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K. Power

UK
  • 3
  • reviews
  • 2
  • helpful votes
  • 4
  • ratings
  • Zero Lives Remaining

  • By: Adam Cesare
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

Robby Asaro is dead. And alive. He's a ghost in the machine, keeping a watchful eye on the arcade where he lost his life two decades before. And the afterlife is good. The best thing ever to have happened to him. But when the conscious electric current formerly known as Robby Asaro makes a decision to protect one of his favorite patrons, Tiffany Park, from a bully, he sets loose a series of violent supernatural events that can't be stopped.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Arcade fires. Game over man

  • By N. Robinson on 15-06-16

Gruesome, funny, smart

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-16

I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was previously familiar with the story from the limited hardback edition.

And honestly, that should tell you something right there. I was keen to revisit this story in audio form, see how it held up. And the short answer is, very well indeed.

One thing the audiobook version highlighted was how much humor there is here. I think I hadn’t realised just how conversational and jokey Cesare’s prose style was until I heard it spoken aloud. In this regard, narrator Joe Hempel does a superb job - his light, laconic delivery lands the comedy well, without ever hamming it up or overplaying it. It was a welcome discovery of a layer I hadn’t fully appreciated on my first read through.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the characters - they were as strong and vivid as I remember. Hempel does a superb job with the voices, finding ways to clearly delineate between the characters without overplaying it. I was especially impressed with his handling of Dan Boden. Let’s face it, it’s a nightmare brief for a narrator - portray a character with a speech impediment, induced by a stroke. It’s a gig fraught with peril - underplay it and you lose a vital part of the character, overdo it or slip into caricature and, well, yuck. Hempel navigate this with real skill, delivering a brave and honest performance of Dan that doesn’t minimise the disability, but categorically preserves the humanity and dignity of the character. And sure, a lot of that is there in the writing, but still, it could have gone horribly wrong, and it didn’t and Hempel deserves a lot of credit for that.

Overall, it’s a superb narration of a gloriously fun horror story, and I really enjoyed revisiting the claustrophobic arcade of Zero Lives Remaining.

  • High Moor 3: Blood Moon

  • By: Graeme Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Chris Barnes
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

The war has begun...As the humans make their move against the werewolf threat in their midst, and civil war threatens to break the pack apart, John and Marie struggle to free the only person who can unite the werewolf factions against their common enemy: Marie's brother, Michael. However, their efforts may be for nothing. As tensions mount, the Moonborn prepare to combat the human aggression with an assault of their own; an attack that could spell doom for both man and werewolf alike.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic werewolf trilogy

  • By Kerry N. on 23-12-15

Superb horror sequel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-16

Moonstruck is a direct and immediate sequel to the novel Moonstruck – to the point where I can't imagine this story working at all in a stand alone capacity. That said, go and read/listen to High Moor, because it's pretty awesome.

When I say direct, Moonstruck begins mere hours after the closing dramatic events of High Moor, and wastes no time at all in moving the story forward. High Moor was a deeply assured and well plotted action horror thriller, and Moonstruck takes that ball and runs with it. At the emotional core of this book are a love story and a revenge narrative, which put two not unsympathetic groups onto a brutal collision course.

The plotting was a high point of the previous story, and for my money it's even tighter here – the narrative is dense but lethally easy to follow, and there is a real pleasure and tension in feeling the various characters and factions driving towards each other. Knowing just what the werewolves are capable of actually increases the pressure in this regard, and as with High Moor, Reynolds does a superlative job of building a scene to a dramatic climax, then cutting away to another character or group. It's confident, assured storytelling, and that confidence is well earned.

This novel also contains some truly spectacular action horror sequences. There's an attempted hijacking of a moving police van which is just an exemplar of how to create a cinematic action scene in prose – not a word overused or out of place, tension building to a brilliantly realised explosion of violence and chaos. Similarly, the violence of the werewolves against humans is unflinchingly portrayed. Another element I found as a step up from this work to the previous one was the occasional overuse of certain phrases, during the fights and the werewolf transformation scenes, seems to have been addressed, leaving the eye (or in this case, the ear) nothing to snag over as the relentless horror unfolds.

Any downsides? Not really. I missed the kids from the last book, but their story had been told. I guess the only other thing is that, as with the last story, this one ends on a brutal cliffhanger, that will leaving you howling for part three.

Chris Barnes does another bang up job as narrator – in fact, if anything, this is a more assured performance than the last audiobook in this series. Whilst Chris still seems to struggle a little with the American accents, he's clearly working hard at it, with a noted improvement over the last instalment. As to the rest, there's a feeling that Barnes has really gotten into the character work here, finding the essence of each person and bringing to each a vocal performance that is distinct, without ever overpowering the reading. Again, there is sparing but appropriate use of sound effects on voices when characters use phones or radios to talk, which adds a layer of verisimilitude to the reading. Like the writing, this is assured, skilful narration from a performer clearly dedicated to his craft. Superb stuff.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

High Moor
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Graeme Reynolds
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Chris Barnes
    
    


    
    Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
    37 ratings
    Overall 4.4
  • High Moor

  • By: Graeme Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Chris Barnes
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

When John Simpson hears of a bizarre animal attack in his old home town of High Moor, it stirs memories of a long forgotten horror. John knows the truth. A werewolf stalks the town once more, and on the night of the next full moon, the killing will begin again. He should know. He survived a werewolf attack in 1986, during the worst year of his life. It’s 1986 and the town is gripped in terror after the mutilated corpse of a young boy is found in the woods.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A story to get your teeth stuck into.

  • By James on 22-10-13

A werewolf tale with bite and heart

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-15

Any additional comments?

High Moor is a complex, tightly plotted werewolf story, split between 1986 and the present day. The narrative follows a group of children living in the town of High Moor during what proves to be a very eventful summer, before pivoting to the here and now for the conclusion.

The children of High Moor are incredibly well realised – well rounded, pleasingly un-PC and just the right side of amoral. The dialogue between them crackles with authenticity, and the characters of the different children are swiftly drawn with great skill. I found myself very quickly getting to know and like these kids – they felt very real, very unsentimental. This drew me in immediately, and when bad things inevitably started to happen, I felt invested in the outcome.

Reynolds also does an exceptional job with his action sequences (of which there are many). He has a talent for keeping the focus where it needs to be – I found myself picturing these scenes as movies – and the horror is visceral and intense but never histrionic or overblown. Similarly, the plotting throughout is superb. There are times when the story reads almost as an action thriller, in that he has a genius for cutting away at a climactic point, which kept me keenly engaged. Again, it's testament to the plotting that this works as well as it does – even as I was impatient to get back to the cliffhanger, I was fascinated to see how the other characters were fairing. The story is dense, and the interweaving of the various characters plot lines is one of the strengths of the story.

The werewolves themselves are also well written, with the descriptions of their point of view vivid and evocative. My only minor issue was an over-reliance on certain phrases during the transformation scenes, but once the beasts are mobile, the storytelling is superb.

Overall, High Moor is a great read – well realised characters, exquisite plotting, and strong action horror. One note of warning though: The ending is a brutal cliffhanger that not only does not resolve the story but will left me impatient for more. This is unambiguously the first book of a trilogy, so don't go in expecting resolution.

Regarding the audio aspect, for the most part narrator Chris Barnes does a grand job. His Scottish accent is distinct but utterly clear – as someone who can struggle with thicker regional access, I found the entire story totally intelligible. He has a powerful and seemingly instinctive sense of pacing, which allows the action sequences to flow without either becoming rushed or dragging. He also acquits himself well for the most part with the various regional accents of the characters, though he does struggle somewhat with the lone American character.

There are also some subtle but deft audio techniques employed which added to my absorption in the tale – a use of effect when characters talk on the phone or via walkie talkie gave an added verisimilitude to the telling of the story, without being intrusive or showy.

Overall this audiobook was an immersive and captivating experience. Providing you know in advance this is only part one of a larger story, I would happily recommend this fine action horror novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful