9 Dec 2011

Audio Friday #5 - The taking - Review

Audio (every other) Friday is where i post an audio review every fortnight switching between myself and Wanda, one of your fellow followers so that we post one review each a month.
This week it's Wandas turn
Note: I should point out that actually this was supposed to go up last week but it completely slipped my mind but the next ost will still go up next week as usual and go back to two weeks from there.
Read by Ari Meyers
Available now.

What's it about?
On the morning that will mark the end of the world they have known, Molly and Niel Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof. It has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now they rise to find a luminous silvery downpour drenching their small California mountain town. A strange scent hangs faintly in the air, and the young couple cannot shake the sense of something wrong.

As hours pass and the rain continues to fall, Molly and Niel listen to disturbing news of extreme weather phenomena across the globe. Before evening, their little town loses television and radio reception. Then telephone and the Internet are gone. With the ceaseless rain now comes an obscuring fog that transforms the once-friendly village into a ghostly labyrinth. By nightfall the Sloans have gathered with some of their neighbors to deal with community damage...but also because they feel the need to band together against some unknown threat, some enemy they cannot identify or even imagine.
In the night, strange noises arise, and at a distance, in the rain and the mist, mysterious lights are seen drifting among the trees. The rain diminishes with the dawn, but a moody gray-purple twilight prevails. Soon Molly, Niel, and their small band of friends will be forced to draw on reserves of strength, courage, and humanity they never knew they had. For within the misty gloom they will encounter something that reveals in a terrifying instant what is happening to their world—something that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency.

Firstly I need to tell you that I am a great fan of Dean Koontz earlier work. So it was with a mixture of anticipation that I began listening to his suspense novel The Taking.

I also need to tell you that although I love audio books I have thus far never listened to a suspense horror book. This is definitely going to change. I love the narrator style of this specific book. I felt like a teenager sitting next to a camp fire with THAT uncle, you know, old uncle what's his name, he is not much of anything but boy can he spin a yarn. I loved the foreboding presence Ari Myer so expertly narrated.
I will be hunting down other authors in this genre's audio books as a matter of course in future. I simply love the "let me tell you a ghost story? effect in this book.

The Taking starts with amazing promise. Molly and Neil Sloan wake up to a strange new world. An alien world. Through typically masterful weaving of suspense and primal fear the reader is taken along on a ride for survival. Molly, Sloan and friends and neighbours are in a battle akin to The War of the Worlds or so they believe. Alien forces, malignant and cruel are toying with earthlings and wreaking havoc through the manipulation of the weather. The mood is dark, sullen and hopeless.
The further the book progresses the more frightening and disturbing the book becomes.
Molly is attributed with almost superhuman heroism which gets to be a bit much as the story progresses. The pace and the questions raised in the story act as to neutralise this little annoyance. Koontz love of dogs again become apparent in this book and is in part why I love his books so much.
But here without giving any spoilers is where the fun part of this book ends. Characteristically of Koontz newer books the story's end is almost more of an existential crises than an ending to the story that started of with so much promise. Koontz metaphysical fascination leaves the book ending a bit trite and left me as reader totally unfulfilled.
I'm torn as to a rating for this book. The narration was brilliant and had me hooked. For the most part the book was brilliant and then the end came. The discrepancy between the brilliant beginning and the un-focused end was a real disappointment. Which leaves me with a 3 out of five rating. I would recommend this book for the brilliant narration and the promise of a great beginning alone. But if you hate to read a brilliant book with a far less than stellar ending then I would say stay clear.
As for me and my reasons to love audio books. It is a totally different experience to have a master narrator read a story to you. The imagery the voice of a stranger illicits is dramatic and enjoyable. I'm off to go hunting for some other audio books in this genre. Who does not love a good ghost story

Check out Dean Koontzs:

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