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An unusual audiobook containing a serial killer, abused children and an apocalyptic event! The story revolves around a group of teens that live in a cabin in the mountains; they find themselves fighting to survive against the collapse of society, a serial killer, hunger, and some desperate and psychotic people. It is fast paced story that keeps your attention and takes you on a violent journey of anarchy and death. The characters are interesting and you soon become invested in the teens survival. The narration fits the book excellently; from children to serial killers, the narrator manages to give life and personality to each of the characters. It is an unusual and interesting storyline, but I did feel that it could have been a bit more suspenseful in parts and I found the gory scene in the hotel a bit too strange. Overall it is interesting, has great narration and is worth listening to. I received this audiobook at no cost in exchange for an honest review
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Let me start out saying (if you can't tell from my reviews), I love Joe Hempel's narration. He's pleasant to listen to, professional, and passionate about his work. This all comes through in his voice acting, and he is my favorite narrator to date.
The story was solid. The idea is deceptively simple: what happens when a serial killer loses his stock of victims during an apocalypse? I didn't expect the apocalypse twist--yes, believe it or not, I really didn't since I only grazed over the summary... saw Joe Hempel narrating horror and had to get it. The book centers around a group of four friends which live outside of a small town in Alabama. They're all kids, and kind of damaged in some way which helped to bond them together into a tight knit group. When massive EMP bursts over America screw up the power grid, they are in for what could be a long, long haul over many months and, unbeknownst to them, one of their neighbors is a serial killer.
The premise was fascinating. Killers are always touched on in apocalyptic settings, but almost always it's the apocalypse which drives people to kill. Here, the killer himself worries about what he'll do since his supply of victims is suddenly narrowed to practically nothing. He doesn't want to hurt the kids; he likes them. That was a great take on what is almost a trope nowadays for apocalyptic literature.
However, the characters fell a little flat for me. They weren't too deep, except for Caleb, who got a lot of screen time, and John, who also got a lot of screen time. Unfortunately, John devolved towards the end. The others... just... weren't really fleshed out that well for me. The dialogue was not the best, and if that had been sharpened a little, perhaps that would have done the trick. The other problem to me was pacing. It started out great, introduced the characters, showed how they interacted, got into the apocalypse setting... and then I expected a more drawn out cat and mouse game while the killer struggled with his urges. It seemed too... fast. Which, of course, could entirely happen. When things go downhill, they tend to go downhill fast in real life. It just seemed like the killer's urges was revealed too soon, which contradicted everything prior to that... he just snapped suddenly instead of painstakingly stalking his victims and being patient and stalkery and all that.
That is my personal take on it, but overall, it was a VERY solid story, and Mr. Hempel's voice helped to bring them all to life for me. I waffled between a three and a four, and I had to go with the lower: average on the side of good, but probably not something I'd listen to again. Still, this is a story I would still recommend for fans of psychological thrillers and for apocalyptic fiction. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful