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Summary

The lifetime story of a boy and his monster.

When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, screaming, Toby felt that he'd been lucky to escape with his life.

Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It's his own special secret - something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn't want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he's being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems...

From Jeff Strand, the author of Pressure, comes the story of a macabre, decades-long friendship. A relationship that will last their entire lives, through times of happiness, tragedy, love, loss, madness, and complete darkness.

©2010 Jeff Strand (P)2016 Jeff Strand

What listeners say about Dweller

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Great find

To be honest I picked this title based on the cover expecting a goofy slasher fest.
Instead I got an eerily relatable story about a social outcast whose only friend in the world is a 7ft tall creature in the woods.
Together they weather lifes ups and downs and stick together for better or worse(usually worse)
I recommend this to anyone who's interested in an unconventional tale of growing up, friendship and horror.

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Profile Image for Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
  • Natalie @ ABookLoversLife
  • 16-01-17

I can't even...

This book was..... I don't even know what it was. It was brilliant, it was gripping, it was heartbreaking, it was creepy, it was .... it was a heartbreaking horror!! Unlike anything I've read in a long time!!

Ok, so we have a Toby, who is 8 and is being badly bullied. He doesn't really have any friends and is a loner, as such. He goes into the forest behind his house and ventures further than he ever went before. He finds a monster, there isn't any other word to describe the hairy thing that has lots of teeth and claws! He runs home screaming but his parents think it's his imagination. Toby thinks that maybe it was and ventures back in there. Again he sees the same monster but this time Toby tries to talk to it. What follows is a story of a boy and his best friend Owen. the monster who lives in the woods.

As I said, this book is unlike anything I've read before. While it does have gorey bits, I mean Owen is a monster and it does get bloody at times, this isn't just a horror story. This follows Toby from when he first meets Owen, and tells the story of his lifetime, through all the bad and some good times. From the younger Toby and the bullies he faces, to Toby's first love, to the older Toby and the way his life turned out, through it all we follow his friendship with Owen and the impact it has on him and others.

This was an engrossing and addicting read and one I devoured! I had so many emotions whilst reading, my heart broke for both Toby and Owen so many times! How can an author make you feel so much for these characters!!! Well, this author certainly can. He doesn't sugarcoat anything, yet you find yourself rooting for Toby and Owen and wanting them to be Ok. I want to get into the story but I really don't want to spoil anything for you!!! This book will gobble you up and spit you out as a sniveling mess. I can not recommend it enough!!!

Go grab this book right now and find out what happens when your best friend is a monster!

This isn't the first book narrated by Scott Thomas that I've listened to, nor will it be my last. He is phenomenal! He portrays Toby perfectly and even though Owen doesn't really talk, he still manages to bring him across brilliantly too. I was enthralled while listening and didn't want it to end. A narrator I can highly recommend.

*I received this for free but voluntarily reviewed it. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.*

15 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for mel
  • mel
  • 07-02-17

Surprisingly touching

What made the experience of listening to Dweller the most enjoyable?

I most enjoyed how attached I felt torward Owen. It seemed like he was living on such a fine edge of happiness and sadness. Every time things were going well, they would be ruined. I felt oddly sorry for him and the fact his life had been so drastically altered and out of his control.

What other book might you compare Dweller to and why?

None are even close that I have read.

What about Scott Thomas’s performance did you like?

He was fantastic. His portrayal of Owen was very good and his voice for Toby conveyed the insecurity and feelings of inferiorority that seems to define him.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It certainly made me laugh and there were heartbreaking moments that just broke my heart but, I didn't cry.

Any additional comments?

This book was gifted to me by the author for an honest review and it turned out to be a great story. I was far more invested in the characters than I thought would be possible and I am very glad I gave this book a chance.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Spooky Mike
  • Spooky Mike
  • 17-07-20

AMAZING. Beautiful and Horrific at the same time

Typically I would spend a lot of time thinking about what to write for the review of such and awesome book. Honestly, I don't know that there is anything I could say that hasn't already been said about this book and I think 5 stars across the board is half as many as this deserves. Jeff Strand is an amazing writer and this book definitely soared to my top 5 for the year. If you are unfamiliar with Strand's work you are missing out on a really great author. Don't think I have ever been so moved by a horror story before, Strand really go inside me a just pulled every string he could find.

Scott Thomas pairs incredibly well with Strand and if you like this book I encourage you to check out some of their other collaborations, notably the Wolf Hunt series. I know I wouldn't have had the same feelings about this book if Thomas hadn't narrated it.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jonathan
  • Jonathan
  • 29-01-17

A poignant tale of lifelong friendship

Dweller is the story of a lifelong friendship between Toby, a human, and Owen, a furry, flesh-eating monster, talons and fangs and all, who lives in the woods by Toby's house.

They first become friends at age 15. Toby is a loner, a teenager with poor social skills and no friends. He is even bullied at school on a regular basis. Owen (the name Toby gives his monster friend) lives alone in a cave in the woods. He has no family of his own.

The two strike up an unlikely friendship, even though Owen is a man-eater and cannot speak. Toby and Owen get past their initial misunderstanding and fear of each other and manage to communicate by way of hand signals.

Toby begins visiting Owen in his dwelling regularly, bringing him food, sharing his hardships with him. When two bullies from school follow Toby into the woods, the story turns dark--as might be expected from a Jeff Strand novel. After all, you can't have a man-eating monster friends without it leading to all sorts of trouble.

The story follows the two friends as they age. There are loves and losses, triumphs and defeats, romance and happiness on the heels of loneliness and sadness. Yet the friendship persists, against all odds.

Jeff Strand is often billed a horror novelist, but this book is not your typical horror fare. There are grisly scenes, but those are secondary to the story itself, which is beautiful, sensitive, tender, and poignant.

The writing is superb, the buildup of the friendship realistic, the emotional connection you will feel toward Owen and Toby will be strong. You will suffer and exult with them. You will feel their frustrations and joy.

Scott Thomas, who has narrated a number of Strand books, does a fantastic job as always. He is the perfect voice for Jeff Strand novels.

Get Dweller. It's a special, even unique story and a wonderful audiobook.

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 23-01-17

A boy and his monster

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book: a unique blend of coming of age with horror. The book began to lose credibility as the main character grows into adulthood and, dimwitted to the point of annoyance, makes some unbelievable choices when he tries to combine his two worlds which detracts from the relationship between human and monster. The narrator added to the story. I received this audio book for free in exchange for an honest review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LJM VO
  • 20-01-17

A Very Different Kind of Story

I was given this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review via Audiobook Boom!

That being said, this is probably a book I would not have purchased on my own but would have been worth the credit. I'm just not sure what genre it fits into, Horror I suppose.

It starts out with an eight-year-old Toby, kind of a loser type of kid that meets Sasquatch (at least that's what comes to mind) in the woods around his house. At first, he is terrified, but since Toby is such a misfit, the monster, who he names Owen, become best friends. The story follows the two characters throughout their lives into old age. Jeff Strand does an excellent job of making you feel a complete range of emotions, for both Toby and Owen. Pity, disgust, anguish. Love, hate, fear, anxiety-it's all there.

I loved Scott Thomas's narration. The whiny, kind of dimwitted voice of Toby was perfect. It made me feel like I wanted to shake him and scream "grab a clue you loser!" Get a life. I mean when your best friend is a monster, wouldn't that be an indication to the average (normal) person that maybe you are having a problem relating to real people?

And poor Owen. He was so pathetic. Even though he ate people, the voice Scott Thomas gave him made me feel so sad, as I would feel for someone or something I knew was so mentally challenged that there would never be a way to 'fix' him. The only person he had was Toby and Toby was so flawed that you knew Owen was doomed from the start. It broke my heart.

So, I would very much recommend this book. A story that grabs you from the start and holds you until the end!

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Elle Kay
  • Elle Kay
  • 19-01-17

Mediocre

I really, REALLY, wanted to like this book, but alas, it was a struggle for me to get through the last 2 hours. Dweller starts out great, with Toby being just a child that is relentlessly bullied until he befriends a monster in the woods. However, I really dislike the protagonist. As Toby gets older he just becomes a pitiful adult that is severely uninspiring. He maintains his friendship with Owen (the monster) throughout his life, but Toby’s life is just so uneventful and terribly boring. I really enjoyed the interactions between Toby and Owen, but that is the only saving aspect of this book. Many of their moments together are pretty adorable and somewhat touching, but at the same time, Toby mainly goes to Owen to inform his monster companion about the lackluster mundanities of his life. Toby eventually gets a family of his own later on, but I found no reason whatsoever to care about them either. They’re too normal and boring, and Toby basically goes to Owen to tell him about his blasé wife and children.

As for he narration, it’s outstanding! I’m kind of a Scott Thomas fangirl, so I’m not surprised that his performance is so great for this book. He uses a whiney and almost nasally intonation for Toby, and while I can absolutely envision that’s what the protagonist would sound like, it just made me dislike Toby so much more.

I have listened to 3 other books written by Jeff Strand and all 3 were incredible, so I suppose I just had really lofty expectations for Dweller. I would classify this book more as slice of life [with a monster] than a horror.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for timj26
  • timj26
  • 28-07-20

Loved it

If Disney was to make extreme horror this would be it
A fantastic story with excellent narration highly recommended
I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for PattyH
  • PattyH
  • 06-06-17

Dweller

Not all monster are bad. This story is about an 8 year old who befriends a monster living in the wood by his house.
The book is well written and will keep your interest from the first page to the last.

Scott Thomas is perfect for narrating this book. his voice(s) are good and easy to listen to. I look forward to hearing more of his work

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Tracy64
  • Tracy64
  • 24-05-17

Very, very good! Great surprise. I loved it!

Was skeptical at first and wasn't sure what to expect. The author had perfect progression in this story. Narration was spot on. Not your typical "Monster" story. You will always love family, though you may not always like what they do and that love can go a long way in excusing many deeds, even horrific ones.... You'll understand what I mean at the end.
Worth the credit or the price. I'll be looking for more by this author. Love surprises like this one. Listened in one sitting.

1 person found this helpful