The Bucktown Babies

  • by Janine R Pestel
  • Narrated by John H Fehskens
  • 3 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Johann Gunter, a former priest, whose sister has been taken by a demon, travels to a small farming community where there is an alarming outbreak of sudden infant death syndrome. Knowing this is the work of a demon, he prepares to fight the monster and, hopefully, save the town. Before he can finish his investigation, however, he finds out his cover has been blown, and an unlikely person steps up as an ally. First book in the Father Gunter, Demon Hunter series.

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"There is no 'h': it's Gunter."

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What a fantastic title: Father Gunter, Demon Hunter. It has an almost poetic ring to it, sliding musically off the tongue. What a pity the book does not live up to this promise.
Actually, it's not too bad a story, just poorly executed.
Former priest ( how frequently we are reminded! ) Johann Gunter is still searching for his older sister, stolen by a demon some five years previously. A news item about an outbreak of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Bucktown convinces him that a demon is at work and he hurries to the tiny town disguised as a health investigator. A total of 25 babies, average age of three months, had died unexpectedly as well as 15 pregnancies miscarried, all within a two week period. In so small a town this was very far from normal. And all but two of the victims had the same doctor - one who had only arrived at the hospital three weeks ago. A possible clue? Apparently not, even when the normally pleasant and friendly woman is uncharacteristically rude and antagonistic towards him. Plus,. Gunter's original certainty of the presence of a demon causing deaths at the hospital reverted to only a suspicion despite personal chills, the smell of sulphur in the hospital lift and the demonic, "Happy hunting, priest," from the only other occupant. Mmmm. A bit of a strange one, Father Gunter.

Apart from plot deficiencies, the writing is unsophisticated, poor. Constant, pointless repetition, like the too frequent reminder that Gunter is a former priest, occur, but perhaps that is necessary after all, given the constant bursts of anger and bad language coming from this supposedly still God-fearing man, who utters frequent variations of the phrase, "What the hell?" Sloppy or lazy writing, too, with sentences such as, he "glances at the two doctors, waiting to see if their body language will tell.him anything. After a moment, and not getting any clues from their body language ..." which could so easily have been better phrased. One particular later sentence annoyed me because of the seeming attempt at pretention. Replaying in his mind the memory of his sister's abduction, he has just left her, distraught and alone, in her house. Then:. "His sister's scream caught his attention" So much better to say simply that he heard her scream.

Written in the third person but almost entirely from Gunter's perspective, it is also in the present tense, with short snappy sentences. Done well, this could have brought a great sense of immediacy. Unfortunately, in this case, it acts merely to make the book read, not like a novel but like a script. Perhaps this could make a reasonable film with good direction, casting and editting. The actors would give substance to the characters involved ... But that's not the issue here. For this book, the writing feels childish, I'll considered (if fully considered at all). There were attempts at humour but these fell flat. I did, however, begin to smile at obvious horror scenes, which just weren't. And i then could enjoy it as a parady of the genre.

Throughout it all, mellow voiced John H.Ferhskens read consistently well,and with good intonation, bringing emotion to play if the text seemed to require it and even breathing life into the otherwise two dimensional characters. His dialogue differentiation was also good. His performance certainly made the most of the script with which he was entrusted. I will certainly be looking out for his name amongst narrators in the future.

I was gifted my copy of the Bucktown Babies by the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. My thanks for it. Despite all that i have said, i did enjoy listening to it, partially because of the narrator's pleasant voice and also as a lightweight comedy. Would. I recommend it to. Anyone? Probably not.

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- Norma Miles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-04-2017
  • Publisher: Janine R. Pestel