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That was one hell of a roller coaster ride that I found impossible to put down before the end! An unemployed father and husband falls deeper and deeper into a spiral of confusion and terror as the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. This book features distinct and interesting characters that draw the listener into the story right away.
The narration by Michael Robbins was truly fantastic and this book includes some select sound effects that made the story come alive. The best part by far was the delicious mystery aspect to this tale. I find much of the content in this genre to be fairly cliched and predictable but this one kept surprising me up until the literal last second. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a thriller/mystery! 10/10!
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is the first book by Michael Sanford I've experienced and I must say I am quite impressed. The book's tagline reads: "Betrayal. Redemption. And a decent into madness." Decent into madness indeed! Sanford does a terrific job of letting us experience the main character's slip into madness. In a way it reminded me of some of Edgar Allen Poe's work, those wonderful stories where you aren't at all sure you can trust the narrator. At first it's quite subtle but by the time you reach the end you really are knee deep in the main character's head, practically drowning in his insanity. It is dark and disturbing in all the right ways. I'll definitely be checking out more of his work in the future.
I received a copy of this audio title for free in exchange for an unbiased review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A book in three parts, tracing a father's decent into madness. Powerfully written in the first person, the reader is inside the head of the main protagonist, who is already troubled, depressed and delusional. He is unemployed, having been fired from his previous job as a paramedic and is having little success in finding a new job: he always seems to mess up any application. His wife works full time but they are in financial difficulties with the house likely to be repossessed soon. She is getting both desperate and resentful that her husband isn't taking on more of the responsibilities. And they have an eight years old daughter.
Part one really introduces us to the family and to the strange sound repetition resounding around in the lead protagonist's head. He also has time drop outs, forgetting appointments and generally losing parts of his day; until his house burns down, he wakes in the hospital and is hailed an hero. Suddenly he has everything he had always wanted: admiration and the love of his family. But then everything starts to go wrong again.
This first section is totally compelling. But the following two parts, charting his further disintegration descends into a mixture of madness and horror where truth and reality meld together both for the man himself and the reader. Although still well written, it moves out of the realm of psychological and almost into the paranormal, jumping between places and ideas in an alarmingly disconcerting way to the final denouement at the end of the book. For this reader, it detracted from the original successes established earlier. Still a can't put down read but not fulfilling the excellence of the opening sections.
The soundtrack is cleverly done, with odd repetitive noises and phrases invading the background, mimicking those in the protagonist's head. But it is narrator, Michael Robbins, who truly makes the story come alive with his excellent interpretation of the husband struggling with his moods and confusions. His pace perfect, gentle, pleasing voice catches all the nuances of his situation as well as giving individual voice to all other characters. His was a really good and unsettling performance.
I am pleased to have listened to this book and have to thank the rights holder of House of Sand for freely gifting me a complimentary copy, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. The work was vivid, imprinting heavily in my mind as well as being thought provoking, frightening in it's earlier implications and, as such, rather sad. How well do we ever know anyone, even ourselves? However, the latter part, for me, pushed just that little bit too far, became too confusing and thus lessened the overall impact. Removing the larger part of section two would have improved this. Would I recommend it as it stands? Possibly, but only to someone who likes violence and blood mixed with over the top unreality included with their psychological thrills.
This is a compelling listen. I felt at times that I was going as mad as our protagonist. It was genuinely heartbreaking to be there as he sank further and further into complete lunacy. Mr Sanford has composed Hamlet for the modern age. After all, there is much discussion as to whether Hamlet's madness is real or feigned, and at times, it seems as if our hero/villain is very much in control of his actions. Ultimately, what is real, what is imagined, who is real or imagined. A deeply disturbing tale that I can only hope will give those people who want sufferers of depression or mental illness to 'pull themselves together', pause for thought. A difficult, and I'm sure some would say controversial, book to hear but the message is well worth listening to.