Narrator: John Bell
Published by Self Published / Indie on 2013
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
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The isolated, maximum security prison for the criminally insane that houses some of the nation’s deadliest, most frightening psychopaths. But when a freak storm cuts off all communications and causes a massive power outage, the prisoners get loose...and find there is nowhere to go. The blizzard rages outside.
The inmates are now in charge and the staff must band together to survive.
And then they all discover that the inmates aren't the most dangerous thing about The Loon. Because below the prison is a secret place. A dark place. A place where a creature of monstrous appetites has been born. And it's very, very hungry....
The Loon is a #1 Amazon best seller written by novelist Michaelbrent Collings, whose other best sellers include Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, Rising Fears and Billy: Messenger of Powers.
©2011 Michaelbrent Collings (P)2013 Michaelbrent Collings
Really good horror stories are, in my opinion, hard to come by. All too often they are written in a style that is either way too grotesque, sexually explicit, or so disturbing that they are difficult to listen to. All of that is unnecessary if you have a great setting and at least one evil “bad guy” as the nemesis. That being said I think that The Loon has some potential, all because of the setting, an insane asylum, as long as Collings stays away from the aforementioned potential issues. Where else are you going to have full creative license to collect a vast amount of violently crazy torment souls? And have them escape and torment and/or torture the doctors and guards inside or maybe the doctor is the one we should be afraid of. Now, I am not sure if this is true but I like to think that I am hard to please when it comes to the horror genre. I was to be on the edge of my seat terrified throughout most of the story and will settle for little else unless the writing is so superior nothing else matters.
The Loon was an exciting psychological horror with everything that you could ask for. The setting of prison for the criminally insane, aptly nicknamed “The Loon”, that’s far off in the country, away from anyone that will come poking around, or come to save you from a ridiculous blizzard. Characters that are extravagantly diverse, you have a normal guy showing up for his first day of work as a prison guard that is struggling with actions that killed his own son while trying to save him, a mother and daughter that have escaped and dispatched a horrible and monstrous husband and father, a guard that the narrator insists on making sound like Fat Albert, a crazy and mad scientist that just happens to be the owner and proprietor of the prison, one really scary and brutally insane prisoner, and oh yes the, for lack of a better word, creature, that happened to be the “pet” of our lovely mad scientist. Michaelbrent Collings is quite a story teller, almost too much so, I felt that there was too many descriptions of people and things, I noticed that there were a few descriptive words that he would favor over others, such as “the horror” and others. Many storylines and characters to explore and develop that I think took time away from what could have been spent generating more suspense and gut wrenching horrors. But once everything came together and the climax was reached it was like hell was let loose upon prison where only lucky and likeable characters survived.
First impressions of the audio production were not good, music playing during the opening few sentences, which I have come to expect, then there were the “tense” moments were all of a sudden the music started up again. I think the producers were trying to create even more drama and tension than the narration was generating. This makes me think that the producers were not totally confident in the performing skills of John Bell. Then there were the sound effects, there were not very many just intercoms, telephones, etc. I am not totally against sound effects in audiobooks but I like to think that they have their place mostly in audio theater style productions. Then there is John Bell, this was my first experience with him and maybe my feelings/opinions are being swayed by my expectations of what a narrators do. He is a completely over the top style of performer, extreme character voices started to make me think that there was more than one narrator involved in the project, but for me it was too over the top. Full of dramatic pauses and pacing changes, an energy that I have seldom heard, excellent emotional conveyance, everything was perfectly enjoyable except for the excessive over emphasis of the reading.
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