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From what I see on Amazon, this story was originally published in the mid-1980s. Thinking back to horror films and novels that I passed the time with during the late 70s and 80s, listening to this story brought me right back to that time.
I give the story 3.75 stars because, like some other reviewers, the plot veered into directions that I thought were... unusual. Reading the book description, I knew that the theme would be supernatural/paranormal. I really, really enjoyed the build-up during the first half of the story. I'm a faculty member at a post-secondary education institution, and the dialogue and personal interactions (e.g., between David and his grad student) seemed authentic to me. I liked how the various tensions became apparent and I liked the gothic mystery of the local aristocrat and his companion, the missing dog, the close-minded locals, the strange housekeeper, and a bog that can swallow a person who takes a misstep.
I think that where things bogged down (argh) a bit for me was because there were perhaps too many different supernatural elements in the plot line, which strained my suspension of disbelief. I don't want to go into spoiler territory, so I won't list all of the supernatural plot/character elements... but there are definitely a few of them!
One of the main reasons why I'm happy to give this story 3.75 stars is because I have a soft spot in my heart for campy horror (such as the Hammer films) and for some reason this story reminded me of the 1992 'Turn of the Screw' film (with Patsy Kensit) or 1976's 'Omen' in terms of atmosphere and visuals. The Bog turned a bit surreal in the second half, but that's okay because the menacing atmosphere in the first half of the story had me hooked. I'm not a professional film or book critic; I enjoyed the story because of how it fit within my personal warm memories of horror in the 70s and early/mid 80s, so it scores nostalgia-points for me.
The other reason why I reduced the rating a bit was because of a few minor details that seemed to jar me out of my emotionally tense groove. With this genre, I relish the thought of being immersed emotionally as the story progresses and I'm willing to suspend disbelief. However, it's often the banal little details that knock me out of my stupor and say to myself, "Meh. This is fake." For this story, the details that knocked me out of that stupor were related to David's eyesight while in the bog at night. There were a few times where it seemed like he had super-human vision (e.g., being able to see a creature's nictitating eye membrane blink...from a distance... behind the bushes... in a bog... at night). He also was really good at finding a piece of jewelry that had been flung out a window at night. Little details like that are like a hypnotist snapping his fingers and waking the subject up. Weird, but true.
As for the narration, I thought it was absolutely great. Matt Godfrey was an excellent choice for this story. The only reason why I took a star off for narration was because I thought that his voice for the grad student was a wee bit too diffident for my taste. I'd most definitely listen to a Matt Godfrey-narrated horror story again in the future.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
'The Bog' is a story I can't quite get out of my mind, though I've listened to several since. A mix of science, magic and monsters, this story is truly unique. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, it took a hard turn in another direction - an occurrence that is both rare and satisfying for me. Though it was somewhat of a slow burn, I found the characters and the mystery aspect to be incredibly juicy and I was dying to discover the 'secret' throughout. I will say that the first half was better than the second half but I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a monster mystery. Matt Godfrey delivers a stellar performance and Talbot puts together a tight, interesting, and fun horror story!
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful