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AUDIOBOOKS: Halloween audiobooks

By Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 Arts & Entertainment

Halloween is just around the corner, so set the mood with these four audiobooks, including one for the kiddies. All titles are available to download from www.audible.com.

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase
Jonathan Stroud; Read by Miranda Raison
Listening Library; 8 CDs; 10 hours and 10 minutes; $50

This first entry in Stroud’s series about a London inhabited by ghosts and ghoulies is fast-paced, addictive fun. Narrated in the first person by teenage protagonist Lucy Carlyle, she is one of those gifted few who help to rid the British of The Problem, those malevolent spirits who can do much harm. It’s partly scary, partly witty and flavored with a hint of steampunk. Lucy joins the magnetic Anthony Lockwood and his churlish partner, George, helping them solve a case that requires they survive the night in one of the most haunted houses in England  Narrator Raison has a lilting British accent and various voices that add depth to the story. Overall, this is smartly done and never panders to the grade-school set. Grade: A

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel; Read by Kirsten Potter
Random House Audio; 9 CDs; 10.5 hours; $40

This fourth novel by St. John Mandel begins when an actor playing King Lear in Toronto has a fatal heart attack, a small matter considering a flu pandemic is about to wipe out most of the world’s population. We are eventually connected to the main people in the life of said dead actor, though now there are no countries or governments, just small, scattered towns. We see much of this new dystopian world through the eyes of travelling actors and musicians who meander from town to town, mostly performing Shakespeare. Haunting, lyrical and surprisingly literary, we are reminded that merely surviving is never enough. Potter’s lush, polished manner and various vocal characterizations elicit both the bleakness and the hope in this novel. Grade: A-minus 

Everything’s Eventual
Stephen King; Read by Jay O. Sanders, Boyd Gaines, Oliver Platt, Judith Ivey, Justin Long, Becky Ann Baker, John Collum, Peter Gerety, Josh Hamilton, Arliss Howard, and Stephen King
Simon & Schuster Audio; 6 CDs; 7.5 hours; $14.99

Though this collection has been around for over 10 years, it’s well worth a second listen, if only for the title story, narrated with much brio by Long about a boy whose dream job turns out to be a nightmare. Included is “Riding the Bullet,” the world’s first mass-market ebook; and the novella “The Little Sisters of Eluria,” which harks back to the “Dark Tower” novels. This is a mixture of King’s more literary stylings and blood-tinglers, some humorous, some just outright scary.  Various snippets of music begin and end each story and the narrators are top-notch, especially Long, Ivy and Platt. The only misfire is King, whose narration of several stories can be irritating. Grade: B-plus

Broken Monsters
Lauren Beukes; Read by Christine Lakin, Terra Deva, Sunil Mohatra, Robert Morgan Fisher, JD Jackson
Hachette Audio; 11 CDs; 13.5 hours; $30

Set in present-day Detroit, Beukes almost successfully combines horror, detection, suspense and a dismally accurate look at urban decay. It’s just a bit over the top for one’s complete suspension of disbelief, but her descriptions and dialogues are so well written that you want to overlook the fact that it plays out like so much “Grand Guiginol.” Unfolding much like a crime novel featuring a stressed detective and single mother whose daughter figures into the serial killings, this imagines a city in which the art community is thriving, the infrastructure is decaying and a crazed artist is putting human bodies into his installments. All five narrators bring gritty humor, urban shadings, and impressive talent to their performances. Grade: B

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