Per the author’s request, I will include the following statement at the beginning of this review. Disclaimer: I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher, and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.
I will say this book is not what I had expected from the description and was somewhat surprised from start to finish. I had believed it would be more a YA coming of age story with some form of fantasy elements with the potential of some time travel, etc. Boy was I wrong and will say up front that books of this genre are not of the type I would listen too if given the chance.
With that said, the author did a good job of telling his story. The ability to describe the locations and action was very well done. I felt engaged within the story along with his characters having body and depth to them, they were not your typical cardboard characters found on other books like this. A few of the more minor characters felt flat to me, such as the detectives, but the main characters overall were likable and had some good back stories keeping me wondering what would come next. The more you learn the more strange and bazaar the book becomes.
I was a bit confused as to how I would classify this book if asked. In most cases I would place it in the Horror category geared more towards adult readers. I do have to give the author credit for not having to stoop to using vulgar language or overly done gore to shock readers as your normal horror book may. Even the points where there was gore, it was not the central point of the event and used more to describe the scene. I can see the authors influence of many of the great authors of the horror genre such as Steve King and Lovecraft. The book for me was a mix of the Shining, Adams Family, and Frankenstein with a smattering of crime drama elements. Sounds strange, but in many ways it worked.
There also seemed to always be an element of creepiness throughout the book, and much of this is resolved at the end; always with an opening for more in the series. At times you say a normal family and then the author would throw in something, without telling you why, that would make you wonder how or when you will learn why. More that anticipation of the Shining.
If I had the ability to change the story to make it more enjoyable for me, I would remove some of the more stereotypical “kid” or pop-culture language found in a small number of places. For example when two kids were talking to each other, they spoke in a way that seemed unnatural or stuck out when it was read. It just did not fit. Another place where there were references to Jeopardy (the game show), etc. These seemed more forced and often would take me out of the storyline. I’m unsure if the book needed them at all, and maybe the author was using such as a way of releasing tension from the reader.
In relation to the narrator of the audiobook, I will say I enjoyed his ability to bring the book to life while also keeping that creepiness that runs throughout the book. The narrator was able to voice the many different characters well and did not attempt to do the female voices in an unnatural voice. The tension level was held and in times of excitement or action the narrator was there to support it using his voice.