by Tom Deady
First time author Tom Deady has penned a solid debut horror story, which is far more than a simple horror novel. This quite lengthy tale (for me as an audio listen it was almost 15 hours; the paperback is over 500 pages) takes the time to fully develop its many characters and provide the reader great detail into the mystery surrounding old and new disappearances of residents of the Massachusetts town of Haven. The story begins in the 60s but much of the tale concerns what feels like present day following the release of previously convicted felon Paul Greymore, with remembrances used to flesh out important details.
Every author is a reader and if I were guessing, I’d bet Deady is a Stephen King fan. His work felt very familiar as I grew up on King, and I noticed the timing of the release of Haven with the renewed interest in the 1986 King book, It, now that a new movie has been made. I can appreciate stylistic similarities while at the same time enjoying the tale Deady weaves about small town, murders, supernatural possibilities, friendships, etc.
If you read my reviews you know I don’t go into a lot of plot description because I’m not in 5th grade and this isn’t a book report. Because I listened to this via audible.com, my perspective on the book may very well be different than a traditional reader because as a listener, the narrator influences my enjoyment. I’m now 52 and have been an audio book listener since the 80s when I had to have my mom drive me to the library, peruse in person the cassette books available and be skilled with a pencil to fix the tape malfunctions on that, now generations old, medium. So, I have experience listening and loving narrated books.
There are some narrator voices I cannot tolerate past the sample track on audible. Won’t even try. Matt Godfrey, narrator of Haven and about 10 others available at audible, does a nice job of speaking the story. His voice is soothing and attractive and I would gladly listen to more of his work.
Haven is a difficult tale to narrate because there are so many characters. Like a ton. As an audible book listener, I am different than the paper reader who sits and concentrates on only the story. I would guess I am not alone in saying when I am listening to a book I am also doing something else. My house gets cleaned, laundry is folded, errands are run. When you have a ton of characters in a story, especially one which doesn’t stay in one timeline, and chapters are short, it’s important that the voice be unique for each character. My only suggestion to Godfrey would have been to mix it up more. But, that is my personal opinion and I have zero experience in production. Perhaps soothing and calm and not being all over the place with the frequent character changes was by choice.
Haven is a solid experience and I would recommend it.
To please the lawyers, I now say I was given this audio book by the narrator in exchange for an honest review unaffected by the gift.