What Are My Top 15 Horror Films?? — Derek Barton

Top 15 Horror

 

As a horror story writer, I do get this question put to me often.  I’m no expert on what makes a great film, but as a fan and a reader of horror fiction, I do know what makes me jump or gets under my skin.

One of the common elements I find in horror films is the overuse of “Jump Scares” — objects suddenly thrown, animals (especially cats for some reason) leaping for no reason out of the shadows or people appearing out of the thin air behind the main character.  “Jump Scares” as cheap and often detracting from the story in my opinion.  They can be done right, of course, like in the movie, Alien, when Dallas cannot find the creature supposedly right on him. He climbs down two steps of his ladder and there it is!

Another abused element is gore, especially in most of Rob Zombie’s films (fan of his music, not his movies!). Gore has its place — can you imagine the scene where Danny Torrance from The Shining rides alone on his Big Wheel then turns into the hallway with the mutilated twin girls without any blood or bodies? Wouldn’t have the same chilling effect. Yet if you constantly throw gore in my face I’m either going to get sickened or bored with it.

When I watch a horror movie, I want to be fully immersed in the tension of the movie, on the edge of my seat as I react to the character actions, and holding my breath as I see something the hero/heroine doesn’t see in the background!

My list has some surprises, but being that I am a Stephen King fanatic, well…some films won’t surprise you. I didn’t list films that I consider horror/comedies — Shaun of the Dead and Dale and Tucker vs Evil being some of my ultimate favorites. I wanted to do a list of true, classic horror.

Listed in last place to best of the best:

15# Scream — A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Not a completely great film, but I listed it due to its genre-expanding twists and the incredible performance by Drew Barrymore in the opening scene.

14# Don’t Breathe — Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.

Very intense suspenseful film.  Sad that this was based on an actual similar account where the homeowner lured teenage thieves and waited for them with loaded guns in the shadows of his basement. Burglary sucks but no one deserves death sentences for it.

Eye Poster

13# The Eye — A blind girl gets a cornea transplant so that she would be able to see again. However, she got more than what she bargained for when she realized she could even see ghosts.

This isn’t the bland remake done with Jessica Alba. This is the original Chinese film.  I can still feel the hair on my arms rise when I think about the ghost floating behind the woman in the elevator.  *Shudder!

12# The Grudge — An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

A film based in Tokyo and very well done! Superb acting and special effects that were unique (copied many times after!).  Used sound as extra way to horrify the audience — the groaning little boy was awesome!

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11# Autopsy of Jane Doe — A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.

A really creepy twist to a witch story. Freaky effects and intense up close and personal with a gray corpse makes for a great horror story.  I rank this as one of Brian Cox’s best roles as the father.

10# Nightmare on Elm Street — The monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Another film that broke through the genre’s cliche barriers. Actually based on an urban legend from Japan, Wes Craven delivered an unforgettable villain!

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9# Evil Dead (2013) — Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.

Yes, I have to say it, but I like the remake better than the original. Bruce Campbell is one of my favorite B-actors! So funny!! Yet, even the producers and writers of the films said that the remake was what they wanted to do with the original but just didn’t have the budget for and it came out pretty campy. Both have their place but overall this one was truly terrorizing and a better film. Viewer warning…a lot of gore in this one!

8# Saw — Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they’re pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Many people don’t like this film due to the torture aspects of it, but I have a spot in my top list for it due to the fact that one of the stars, Leigh Whannell, actually wrote the screenplay.  Kind of inspiring when a writer gets such a great response from his own work…

Ghost Poster

7# Ghost Story —  Two generations of men find themselves haunted by the presence of a spectral woman. When the son of one of the elderly men returns to his hometown after his brother’s mysterious death, they attempt to unravel her story.  

Probably not many people remember this sleeper hit, but it is still a great thrill and an epic tale of hidden guilt and revenge.

A QP poster

6# A Quiet Place — In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

Another inspiring horror story that was written by one of its stars, John Krasinski (from The Office fame).  He created such an elaborate and unique story that already clone-like films, The Bird Box and The Silence have tried to jump on the bandwagon. A sequel is in the works and I am very excited to see it!

5# Jaws — When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community, it’s up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

If you haven’t heard of this film or seen it, then I say “welcome to America!” as you must’ve just come here! LOL.  All kidding aside, award-winning acting from Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw.  It has aged well and yet to be outdone by any recent shark-themed movies. (Although I will say that The Shallows was pretty damn good too for a modern twist.)

4# Alien — After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

While this is a sci-fi film it has such a horror foundation that it is essential to the list of great horror films. Plus Sigourney Weaver turned in a surprise breakthrough performance which she will always be remembered for.

3# IT — In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.

This was one of my all-time favorite books by Stephen King, but other than Tim Curry’s amazing performance as Pennywise in the television mini-series, it had not been done well up to this point.  Liked this version, but would have been phenomenal had Tim Curry been the clown.  Still a great rendition of King’s book.

2# The Thing — A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Seeing this film was like walking in a haunted house for two hours. Gruesome effects to bring out the best scares in this classic and a twist almost at every turn.  Even its ending is still controversial and debated about who was what. And this was by far to me the best performance of Kurt Russel’s career.

Shin Poster

1# The Shining — A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. 

An epic film filled with iconic scenes like an elevator filled with blood to an ax thrusting threw a door inches from someone’s face. Truly a great terrifying film. Stephen King didn’t like this version and while I understand his reasons, it is still a jaw-dropping film with incredible performances by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.  The upcoming sequel, Doctor Sleep, should be a great look back to the film and I’m excited that they got Ewan McGregor in the lead role as Danny Torrance!

 

Honorable Mentions:

Brightburn — What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? (Aka. An Evil Superman)

The Ring — A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it. (Dorky story idea but really well told.)

Hereditary — After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets. (Some pretty original traumatic scenes.  Bit of a slow-burner though…)

Mama — A young couple take in their two nieces only to suspect that a supernatural spirit named Mama has latched itself to their family. (The ending on this one killed it for me. Up to then, it was a great film!)

Pet Sematary — After tragedy strikes, a grieving father discovers an ancient burial ground behind his home with the power to raise the dead. (Recently gave you my opinion on this one!  Click here for that blog review of the recent two film versions).

Silent Hill — A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill. (Great atmospheric horror film. What an incredible setting using a mining town that has been abandoned due to still burning fires below them?  Fog and ash drifting down…creatures leaping out from the smoke. Perfect fun!)

 

Movies I want to check out in the near future:

Us –– A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

Bone Tomahawk — In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town’s doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

Crawl — A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a Category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.

Are there better films than some of what I listed?  Maybe.  Sure probably. But it’s just my humble opinion and these were films that I remembered long after I had seen them. Some of the films just had one or two elements that I didn’t like that precluded them as well.  So, what I’m saying is, no nasty comments about what an idiot I am for forgetting such-an-such film.  I have my list, you can make yours! ha

NOW you have insight into what a horror story writer looks for when watching movies and reading books…and what we want to recapture in our own works!

Reviews of Audible Book AND 80s & 2019’s Movie Versions of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary — Derek Barton

PS VS PS

Pet Sematary

by Stephen King — Horror Novel

Released on November 14, 1983 — 561 pages

Narrated by Michael C. Hall (of the Dexter television series)

 

MOVIE ADAPTIONS:

1989 Pet Sematary — Screenplay written by Stephen King — Starring Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne & Denise Crosby

2019 Pet Sematary —  Screenplay written by Jeff Buhler — Starring Jason Clarke, John Lithgow & Amy Seimetz

 

This review post I wanted to do a little different as this book is one of my favorites from Stephen King and to some fans, the 1989 movie was one of the best movie renditions of his books.

Recently, King released a new audio version narrated by the talented Michael C. Hall who played the vigilante/serial killer on the HBO television hit, Dexter.  And this last April, the film reboot was made of Pet Sematary.  I felt it was fitting to give you a review of all three.

 

The Synopsis:

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes, dead is better

 

PET SEMATARY (1989)

The Review:

I will admit right now that I am very biased about this film for three reasons:  One – the late Fred Gwynne did an absolute stellar performance as Jud Crandall, the well-meaning neighbor, two – Dale Midkiff who starred as Louis Creed, the patriarch of the family as he gives a very emotional performance through the film and three – Brad Greenquist who plays the ill-fated jogger, Victor Pascow, who tries time and time again to warn Louis of the supernatural dangers.

These memorable characters and the roles they played in this tragic tale just stick with you long after you’ve read and/or seen the movie.  Jud Crandall a lifetime resident of Maine, comes to life on the screen with his thick Northeastern accent (“Ayup”) and quirky sayings like “The heart of a man is stonier, Louis.” And of course, “Sometimes…dead is better!”.

Overall, I have found this movie aged very well with the retelling, most of the acting and the physical special effects.

 

PET SEMATARY (2019)

 

The Review:

I applaud the effort this reboot made to give some new insight to the reasons why the Micmac Indians burial ground “soured” and became tainted with ghastly evil.  The writers delved a tad deeper into “the Wendigo” creature that traveled between our realm and the realm of the dead.  They also played up the enchantment the land held over the local children — how they had funeral marches and maintained the Pet Sematary grounds.

The other highlight they accomplished was a better version of Churchill, the Creeds’ cat (as seen above). Its evil stare would for sure lock you in your tracks should you ever come across it on your path.

However, those are the only two highlights for this version.  Very poor writing (I even wondered at times if Jeff Buhler even read the original book) as the plot veers erratically and key conversations and events in the book are just haphazardly placed in the film at times.

Another knock against the film is the underuse of John Lithgow’s incredible acting talent. Also, they took away the Jud Crandall accent as well as most of his character building interactions with Louis.  Instead of trying to scare the audience with Zelda, Rachel Creed’s dead sister, they should have focused on what made the 89 film a classic: its character stories.

This version tried too hard to introduce its own vague ideas (I won’t go into any detailed spoilers) but the unnecessary jump scares and changes to plot points were beyond annoying and the ending was over-the-top and frankly dumb.

 

PS Narr

 

The Narration:

Michael C. Hall was born February 1, 1971, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Michael is a graduate of NYU’s Master of Fine Arts program in acting. He is known for the titular character “Dexter” in Dexter (2006) and as mortician “David Fisher” in Six Feet Under (2001). His most recent performance on Broadway was as “Hedwig” in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

Battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma during his run on Dexter, but the disease has been in remission since January, 2010.

 

Michael does a fantastic job of the voices and the pacing of the story, even channeling Fred Gwynne to perform the classic version of Jud Crandall.  Choosing this actor who has a way of delivering great sarcasm with subtly was a great choice for this story.

The Rating:

In summary, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the original book and the audio version.  As well I would recommend seeing the 1989 film as it brings King’s suspense and dark undertones to the screen, but don’t waste your time and money on the new 2019 Pet Sematary.  Hollywood’s attempt to reboot or “resurrect” this story was a dismal failure… Or as Jud Crandall would say, “Dead is better.”

 

By DEREK BARTON — Author of the ELUDE series (Parts I, II & III — a Horror/crime thriller), IN FOUR DAYS: a Horror-Suspense Novella and co-author of The Hidden (all available on Amazon & Kindle).  Also author of the Dark Fantasy novel series CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS and THE BLEEDING CROWN (also available on Audible.com!).

 

 

From Start to Finish: 2018 — Derek Barton

NYE

As everyone who happens to read these blogs know, I have been using Bi-Monthly goals to keep me focused, motivated and productive.  Now since November, I have been a little non-plussed, to be honest with you. With very little book sales and only a few friends coming to book shows, it has made me question what to do next or what changes I can make to reach a bigger audience.  I am not planning on giving up, just looking for new steps to take.

While I am still researching the internet and watching YouTube videos on marketing, I don’t have any new answers…yet, but in the meantime, I thought I would look back and see just what I have done this year and if I am happy or not with 2018.

Complete Works

Works In Progress — Status as of January 2017

CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS AUDIOBOOK – This was still in the works, finalizing edits and mastering the audio quality.  The final version was released and published on Audible.com on June 25.  This was a fantastic first experience with audiobook production and I couldn’t be happier with the talent and skill my voice actress, Laura Richcreek-Morrison.  She has been currently working on The Bleeding Crown!  Voice actors like Laura and Charles Pendleton for my horror stories have taken my work to a whole new level!

THE BLEEDING CROWN – Four of my bi-monthly goals for January & February were to complete the 2nd waves of edit for the main body of work, complete the subplots for the manuscript (about 25,000 words), set up a marketing campaign (ads, etc) and start working on the book cover.  All was finalized and the completed book was published on June 26th.  (Side note:  I didn’t realize June had been so full this year! ha).  While sales have not been as plentiful, it has gotten a decent amount of 5 Star Reviews on Amazon.  I personally cherish the book as my favorite child so far (Elude is close second though!).  I have written almost 30,000 so far on the follow-up, Swimming In The Ashes (working title).  That might be out by the end of 2019, but no guarantees.

IN FOUR DAYS AUDIOBOOK – In April, I connected with Charles Pendleton and we agreed to work together on my modern paranormal/horror story.  He did a great job on it and we have seen some success with the sales on Audible.  It was released in August. Charles is also already working with me on the Elude series so stay tuned for that!

ELUDE PT #1 & PT #2 – In January I was still working on the first wave of edits for Part One!  As of August 31, it has been completed and published on Amazon and Kindle.  Part Two was published on October 19th.  I am working through the final Part Three and hope to have it published by February 2019.

THE HIDDEN – Released Chapter 7 on January 2nd.  Just this month released Chapter 23. This series looks to be wrapping up in a couple months as a complete web saga.  We, my father and I, will be working to get this put together and finalized for print within the upcoming year.  I have been developing several book cover ideas to start with.

Now to see some stats on the site’s growth:

BLOG COUNTS:

  • 2016 — 14 Monthly blogs completed
  • 2017 — 37 Monthly blogs completed
  • 2018 — 43 Monthly blogs completed (including this one)

NEW WEB SUBSCRIBERS:

  • 2016 — 7
  • 2017 — 17
  • 2018 — 24

VISITORS & COUNTRIES VIEWED IN:

  • 2016 — 204  & Countries — 8
  • 2017 — 809  & Countries — 31
  • 2018 — 895  & Countries — 39

4,239 Views in the three years!

TOP FIVE MOST VIEWED POSTS:

  1. Elude #1 with 72 views
  2. Steps on a New Path (Chapter One Blog for The Hidden) with 67 views
  3. Elude #2 with 47 views
  4. Audiobook Review of Stephen King’s “The Outsider” with 45 views
  5. Elude #3 with 43 views

New Additions to the Site were my Audible book reviews posts and my book giveaways which has been very successful.

So, overall a lot of work still hadn’t been published until the fall of this year — three books and two audiobook versions.  I hope to have two more audiobook versions out and possibly two more novels.  I have also had ideas percolating in the back of my mind for a new horror web saga for this site and a whole new trio of novels starting in Aberissc this time!  What I am saying is that there is a lot more work to be done and coming. 🙂

I also had a chance to get out and meet a few of you that were local at the book-signings in October, November and December.  That was a lot of fun and I do hope to continue this in the coming year.  On January 19th, come see me at:

1-19-19 SS

While I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to and I am still trying to find the right balance to get writing, work and fitness goals accomplished, I do see that the platform is actually growing.  Also, I should be fully recovered from my back injuries from the accident in August by mid-2019, so that should also help with my fitness.

Thanks especially to all that do support me and have taken an interest in my work.  I hope to keep bringing a smile to your face as you do mine!

Audible Book Review of Stephen King’s “The Eyes of the Dragon” — Derek Barton

Eyes of the Dragon 2018

The Eyes of the Dragon

by Stephen King — a Fantasy Novel

Released on December 8, 1987 — 384 pages

Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

 

I have been for over a year now getting Audible books so I decided I would review and share my opinion on some of them with you. Enjoy!

 

As I have stated in the past, Stephen King was and still is a big influence on my writing.  When he published a fantasy novel in the 80s, I had to read it as fantasy was also one of my favorite genres. I liked it, of course, back then, but I was only 17 at the time.  So, when I ran across the title a couple weeks ago, I found surprising that I could not remember anything about it.  I anxiously bought the audiobook as I had to see if the story still had the “same ol’ magic”.  Yeah, I know, pun and bad joke intended!

 

The Synopsis:

“Once, in a kingdom called Delain, there was a king with two sons….”

Thus begins one of the most unique tales that master storyteller Stephen King has ever written—a sprawling fantasy of dark magic and the struggle for absolute power that utterly transforms the destinies of two brothers born into royalty. Through this enthralling masterpiece of mythical adventure, intrigue, and terror, you will thrill to this unforgettable narrative filled with relentless, wicked enchantment, and the most terrible of secrets….

 

The Review:

One of the best things that King does in any of his novels is to draw you in by creating fascinating and yet relatable characters.  All of the story’s characters are very well developed and dynamic.  Many in the plot have their own agendas as well as their own drives.  The way he weaves the arch of the story at the same time illuminating the lives of the two princes keeps you glued to the intrigue that they find themselves caught up within.

There is a theory that all of Stephen King’s novels are connected in some fashion.  One of the more notable lynchpins is his infamous villain, Flagg.  Here he appears as the Court Wizard and King Roland’s closest counsel.  In the novel, The Stand, readers should recall in the post-apocalypse world, the evil entity known as Randall Flagg.  There is even a popular theory that the malicious, shape-changing clown in IT is really Flagg.  Just as Flagg did in these other stories, he creates blood-filled chaos and death wherever he treads.

The “hero’s journey” and the road to vindication that Prince Peter has to take is a great read and thrilling adventure.  And yes, there are horror elements in the tale and some dark parts that are classic Stephen King, but I did very much enjoy this fantasy tale once again and would highly recommend it.

 

The Narration:

Eyes of the Dragon Blog

Bronson Pinchot, a seasoned television and movie actor gives a fantastic rendition and his range of voices is very impressive.  The whispery voice of Flagg that he uses actually made goosebumps on my skin the first time I heard it, capturing the “seething evil under the surface” aspect of Flagg perfectly.

While widely known as the quirky actor from 80’s sitcom, Perfect Strangers, he has also gone on to do films (including a breakout performance as the psychotic Craig Toomy in the Stephen King film, The Langoliers) and several Broadway plays in New York City.

Other narrated books to his Pinchot’s credit are One Year After: A John Matherson Novel and The Extinction Cycle.

 

The Rating:

Five Stars as this story has intricate plotting, detailed characters, and exciting scenes (one of the best scenes especially is when Prince Thomas spies on his father when he is drunk and very enraged.  King Roland screams at the mounted trophy heads on his wall, screaming “WHY DO YOU STARE AT ME SO? WHY? I HAVE DONE THE BEST I CAN.”)  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

By Derek Barton — Author of Dark Fantasy novels: Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown.  Also the author or In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella and the series Elude: Part One & Part Two (horror/crime thrillers)!!

 

 

 

Audible Book Review of Joe Hill’s “The Fireman” — Derek Barton

The_Fireman_US_cover

 

The Fireman by Joe Hill — a Post-Apocalyptic Novel

Released in May, 2016 — 768 pages — Narrated by Kate Mulgrew

I have been for over a year now getting Audible books so I decided I would review and share my opinion on some of them with you. Enjoy!

The novel is a very unique take on the post-apocalyptic genre.  It is not the standard fare of zombies or survivors of a nuclear war — this is the tale of a band of people that live after a global pandemic virus has literally razed a good portion of society.

The Synopsis:

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else, it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

The Review:

I really enjoyed the book…at first…

The whole idea of this virus that is at once beautiful but terrifying is very intriguing.  The victims know that they are doomed yet there is an allure to the markings that resemble tattoos of black and gold.

It poses the question of what would you do?  Knowing that you are destined to die in a terrible flash of fiery death, putting everyone around you at risk as well:  would you kill yourself before combusting, would you run and hide in isolation, or would you go “out in a blaze of glory”?!

My complaint with this novel is that the plot is not focused.  The writer starts with the husband being the antagonist, then before the story sinks its teeth into it, the writer goes with another villain, the Cremation Squads.  These are men that have decided to cleanse the streets of infected in a vigilante-style of justice.

Harper finds safety, teamed up with The Fireman, an infected man who has some control of the virus.  He brings her to The Farm where he and other infected refugees find sanctuary in a cult-like compound.  Here again, Hill changes his mind and decides that the fanatical leaders of the cult are his true villains.

Finally, the story weaves itself back to the still psychotic husband.  Hill doesn’t seem to know who he wants to go after Harper or he doesn’t know which direction he wants to take the story.  In a post-apocalyptic world, you probably would have all sorts of villains and very few people to trust, but I felt that this story was too misguided.

It’s a true shame as he has some fantastic and intriguing characters.  The main character portrayed by the fantastic actress, Kate Mulgrew, is a heroic and yet humble woman who just wants to live long enough to give her baby a chance.

Like his father, STEPHEN KING, he has the great talent for creating memorable and remarkable characters, but until he finds a true focus for his stories, he is going to run into issues like The Fireman.

The Narration:

Kate M

Kate Mulgrew (born April 29, 1955) is an American actress. She is known for the roles of Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager and Galina “Red” Reznikov on Orange Is the New Black. She first came to attention in the role of Mary Ryan on the daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope. Mulgrew has won an Obie Award, and has received a Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award nomination. She is an active member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Advisory Council and the voice of Cleveland’s MetroHealth System.   –From Wikipedia

Mulgrew does a fantastic job of bringing the main character to life and keeps you immersed in this cruel new world.  And nothing is more funny than hearing Captain Janeway drop a few F-bombs!

 

The Rating:

Four Stars for the incredible characters and the creative new version of an apocalyptic world.  A good tale that needs better story control and focus.   RECOMMENDED (but with some warning!)

 

By Derek Barton — Author of ELUDE:   PART ONE (horror/crime), In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella.   Also the Dark Fantasy novel series Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown.

 

Audible Book Review of Stephen King’s “The Outsider” — Derek Barton

SK Outsider

The Outsider by Stephen King — a Supernatural/Horror/Murder Thriller

Released on May 22, 2018 — 576 pages — Narrated by William Patton

 

 

This is the first of my audiobook reviews.  I have been for over a year now getting audible books so I decided I would review and share my opinion on some of them with you. Enjoy!

 

As one of my favorite authors of all-time, I have been anxious to get my hands on the latest novel by Stephen King called “The Outsider”.  I was not disappointed in this compelling and intense story of depraved violence committed in a small rural town in Oklahoma.  (Yes!  A story that takes place actually outside the state of Maine!)

 

The Synopsis:

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face?

 

The Review:

Back in 2014, King produced his first grim detective/horror novel, Mr. Mercedes.  Inspired by horrific true events, King crafted a tale revolving around a retired detective is drawn out by a relentless serial killer who plowed through a crowded line of pedestrians, killing eight people and evaded capture.

He continued the story in his follow-up novels, Finders Keepers and End of Watch which became The Hodges Trilogy (named for the main character Detective Bill Hodges).  The entire series was a fascinating tale of a cat-and-mouse hunt crafted as only Stephen King can.

While The Outsider is not directly related to the Hodges Trilogy, it is told in a similar vein.  A tale where supernatural horror is blended with a true crime atmosphere.  It explores the themes of vigilantism, police abuse of power and how the media itself can become judge and jury.

An added bonus to this incredible tale is the return of a fan-favorite character, Holly Gibney (assistant to retired Detective Bill Hodges).  She is drawn into the investigation and as per her usual, adds an unpredictable yet poignant, point of view.

 

The Narration:

Patton

Again using the connections to the original Hodges Trilogy, King taps on Will Patton to read his terrifying passages as he did with Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers and End of Watch.  Will Patton has just the right mix of southern twang and gravel in his voice to really bring this work to the next level.  Patton is a successful actor in movies like Armageddon, The Postman and The Punisher as well as recurring roles in the television series, Falling Skies and 24.

 

The Rating:

Five Stars as the story hits on every aspect of intense plotting, incredibly detailed characters and original, exciting scenes and locations.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

I am an avid fan of horror and a fan of gritty crime dramas so the new mix that King is experimenting with has brought to life a brand new genre in this classic tale along with King’s Hodges Trilogy.

 

 

By Derek Barton — Author of In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella, Dark Fantasy novels Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown.  Elude: Part One (horror/crime thriller) will be on sale by the end of 2018!