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The Reaping

Paperbacks from Hell, Book 3
Narrated by: Hannibal Hills
Series: Paperbacks from Hell, Book 3
Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Summary

When Tom Rigby is commissioned to paint a young woman’s portrait at Woolvercombe House, the offer is too lucrative to refuse. But from the moment of his arrival at the secluded country mansion, strange and inexplicable events begin to transpire.

Soon, he is drawn into an impenetrable maze of horror, and by the time he discovers the role he is intended to play in a diabolical design, it will already be too late. For, the seeds of evil have been sown, and the time to reap their wicked harvest is nigh!

A classic novel by ’70s and ’80s horror master Bernard Taylor, The Reaping (1980) is now available as an audiobook.

Praise for The Reaping:

"Move over, Stephen King!" (New York Daily News)

"Draws the reader into a web that grows gradually tighter with each turn of the page!" (Booklist)

"Taylor works wizardry again!" (Publishers Weekly)

©1980 Bernard Taylor (P)2019 Valancourt Books LLC

What listeners say about The Reaping

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Vintage 80s Horror

I love old-school horror and sci-fi and this book was right up my alley.
There is a general menace present throughout the book and never a dull moment. Great character build ups and although quite a slow burner of a book pacing wise, this is such a fun read. There are hints throughout about what is going on and the ending is genuinely creepy and utterly weird. Although not horrific or gory like most modern horror books, this is more of a slow build up which I find more effective rather than using the usual scare tactics.
Hannibal Hills is a great narrator for these types of novels.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request via Audioboom and have voluntarily left this review.

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Well written occult story

This is a surprisingly well written gothic occult story. The story builds slowly, but there was enough going on to keep me interested and wonder what was happening. There is a definite feeling of foreboding running throughout. Although it was written and is set in 1980 it had an older feel to it. If it hadn't been for the odd 70s/80s reference I might have thought it was set many years earlier. The first half of the book is a sort of gothic romance, but then in the second half it becomes more of a mystery and the proper horror/occult comes in the last 25%.

I liked Thomas, the main character, and was rooting for him as he tried to work out what the hell was going on in that creepy house.

The narration by Hannibal Hills was absolutely perfect for the book. He's one of my favourite narrators of this genre of audiobooks.

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Rather slow but not too bad

It is worth remembering that this was originally published in 1980 but it's slow even by the standard of that decade, it's a long winded and mostly boring story about a gullible man who ignores every single strange occurence and often repeats himself and other characters sentences (which is infuriating). He does, however, manage to bumble his way out of the unsurprising ending.

Narrator does a reasonable job.

I received a review copy free of charge, in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

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  • Spooky Mike
  • 22-11-19

Seeds of Evil Will be Sown

I thought this story was entertaining. I thought it was a slow burn with a slight pop at the end but was an enjoyable story. I liked trying to figure out what was going on more so than actually finding it out. I pretty much pegged what the goal was early on, although the journey of getting there was not at all what I thought and was quite surprising. Fans of 80’s suspense horror that isn’t full of gore and touches on cults and provides some decent thrills.

The overall plot wasn’t extremely original but the way it was told was. I liked how the plot unfolded and while I was really hoping for a bigger ending, I was happy with the final reveal. I just wish the ending wasn’t so abrupt and that there was a little follow up. I put this one down as an easy horror to listen to. Even the sexual scenes, which most horror authors put graphic details in, were tame. The best part of the story was the writing. I really enjoyed listening to the words and thought they were strung together to put the perfect image in my head.

The characters were quite engaging. My favorite was Miss Stewart. She definitely had the macabre factor and the few encounters with her had me completely creeped out. The room Berndard sets up for her coupled with the descriptions Tom gives kinda grossed me out. When she goes for a walk around the room I was thinking I couldn’t do that. Would have called it quits and walked out. Carl also got a bit under my skin. The vision I had of him, especially when he was helping Tom relax, was like that of an ancient vampire, all skinny with long bony fingers and a smirk that will haunt your dreams.

As he does with all of his narration, Hannibal Hills continues to bring the story to life. I love his character voices and the emotion he puts into the characters is palpable. If you want to be taken for a ride on a suspenseful thriller, look no further.

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Deedra
  • 01-06-20

The Reaping

This was a wonderful trip back to the horror filled books of the 1980's.We have a painter with a commision that is located in a strange place.There is a lot of intrigue with nuns and people in the village.The suspense goes right to the end so I won't spoil it.Hannibal Hills was an excellent narrator.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.' 

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bjorn Smars
  • 24-04-20

Really fun!

I've read 6 of the 10 books in Valancourt Books's Paperbacks From Hell line, and they have all been so much fun. This one is no exception! Some of these books are schlocky, some are uncanny, some are outright gross, but they're all well-written (for the most part), and I've enjoyed them all.

Of all the books in the Paperbacks from Hell line, this one felt most similar to the horror novels of the 1960's, including The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, and The Stepford Wives. It's the kind of horror where domestic family spaces (the home, for example) at the beginning seem "normal," but as the story progresses, cracks in the facade begin to widen in uncanny ways, revealing the darkness underneath.

Be forewarned, however, that there is quite a bit of sex, and some of it is... uncomfortable. I'll stop now so as not to give anything away.

I enjoyed this book immensely! If you're already interested in reading it, I suggest you do so.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-01-20

A must-listen

This absolutely gripping story set in the British countryside is rendered all the more effective by its incredible reading from Hannibal Hills. Neither too feverish or muted, the reader definitely elevates what already is great. Horror fans of all stripes will love this one. Valancourt is doing fantastic work!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Barks Books
  • 13-12-19

Treat yourself to this old timey horror madness

I received this book as part of Valancourt’s “Paperbacks From Hell” subscription plan and I also received it in for review consideration as an audio and I have NO regrets!

I am so thrilled Valancourt Books exists and that they are bringing these dusty old tomes back from the dead! Many of these books were first released in the 70’s and early 80’s and I have such gaps in my horror history because I missed so much. When I was kid I read Koontz and King and McCammon but didn’t branch out much further than Barker and Brite until many years later.

The Reaping is a classic late 70’s/early 80’s story. I believe it was first published in 1980 but it has the feel of a late 70’s horror flick. The plot reveal is SO ridiculous and I LOVED it.

Tom is a 40 something artist with 4 kids and a deceased wife. He hasn’t been able to pursue his art due to family obligations but don’t feel too bad for him. He has a successful business, a hot young 20-something girlfriend and a sister who takes care of all of those kids and seems quite happy to do it without complaint. She is very unlike me, haha. Anyhow, after a lackluster art showing, Tom receives an offer to paint a portrait of some eccentric old lady’s young relative. He balks at first because he’s supposed to go on a trip with his girlfriend. When the girlfriend ditches him for a job, he decides to accept the commission and heads out to a secluded old mansion where he is to stay for a week or two. This is when things start to get weird.

He hears strange sounds in the night, there are young ladies wandering the property in nun’s habits and the old lady is a prickly creature who is rude and very creepy. But Tom doesn’t let it bother him. He does his job and does some other stuff which I shall not reveal and then heads back to his life. But his time at the mansion will follow him home!

This starts off a little slow but it’s most definitely worth sticking it out through all of Tom’s pre-mansion day to day events and girlfriend woes. I liked the slow build and the mundane day in the life bits. These things are sorely missing from a lot modern day books. It helps you understand Tom before the madness begins. I also liked the fact that the kids weren’t involved in most of the scenes. When I learned that he had four little kids I probably groaned a little out loud because I feared hearing all of those kid voices for hours on end. But no worries because this was a tight little story about Tom and the mess he finds himself in.

I figured out one major thing before it was revealed and I bet everyone else who has seen a few early horror movies will too but the why, the what’s and the wtf’s that followed made it such a joy to read. None of it makes a heck of a lot of sense but somehow it all works out in the end due to the fantastic storytelling. You’ll have to go with the flow with this one and don’t ask pesky questions like “how the heck would that work?!”

Easy recommend if you’re looking for some crazy horror fun. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Hannibal Hills (and isn’t that the best name?!) and it truly enhanced my enjoyment of the story. He has a gently accented voice that I could probably listen to all day long. His women and children voices aren’t totally cringy which is something I appreciated and his male voices are perfection. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for his name again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David
  • 26-11-19

Slow Burn That Will Sit With You For Days

I received this audiobook free at my request and am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Reaping is a great old school suspenseful horror tale that will keep you guessing, and looking behind you in the dark. Excellent narration and a slow build to a satisfying finale, fans of classic horror will definitely enjoy this one. 5 Stars!

1 person found this helpful

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  • beckynmatt
  • 24-10-19

Great listen!

Narration was great, characters and plot worked nicely together... all in all an enjoyable listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • 25-01-20

Folk Horror Fun

Strangeness, mystery and subterfuge abound in Woolvercombe House. A fun engaging folk horror story about fear, regret and longing. I practically listened to it straight through.

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  • Al
  • 31-12-19

One for fans of Hammer Horror

I received a free audible copy from the author with the expectation of an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Tom Rigsby is a successful owner of a paint supply store. He is a widowed father, lives with his sister and has a semi-serious girlfriend. While his life has certainly not been all fun and games, these days, Tom is doing okay. His relationship with his oft away girlfriend is strained at the moment, but life is otherwise good. Then, one day, he gets a request to paint a portrait at a country estate, and after deliberating, finds it too hard to pass up. This sends Tom down a path that threatens to tear his comfortable life apart. Here’s my thoughts on this horror tale:

By the stars, this is possibly the most 70s/80s British story I’ve ever read/heard, and I grew up with BBC and UTV. This by no means makes it bad. In fact, this is quite a treat for fans of the old Hammer Horror movies and series. Like me.

I live to give the narrator some kudos for audiobooks (assuming they deserve them), but I found the awesomely named Hannibal Hills to be the driving force of the whole show, more so even than the story itself. His portrayal of Tom as his life begins to crash around him is top notch. He portrays a relatively large array of accents and personalities well, and pushes the pace. If I had one gripe, and we must have one, some of the women sound more like dockworkers, and it temporarily sends the plot in a different direction, when it shouldn’t really

It’s a slow build, which in horror novels can send people off to sleep, and The Rea;ing lacks the creeping dread of some of its counterparts. That being said, it’s a solid, if unoriginal, story, and a tale one could sit and sip tea while reading. It’s not overly long - I got through it in a couple of days

I must be honest, Tom seems to be a bit of a bonehead, and is as much the catalyst for his own failures as the overarching scheme he is being trapped in. At times I felt like screaming at him, as some of the twists of the plot were glaringly obvious, but that probably would not have ended well for me. Probably better than it did for him though

Certainly not the scariest of horrors, although definitely enjoyable. To be honest, I think this story would have translated better to TV, or perhaps even a low budget movie. 

Verdict

Solid, but unspectacular, if you like your horror with a bit of a bang, then this is not for you. If you like the everyman struggling against not particularly arcare forces, then check out...The Reaping (cool title, by the way).




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  • Marcus
  • 21-12-19

Creepy slow build

This book takes a bit of time to get to the heart of matters, but that's OK because the story-telling is superb and Hannibal Hills does an amazing job at bringing it to life.

Our protagonist is brought out to a creepy old estate in the English Countryside -- ostensibly to paint a portrait -- but who the heck knows the real reason. It was interesting to see how this story progressed without the typical tropes one might expect here, though I could have done with more frights.

As mentioned, things did take a bit to get going, and at one point I thought there was no supernatural aspect to this at all. There was in the end, but the story was still decent without it.

Still, definitely worth a listen. The 7 hours flew on by.