Themes: / suspense / thriller / horror /
In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
I think last year’s Joyland was one of my favorite Stephen King novels in awhile, meaning this book had a lot to live up to. I don’t this one is nearly as good, but I think most fans of Mr. King will find this enjoyable. Most of the novels by Mr. King I read have some sense of the fantastical to them. This one doesn’t. It’s straight up horror/thriller. No supernatural beings or unexplained phenomena here. That might be why I didn’t like it as much.
The premise is pretty straightforward. A decorated retired cop whose depression is suddenly shelved after being taunted by the perpetrator of one his most high profile unsolved cases. The killer murdered a crowd of people, including a baby using a big stolen gray Mercedes. They are a lot of psychological elements as both cop and criminal attempt to out think one another. While the majority of the story is told from Retired Detective Bill Hodges point of view, we are also given numerous chapters told from the killer’s perspective as well.
The story itself is nothing that special. Where this book shines (as usual) is in the characters. Mr. King always seems to write the most realistic and interesting characters. They aren’t necessarily someone you’d want to hang out with or even know, but they are the type that make it hard to look away (or in this case stop listening to the book).
Holly and Jerome are both memorable characters to add depth to the duel between our retired detective and the killer who got away. I especially enjoyed Holly’s character.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, but far from a must read.
Will Patton seems to be an excellent fit for this story. His natural reading voice just seems to suit the tone of the book. He doesn’t really do voices, but you can tell his characters apart. I’m not sure how I’d like him as a narrator in general, but for this book, he’s an excellent choice.
Review by Rob Zak.
Themes: / dystopia / reproduction / romance / near future / suspense / thriller /
Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.
Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.
In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men – one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which….
This audiobook kept me listening until I finished. I couldn’t stop! Comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood are unavoidable with this book, but in this world where women are valued and imprisoned in order to bear children, M.D. Waters has also added in an element of romance. This means descriptions of the men Emma is interested in, and sex. I don’t mind romance, but I think if I were a woman being controlled and manipulated by men, I would be less obsessed with marriage and sex. But Emma has very little memory, and at first no reason not to trust her husband. All she wants is to get past her accident and back to normal life. She can’t fully recover because of her dreams.
I can’t say much more without giving it away, and the best part about the book is how all the details are revealed. Archetype is suspenseful and creepy up until the end, and the end leads nicely into the setup for the next novel (Prototype) while being its own self-contained story.
I enjoy Khristine Hvam as a narrator – I had listened to her performance of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and her voice is well suited to a near-future dystopian romance.
Posted by Jenny Colvin
The SFFaudio Podcast #216 – The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe, recorded by Paul Michael Garcia for Spoken Freely: Going Public In Shorts.
Experience Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling short tale of the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition.
The story is also available on Downpour.com right now.
Previously, Gabrielle de Cuir’s narration of Prince Bull by Charles Dickens is HERE. And next up, will be Dick Hill’s narration of Two Illuminating Stories: The Story Of The Bad Little Boy, and The Story Of The Good Little Boy by Mark Twain, that’s HERE.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Talked about on today’s show:
Xe is a family name, xenon, a rare poisonous gas, a noble gas, the Going Public project, poems, stories, D.H. Lawrence, Banned Books Weeks, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Peter Davies, Little Fictions, Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper, first person narration, changing sides, Herland, The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe, suspense, Paul Michael Garcia, 36 stories, 1 essay, Simon Vance, 1 speech, Dion Graham, Abraham Lincoln, blog hopping throughout the month of June, Downpour.com, verklempt, Xe Sands narrates literary fiction, general fiction, and romance, beefcake, a melodramatic emotional journey, Magnificence, The Vanishers, The Bostonians by Henry James, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, Three Days To Dead, Hexes and Hemlines, cozy mysteries, Washington, Juliet Blackwell, a familiar pig, literary fiction vs. general fiction, W.W. Norton, Anton Chekhov, Digital Divide: Writings for and Against Facebook, YouTube, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking by Mark Bauerlein, the culture of SoundCloud, bulletin board systems, here’s what happens when a spider lands on you when you’re recording a love theme, Xe Sands on Twitter is @xesands, coffee, how to start on Twitter, pre-reading, pronunciation, questions, post-apocalyptic Seattle, Tarnished And Torn, The Cursed (League of the Black Swan, #1) by Alyssa Day, Reachout And Read, Cassandra Campbell, Dick Hill, Mark Twain, Luke Daniels, Philip K. Dick, Kevin Hearne, Patrick Lawlor, The Lottery Ticket by Anton Chekov, next year?, LittleFiction.com, Amanda Leduc.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Themes: / horror / suspense / quitting smoking /
“Dick Morrison’s life has become a nightmare of addictions, filling his days with overeating, overworking, and smoking way too much. When an old friend tells him about a surefire way to quit, he’s more than willing to give it a shot. But what Dick doesn?t know is that Quitters, Inc. demands a high price from anyone who strays from their rigid rules?like a few volts of electricity for the nearest and dearest…or maybe a missing thumb? Forced to choose between his desperate need for cigarettes and the dire consequences of giving in to his addiction, Dick must decide just how important another drag really is.”
Stephen King’s short story “Quitter’s Inc.” was originally featured in the author’s 1978 anthology Night Shift, which also included the story “Children of the Corn.” The audiobook version of “Quitter’s Inc.” features Academy Awards nominated Eric Roberts (actress Julia Roberts’ brother) and was originally released by Phoenix Audio as part of Otto Penzler’s “Greatest Mysteries of All Time” series.
Soft jazz accompanies the initial narrative complementing a bar scene conversation between the main character Dick Morrison and an old buddy. Dick’s let himself go, smoking, overeating, etc. His friend Jim leaves him a card for Quitters, Inc; a low-profile firm that helped him quit smoking using secret techniques. Eventually, Dick’s curiosity gets the better of him and the story details the firm’s unorthodox techniques. The soft jazz picks up again later in the story during a segment that quickly highlights later scenes from Dick’s life and again at the conclusion.
The story is approximately 45 minutes and can be easily enjoyed in one listening session from a single CD.
Review by Dan VK
Xe Sands recorded this classic horror story as a Halloween treat – and we certainly appreciate it, but I couldn’t help but laugh the maniacal laughter of a monomaniac when I learned that although the story was indeed originally published in October, 170 years ago, it was actually published as a Christmas story!
The Pit And The Pendulum was first published in The Gift, a Christmas And New Year’s Present for 1843.
And here’s Byam Shaw’s chilling illustration, again not particularly Christmasy, from Selected Tales Of Mystery:
Posted by Jesse Willis