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Evil Whispers (by Owl Goingback) [narrated by Cathi Colas]

Robert and Janet Patterson think they’ve found the perfect location to get away from it all. Along with their young daughter Krissy, they intend for a lazy getaway from it all. A little bit of fishing, and a lot of lounging around will fill their coming weeks, if they get what they are looking for. But the best laid plan for any family can easily go awry, but it is especially ebay for things to go wrong when you choose the spot where Mansa DuPaul lived his final moments, assuming he stopped living at all.

The horror that followed them could have been avoided if they had listened to Krissy when she spoke of the whispers she heard in the forest that surrounded their holiday home. It all could have been avoided if Robert had listened to the strange Seminole man Jimmy when he was warned. But city slickers knew better than to listen to the wittering’s of country folk, especially when the talk is of superstition and mumbo-jumbo.

But as Jimmy might have said, “To hear you have to listen.”

This is my first book by the intriguing named Owl Goingback, and I had no idea what to expect at all from the author. Initially I was drawn to the book by the cover art – I’m a sucker for nice cover art – and I’ve also been working my way through the books released by Encyclopocalypse Productions, mainly because the narrator Sean Duregger – a favourite of mine – does a lot of work for them. So this author, as well as the narrator, was entirely new to me.

Within a chapter I knew this book would be an easy read. There’s not a lot of fluff here, the style is simple and there are no word games going on in the text. It’s almost like reading a Young Adult novel from that perspective. Even if you’re not a big reader Owl Goingback would be an easy author to get into. As long as you are not easily rattled, that is.

The content of Evil Whispers is definitely not a family friendly affair, and I think there needs to be a warning to anyone tempted to read the book. Thankfully the bloodshed metered out in Evil Whispers is directed at the adults of the tale, rather than the children, but there were times I thought to myself that the people inhabiting the book went to extremely unsettling places in their minds.

The story itself was largely unremarkable, you’ve probably read something similar many times, but it is told well, and there is an underlying nastiness that keeps the reader on their toes. This isn’t to say that Owl Goingback is one of those “extreme horror” authors that have become popular recently, but rather he knows how to insert the belief that something horrible is nearing without needing to get too perverse with the text. The core of what makes this book different is not really the story, but the characters. This is the first time I have seen a voodoo inspired evil go up against a Native American good guy. The closest to this – of course – would be Graham Masterton’s The Manitou, so this puts Evil Whispers in – at least in my opinion – good company.

Not only was this my first from the author, but it was also my first from the narrator. Cathi Colas does an admirable job with some very difficult subjects. She manages multiple characters well, dealing with little Krissy in a way that seems – to me – very age appropriate, as well as managing the world-weary wisdom of Jimmy without strain. Both characters represent a very broad range. They are about as different as characters can be. Krissy is a naïve pre-teen who is written as perhaps a little young for her age, and Jimmy is a gruff contrarian who believes the world’s against him – and may well be correct. It’s no mean feat to be able to voice such characters, and the host of others besides, and manage to get them to blend in such a way that they both seem distinct, as well as fitting in the same world. It’s to her credit that I never thought of this until after the book was over and I sat to write this review.

I really enjoyed Evil Whispers. It has the general feel of an 80’s style supernatural horror, while having the twist of cultural clashes between protagonists. It was a quick and easy experience that basically provided everything that was promised.

This is one that I would have considered a good purchase, but I was lucky enough to have been provided a free copy of the audiobook from Encyclopocalypse Productions in exchange for a review. I’m particularly thankful for this opportunity. Not only is Owl Goingback a great find, but Cathi Colas should be considered an equal partner in the book’s success for me. Both have been promptly added to my “must find more from” category.

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