Author: Santino Hassell
Narrator: Geoffrey Alan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 5 hours and 53 minutes
At a Glance: I recommend this book both for the story and narration. Santino Hassell does a good job of adding to the genre without relying on clichés, like shapeshifters, and gives us a new take on an old monster archetype.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but, lost in their own problems, they’re far from the family he sought.
Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.
Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.
Review: A rock band in search of some practice time retreats to the backwoods for some quiet time, and to coalesce into a tightly wound group and create new music for their audience. They rent an antebellum home from a pair of sibling who are less than social.
Jeremy wants to get close to Kennedy, but Hunter Caroway keeps getting between them. Hunter’s sister is no less a force for ill will between the band’s other would-be couple. Why does the Caroway manor have such a hold over them all? Why do the Caroways seem so other worldly? Can the hold the mysterious siblings have over the members of Stygian be broken in enough time to save them all?
Geoffrey Alan does a better than average job of keeping the listener involved in the story as the intertwined mysteries are woven, come together, and then pull apart the foundations of reality of the main characters. The voices are clear and the narrator gives us good separation between the characters.
Not many narrators get the pacing of some types of stories, but it is clear this one does. There are times when the pace is languid, and when the action becomes intense, the narration picks up proper speed and intensity. It is lovely when narrators pay attention to the cues the author leaves in a story, and the listener benefits from it. The story is well captured and told by the capable talents of Alan, and it is well suited to this tale of suspense.
I recommend this book both for the story and narration. Santino Hassell does a good job of adding to the genre without relying on clichés, like shapeshifters, and gives us a new take on an old monster archetype. Readers of suspense and horror with a M/M bent will most likely enjoy this story a good deal. Buy and enjoy it.
You can buy Stygian here: