I'm always hungry for collections of good short stories, especially horror, and often disappointed by what gets released. Thirteen, though, has everything I look for in a collection - good stories and great narration, with excellent sound effects and music as a very welcome (and effective) bonus.
The stories themselves are pretty diverse in terms of content, and while some are inevitably stronger than others, none of them are less than enjoyable to listen to, delivering genuine scares and a lingering atmosphere of building tension throughout. The collection even includes a modern-day retelling of the much-loved "the monkey's paw" and, though personally this is my least favourite tale, I have to admire the effort to bring the classic to a new audience.
The narration is excellent, as diverse as the stories themselves, and none of the actors involved deliver anything less than a brilliant performance. So many audio books suffer from poor narration, which, for me, can sometimes ruin a decent story entirely - I'm delighted to say that Thirteen doesn't fall in to this group.
Overall - it's definitely worthy of a place in any horror fan's collection, and I only wish it was called 14 or 25 or 62. Really hoping for a Thirteen volume 2 in the near future.
The Dreadtime Stories collections are the home of some brilliantly enjoyable horror fiction, imaginative and interesting and excellently written and performed. Some of it I saw coming, some of it genuinely surprised me, but I enjoyed all of it - "Wolf" was particularly clever in the way it leads you by the nose into your own conclusions, and then effortlessly trumps them. This is a must have for fans of horror stories or dramatized horror stories.
If you enjoy this, Volume 2 is just as good, and you might want to check out Tales from Beyond the Pale, also on audible.
A lot of horror likes to call itself "not for the faint hearted" but this really isn't, and the easily squeamish may want to give it a miss as well. A lot of it was also conciously written to be funny rather than serious horror, so if that sort of thing annoys you, again maybe pass. The humour is generally pretty crude, mostly too crude for me to find amusing, but that's just me, and I think the level of humour fits the stories well.
The stories themselves are by & large pretty good. They tend to deliver shocks rather than scares - I don't think I was ever scared, but was shocked constantly. For me it's the difference between something like The Grudge and a slasher flick like Friday the 13th - the gore in the latter is shocking, the more psychological nature of the former is scary, and the stories here all fall very squarely in the shocker category. They are all very original, very rarely predictable, which I prize highly in horror fiction. A lot of cannibalism though.
The narration - generally it's good solid stuff, with well defined character voices etc., but I find it hard to forgive the cockney accent in "The Screaming", which is a bit of a diction nightmare in any case - Konrath claims to have made a great effort to match the langauge for the setting, i.e. 1960s England, but I found it pretty horrendous. Don't get discouraged and stop listenening though, the rest is much better.
All in all, if you like your horror stories to be gory, brutal and nasty, you should enjoy these. If you like something less visceral, I really wouldn't risk it. If you do end up liking these, I'd recommend Haunted by Chuck Palanuik, which is as nasty but a good deal more intelligent, or The Collection, by Bentley Little.
I have loved Neil's work for many many years and this doesn't disappoint. Strange tales some unknown and some that ring bells but have unexpected endings.
This is short stories for grown ups. Smart intelligent some time funny often strange but always good.
Word of warning if you are listing to this rather than reading it I would suggest NOT falling asleep whilst you listen as you end up with some very strange dreams!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!