Read the debut by the author selected to co-write a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family! J.D. Barker's Forsaken is a remarkable debut, a gripping tale of suspense in the tradition of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul. Truly the birth of a new master in the genre.
Bram Stoker Award Nominee - Superior Achievement in a First Novel
"A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind!" Jeffery Deaver
#1 International Bestselling Author
"Incredibly written, supremely creepy. I don't say this lightly: J.D. Barker is a force to be reckoned with."
NY Times Bestselling Author
"An ambitious debut… Witches, spells, miniature demons, and personal doubt give fans of horror plenty to latch on to… the plot moves at a brisk pace… a promising start to a planned series."
Book One of the Shadow Cove Saga
When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft.
But was it really fiction?
He inadvertently opened a door, one that would soon jeopardize the lives of his family.
She wants to come back.
At home, his wife struggles to keep their family alive. Secretly wondering if she caused it all…a deal she made long ago. A deal with the Forsaken.
©2014 Jonathan Dylan Barker (P)2015 Hampton Creek Press
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"I tried to finish it..."
This book was difficult to get through. However, when you find yourself begging the narrator not to say the words to the spells because of the voice she uses, it's time to give up. Her voice characterizations were irritating, especially the 8 year old girl. As for the story, it was ok. The best part was the excerpts from the diary, not the main story itself. I was very disappointed. This had a lot of potential.
"This story will leave you looking behind you"
This is the first novel I have had the pleasure of hearing written by J.D. Barker. The mention of the store “Needful Things” in Castle Rock captured my attention first. Having read Stephen King’s novel Needful Things, I knew Forsaken had to be as interesting and captivating.
Thad McAlister an author tells the story of Shadow Cove and its inhabitants during the Salem Witch Trials. Unfortunately, writing his book releases an evilness bent on revenge first and foremost at the same time endangering his family. This novel which practically wrote itself will be the novel that puts McAlister on the established and legend writers list. One would not expect writing a book would result in so much darkness and fear. But for Thad McAlister and his family, they experience the fear and horror of things best left unwritten first hand. Rachel McAlister realizes early on that she has brought this horror upon her family with a casual comment made at the mysterious little shop in Castle Rock but has no way to stop it. Thad figures out much later that his writing has opened a door best left closed and sealed. Can he save his family? Can he save himself? The answers will terrify you!
We are given a small amount of insight into the mind of Barker and it is a deep, dark place: minions that crawl forth and smother everything with vile rotten dirt, plants that rip the flesh from anyone brave enough to venture through them. Even a most innocent noise “click-click-clickity-click” becomes terrifying! The one phrase that made my blood run cold was “her soul crept in.” The imagery of this was jaw dropping. This is a small phrase and not entirely unique, the manner in which Barker uses it makes it frighteningly creepy.
The storylines flow fluidly, interwoven expertly and horrors are described with a rich vocabulary that leaves one with images burned deep in their minds. Just using “click-click-clickity-click” invokes terror in one’s mind resulting in goose bumps.
Barker develops each character to its fullest, both main and secondary ones. I can still see the small minions with their yellowed teeth and long nails. I can even smell their vile rotten dirt that is their physical essence when destroyed. Barker is a master wordsmith.
This story will leave you looking behind you at each and every snap, crackle and pop your house makes night or in broad day light!
Christina Delaine does an excellent job of narrating. Her “click-click-clickity-click” is so softly spoken time and again, that one hears it in their minds throughout the book. She translates the fear, darkness and chilling atmosphere clearly with her voice.
The audio production by Audible Studios was excellent and clearly done, I had no issues at all.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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"First audiobook I've ever stopped and deleted..."
This story is very boring and the narration is just awful. I really tried to get through it, I made it to about 7 hours then realized I did not even care how it ended and it was a chore to listen to so I deleted it. The character development is extremely weak and I didn't really care about anyone in this book. It is no wonder I got this on sale for $3.95. Multiple times I found myself just thinking about something else because the book was so disengaging. Don't get me started on this lady's 8 year old girl voice... It sounds like she is doing the voice of a 3 year old that just learned how to speak. It was hands down the worst 8 year old voice impersonation I have ever heard in my life. She sounds like a character off of the cartoon Rugrats..
Ten hours of listening read by Christina Delaine. Forsaken is the story of an author, Thad. He finally creates a novel that is destined to make him a literary star. The problem? He, his wife, and his daughter, are thrown into the bizarre circumstances of his latest characters becoming real, coming to life. Add to the problem, he has created a horror story … in addition to an old lady with fangs (who is also a beautiful witch that seduces Thad) creepy little gnomes are part of the package. Hello Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc., this story is in the same hide-behind-the-sofa genre/vein.
Biggest problem for me is the narrator. She’s good, and she is really into the story/characters/genre. But she is also horribly over-the-top with sincere attempts to be ‘scary’ … whispering many passages; emoting way too much. Sections that the author did not intend to be scary are whispered and breathy … ergo, a strange production. Personally, I found this a bit distracting. The narrating isn’t what is supposed to be ‘chilling’ … rather the writing itself.
"an audible must"
For the full effect of this novel, sit on your front porch after dark, one earbud in, with Christine Delaine reading to you out of the darkness.
Creepy is the word that ran on repeat through my mind as I listened to this novel. It is the darkest form witchcraft can take – born from the fear that ransacked Salem all those years ago. For the first time, even after all my research into the witch crazes throughout Europe and later, America, I got a true idea of the terror that perpetrated the insanity. Of course, it also reminds us that a person is smart, but people are stupid (generally). Then the bad guy threatens the family you love more than life itself.
On top of all of this, if you haven’t learned enough, comes the final lesson: Be careful what you wish for.
J. D. Barker has woven a story with the intricate threads of fear in every single page. Without graphic violence or random shock bits or weird, unpredictable twists, this is a story very much worth listening to. After dark. On your front porch.
"Terrible performance makes bad book worse"
Has the narrator never been near a child? That was the worse attempt to sound like one I've ever heard. I could not listen to the book past a couple of hours, not only because of the narrator's grating voice, but because the story was awful. I'm thankful audible.com allows returns.
Great first book, many mirrors to peer through. Gloom, chills, minions, keep in mind the entire book is over a very short span of time so be patient w Rachel. It's witchcraft at it's finest.
"Great first book in a series"
J.D.Barker is a new writer to me-I'm looking forward to more by him and pleased that the Shadow Cove Saga is going to be, hopefully, a series...he'd say trilogy if it was just going to be 3 books, right? So maybe it will be more!.
I became fascinated with the sort of backstory, taken from an old journal, written allegedly by a man who was hired to document the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s, then incorporated into a best selling book by the fictional author who is the male protagonist in this . I really hope the full journal is incorporated into it's own-maybe "1.5" books in the series. It has a lot of potential!
Barkers 'tip of the hat' to Stephen King is well deserved and perfectly placed. Barker is a novelist in the finest tradition of Stephen King's best horror novels. The mention of Castle Rock and the store 'Needful Things' plays a small but perfect place in this story.
The female protagonist, the 9 month and ready to deliver very pregnant wife of the male protagonist is written nicely, as is their first child, a daughter with an invisible playmate named Zack.
From Thad, the author to Ms Perez, the housekeeper, I got to know the characters- though not quite as well as I thought I did.
Last, and contrary to many other reviewers opinions, I think Christine Delaine was the perfect voice for this book..she does 'scary' great. Granted her child voice can be a bit irritating, but don't let that deter you from listening to the entire book.
It's a real shame that many listeners for a negative opinion of the narrator in the first hour of listening and quit the entire book...what a loss for you! Give yourself a second chance at this book and some more time..remember little kids voices can be irritating in real life and it's probably a difficult voice to read without overplaying the kid.
I recommend the book to those who like Stephen Kings early horror works. You'll feel right at home. "Ah yeh ya will"
"Worth the Time, Very Enjoyable"
The story was enjoyable, and well written. There were a few holes, and some areas were over expanded while other important areas, needed more. Over all, however, this is an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable book.
Christina Delaine's performance was probably the best performance of any of the books I have listened to. I have listened to many books. Her versatility is absolutely amazing. Inflections and pronunciations are awesome. With the exception of Bougainvillea. The two l's are pronounced as a "y".
"I REALLY Tried to Get Through It ....."
The narrator did a first-rate job with the human and other-world beings she had to voice in this over-long tale of expected horror. But Mr. Barker's character development for this story is so extremely poor that one cannot possibly relate to or care about any character in the plot, although the dog was rather a nice diversion at times. The concept of the story was not bad, but Mr. Barker was unable to put it together into a sensible and entertaining format. His gratuitous, cutesy references to Stephen King (i.e., Needful Things, Bangor, Maine, etc.) was irritating given that Barker has a long way to go to reach the level of writers like King -- if indeed Barker has the talent to do so, which was certainly not apparent with this book.
Brilliant scary story, listened in one sitting. Good from the get go to the end. Can't wait for book 2 in this series
A horror writer is handing over his latest opus while his heavily pregnant wife and young child are left home alone. Really freaky wee demonic pixies terrorise the girls as the baddie from his novel seems to be coming to life before his eyes.
Stay to listen right to the end as there is a great nod to Stephen King in the epilogue.
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