Fade Rippers by Kenny Soward

Narrator: Scott Aiello

Publisher: Broken Dog Press (2017)

Length: 4 hours 7 minutes

Series: Book 1 Galefire

Author’s Page 

Lonnie is a gofer to a low-level Cincinnati gang, the 8th Street Gang. He’s been working for them for years and his memories, both long-term and day-to-day, are fuzzy. He has vague memories of a wife and 7 year old daughter but he also has memories of riding a dragon once upon a time. Obviously, he chocks that up to all the drug use, at least until a drawn out gun fight reveals to him that his boss, Selix, has some supernatural powers.

This is both a gritty and drug-hazy urban fantasy. Lonnie and his gang live in this grungy, questionable place and spend quite a bit of time watching bad TV, doing a variety of drugs, and screwing around. That’s when they aren’t involved in illegal activities like gun fights and selling drugs. Lonnie himself is in a perpetual drug haze for most of the book and as he starts to break through that haze, more and more memories come to the forefront, causing him to question what’s real and what’s not.

I really enjoyed this story because it wasn’t the typical mystery + magic urban fantasy and Lonnie wasn’t your typical hero. He’s mopping up blood while listening to the news, letting his mind wander. He does whatever he’s told to do because he’s the lowest man in the gang though he often doesn’t like it. In fact, we learn that early on when he decides not to take a call from the Brit, who is second in command of the little gang. I had fun with this character because he can be so proper and deadly at the same time.

Then the shooting starts. There’s this great fight scene that is probably one of the longest in fantasy literature. This prolonged fight acts like a trigger for the real Lonnie that’s buried under years of drug use and mind manipulation. It turns out Selix, leader of the gang, has some supernatural powers that include memory manipulation. As with all the members of the gang, the right combination of drugs can bolster their supernatural powers or keep them suppressed. I was a little concerned that this would be used as an excuse to do as they please, and there is a bit of that with some of the characters (such as with the raven-haired goth twins Ingrid and Elsa). After all, they do live in pretty dismal conditions. Crash (who has a Jamaican accent), one of the biggest guys Lonnie has ever seen, acts as muscle for the gang. Then we learn there’s a bigger secret they are trying to keep hidden and that one centers around Lonnie.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the Fade. That’s where Selix and the rest draw their power from. For Selix, dancing and the right drugs can help her pull on that power. However, there’s more going on there as well. There’s a revenge story in the middle of all this and Lonnie has his part to play. This tale was never boring! With that said, I would have liked a bit more explanation on the Fade and how is works with this gang.

I liked that the author included specific weapons. For instance, Lonnie uses a Springfield XDS instead of the author just saying Lonnie had a handgun.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Scott Aiello was a great pick for this book. His narration was a great performance. He was perfect for Lonnie as he goes through all the changes he does in this book. His female voices were believable and he kept all the characters distinct. He even threw in some well done accents, like British and Jamaican.

What I Liked: Lovely cover art; not your typical urban fantasy; drug use; dancing; the Fade; the various supernatural powers; Lonnie’s journey in this book; great narration.

What I Disliked: I would liked to have seen more time on how the Fade is used by the gang. 

What Others Think: 

Rob J. Hayes

The Audiobook Reviewer

The Bookwyrm Speaks

Brian’s Book Blog

The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen

Narrator: Jake Urry

Publisher: Ambrose Ibsen (2016)

Length: 6 hours 48 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Ulrich Files

Author’s Page

Harlan Ulrich is a private investigator and he’s just about out of coffee. He needs a case that will pay well enough to make rent and replenish his kitchen. Dr. Klein has gone missing and his friend has already checked all the usual possibilities. He needs a professional to investigate. So Ulrich is off to the small town of Moonville, Dr. Klein’s last known location.

This was a dark piece of fiction that kept me entertained. It wasn’t a gore fest, which I was concerned about due to the cover art. There was some descriptive scary bits here and there but it wasn’t gratuitous. Ulrich is an interesting character. With a name like Harlan Ulrich, how could he not be? He has this coffee fetish that keeps coming up throughout the story. The quality of the coffee really affects his mood and I can understand that. I say better no coffee than bad coffee.

Set in mostly in Moonville, Ohio, the folks are small-town minded. They like to keep their town secrets and while curious about outsiders, they aren’t jumping to open up about the past. Ulrich has to do some digging to learn about the Sick House, which was an infirmary run by nuns and was shut down some decades ago. Dr. Klein once worked there and Ulrich makes a visit to the run down place. What he finds gives him the creeps and he’s hesitant to return a second time.

Mysterious notes follow and he finds a person who once worked there that can shed some light on the past. Here is the one weak spot in the plot. Once a certain character is brought up, it really becomes clear what happened so the rest of the book is just watching Ulrich piece it together and find evidence. It was still an entertaining read. I really didn’t know if Ulrich would fall prey to some supernatural entity and have to make a run for it (there’s at least 3 books in the series, so I know he lives) or perhaps burn the place down. So that was exciting to see how the author would wrap things up in a way that leaves Ulrich and his travel coffee mug free to do PI stuff another day.

The ending was a satisfying one. Old wrongs are acknowledged and some things are set to rights. The mystery of the missing Dr. Klein is neatly wrapped up. I look forward to Book 2!

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobook Worm.

The Narration: Jake Urry has a mesmerizing voice. I really do like it but here I have to give him a B for final product even as I give him an A for effort. He has an English accent that he does a pretty good job of tucking away for this Ohio based story. Yet sometimes there are certain words that get a very distinct English accent. Still, even with this, I really liked his voice for Ulrich. He has a rich deep voice that can gripe about bad coffee or show fear in the face of some paranormal unknown. Urry also did a great job with keeping his character voices distinct and his female voices were pretty good.

What I Liked: Mysterious, a little creepy, but not a gore fest; the small town setting; nuns; abandoned infirmary; a dark history for the Sick House; Ulrich’s coffee fetish; Urry’s narration even with the English accent.

What I Disliked: At a certain point in the story, the rest of the plot became very clear. It was still entertaining to watch Ulrich figure it out. There were certain words that had a distinct English accent for the narration, which was at odds with the Ohio setting.

What Others Think:

The Page Turner

Mia Celeste

The Haunted Reading Room