Today I finished the audiobook Balak by Stephen Mark Rainey from Crossroad Press. I am the perfect market for this book, so keep that in mind when you read this review.
Here’s the blurb from the cover (if digital books can have covers):
Two years ago, Claire Challis’s four-year-old son disappeared without a trace. Now, a neighbor’s child has vanished from right outside of her apartment. Determined to discover the fate of her missing son, Claire set out on a quest that will lead to a place of madness, horror, and fate worse than death.
The book starts off with a very creepy scene and keeps up the unease the whole book. There are also some scenes in which I genuinely didn’t know if the viewpoint character would survive. Any book that does that gets bonus points.
The characters are all different and feel like real people. There are different motives and personalities in each of them.
While that characters drive the story, the plot is well constructed and stays consistent. I didn’t notice any holes in it.
Overall the book deals with relationships with children, romance, detective work, and a whole lot of cosmic horror thrown into the mix. I loved it.
The reader of the audio book is good. Not the best, but nothing your ears will complain about. I think I heard a couple misspoken words near the end, but they were so close to the word that should have been there than I wasn’t totally sure there was a mistake. He didn’t stumble over any words, in any case.
The book kept my attention from beginning to end. The start is a nice hook, the middle is engaging, and the ending wraps it all up nicely.
If you like stories of horror, mystery, suspense, and mind-altering horror from the dark reaches of the cosmos, then give this a go.
There are five audio files. I thought there were four for some reason and make a playlist for two files at a time (I only have a 4gb ipod, and it’s loaded with podcasts too.) When the book suddenly stopped after part four, I cried out in dismay, for I wasn’t able to hear the rest until later!
Balak is a story set in the H.P. Lovecraft mythos. If you don’t know what that means, I think you’ll still like the story. If you do, you’ll get a bit of extra enjoyment out of it.
I also liked how the story is tied to Biblical references. It’s fun to see stories make use of parts of the Old Testament to further anchor the plot into reality and the world we live in.
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