fascinating, exposing the reader to worlds foreign to most of us. Matthews has a knack for pacing his story then jolting the reader with a frightening plot twist. I was impressed by how he wrapped up the ending. Read this book.” (Michele Miller, author of The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarterfinalist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Horror of Addiction

Mark Matthews latest contribution to the horror fiction genre, On the Lips of Children plays on a similar theme as his first novel, Milk-Blood. The theme of addiction. This is a refreshing and much needed turn in the realm of horror fiction. Although the novel’s cover gives the impression of the “supernatural” the story is anything but, and has a very plausible scenario.

The story takes place in southern California between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Actually, underneath that location, in one of the many drug smuggling tunnels in that region. A young, yet to be wed couple, Macon and Erin, along with their child Lyric are visiting San Diego for a marathon they plan to run.
Macon decides to go for an early morning jog toward the ocean when he finds himself snared by a subculture of homeless folks that are doing the bidding of a family that lives in one of the smuggling tunnels connecting So-Cal with Tijuana. Erin and daughter, Lyric soon follow this same path in search of Macon.

Donte and Lupita along with their children Q and T have been living in the tunnel for years.Since the birth of Q and T. Their life is taking hostages (via a network of homeless people near the mouth of the tunnel) for money and and other “resources” to keep up with Donte’s addiction to “Salts” (which I presume are “bath salts”). Donte is severely brain-damaged and deranged as a result of his drug use. Lupita has had to use whatever means possible to keep her boy and girl alive.
Darkness descends on Makon, Erin, and Lyric as the rock-bottom results of drug- addiction and subterranean survival rears its ugly, monstrous head.

The mood of On the Lips of Children is somewhere between the movies Sicario and The Hills Have Eyes.
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- Michael

Not My Cup of Tea

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

To me, this was more of a dialogue than a novel. The way the story was structured I never felt involved in it or the characters. It was just a bunch of people saying stuff. If story texture is important to you, this may not be for you, either.


What do you think your next listen will be?

It WAS Girl on a Wire.


Would you listen to another book narrated by Bob Dunsworth?

I couldn't get engaged in the story so I didn't give much attention to the reader. So I guess he was fine because I only fault the story. I probably wouldn't have forgiven a poor narrator too. So yes, absolutely I would not be put off by his narration.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from On the Lips of Children?

Seriously, I wouldn't have even published it if I were an editor. The format and the lack of depth that I perceived would have turned me away completely.


Any additional comments?

I very seldom say a book is bad because I'm sure someone out there will like it, it's just that I'm not that person for this book. If you like a book that really draws you into it by having the depth and detail to paint a mental image of you being one of the characters, this may not satisfy that sweet-tooth.

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- Gordon Bordon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-21-2014
  • Publisher: mark matthews