Narrator: Michael T. Downey
Published by Self Published / Indie on 29 November 2017
Length: 50 mins
Genres: Literary, Paranormal
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In the rural Deep South, there are stories about people who, upon the approach of their death, have been greeted by dead loved ones who return as ghosts to lead them into the next world.
This is one of those stories.
©2012 John I. Jones (P)2017 John I. Jones
Set in the 1940s in Alabama, this story is seen through the eyes of a boy whose mother is a live-in nurse for an elderly dying woman, Mary McDaniel. Mary’s husband, Boone, is still an active farmer and is doing his best to deal with his wife’s impending death. The boy, referred to as Little Turd Knocker by Boone, is curious about the farm and splits his time between helping out with chores, exploring, and playing with his circus set or pretending to be a cowboy.
Mary takes weeks to reach her final breath, so this story has time to ramble through the life Mary and Boone built. Even though we know at the beginning that this tale is going to end in death, it gently meanders along. Little Turd Knocker and his mother move onto the farm for the summer so Mary can be eased into her death as best as possible. Boone’s best friend, other than Mary, is his dog Nero, who attends him daily in the fields. Eventually, Boone asks Little Turd Knocker to go with him and the two become friends.
Jones kicks things up a notch when we learn of Nero’s near escape from death as a pup. Then the story goes up another notch when we learn of Boone’s old injury and how that affected his life. So when Mary’s last breath arrives, I was ready for it. I wasn’t ready for what happened next. Oh my! I felt this story was ending on a sad disastrous note. Then in swoops the final scenes and this poignant, almost joyous ending lands on both feet.
This is one of my favorite stories so far by this author. For a short tale, Jones really pulls the reader in with imagery of the farm and phrases and attitudes that were common to the time and location. I nodded knowingly when Little Turd Knocker mentally noted how a sharp goose quill can poke through a pillow, making the experience of a feather filled pillow realistic. Then there’s cotton growing on many acres and hidden money and simple toys and the cowboy story craze of the 1940s. It’s a rich atmosphere that encapsulates these believable characters. 5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Michael T. Downey was OK for this story. He did have a great voice for the inner thoughts of Little Turd Knocker and his gruff older voice for Boone was perfect. His female voices were also believable and he had distinct voices for each character. However, the technical recording of this narration is where the trouble lies. There are many mouth noises throughout the story. The volume occasionally goes a little up or down (but not enough to hurt your ears). So a little polishing is needed there. 3.5/5 stars.