Ghostland by Duncan Ralston, Narrated by Joe Hempel

Duncan Ralston’s Ghostland seamlessly blends elements of 13 Ghosts (or the more high-tech remake, Thirteen Ghosts), Jurassic Park, and The Matrix into a thrill ride of a story. Thankfully, it’s marginally less exciting than the Ghostland attraction itself. Otherwise, Ralston would be responsible for a lot of carnage.
Something Ben Laramie catches a glimpse of when he witnesses his favorite author’s house inexplicably transported through town is enough to stop the young boy’s heart. It can’t possibly be Rex Garrote standing in the window and seemingly staring back at him because Rex Garrote has been dead longer than Ben’s been alive. But as the world will learn over the following years, death isn’t quite the conclusion most people believe.
On the opening day of the Ghostland theme park, Ben manages to recruit his former best friend Lillian and her therapist to join him as he enters the park on a mission they know nothing of. Since his heart attack, Ben has set his sights on one objective, and it’s one he’s willing to sacrifice himself to accomplish.
What starts as a coming-of-age reflection on mortality rapidly transforms into a harrowing and violent struggle for survival amid the exploration of the most haunted places in the world all in one place. Ralston paces everything perfectly, never wasting a beat as he drags us along with Ben and Lillian through a gauntlet that only the luckiest can hope to escape. As he leads us to a conclusion that is both satisfying and open-ended for the sequels, the author displays keen storytelling instincts that should impress anyone daring enough to enter Ghostland.
Joe Hempel is always a thoroughly competent and capable narrator, and his performance for the Ghostland audiobook is no exception.

Bone Cider by Lucas Mangum

Lucas Mangum listed Bradbury and Laymon as his inspirations when writing Bone Cider, but he didn’t need to tell us that. Reading this story made me want to pick up my worn out copies of Bradbury’s The October Country or The Illustrated Man or Laymon’s Night In the Lonesome October.
Mangum’s descriptions of the sights, sounds, and experiences shared by our young protagonist evoke reminiscence of the Octobers of childhood. Reading these words, we can’t help but feel the chill in the air, the fallen leaves blowing with a light rattle across the sidewalk as we trespass in the gloom of dusk or full night, and the tingling deep inside that remained only so long as we still believed in the magic of those nights. Some of us hold on to that tingling sensation well into adulthood, and Mangum is clearly one of those people.
Bone Cider is a story of loss, of family, and of the way the world seems–or is–different when the nights are long and the world is only thinly separated from other worlds we glimpse only in our dreams. Lucas Mangum brings all of that to life in the tale he tells.

Bone Cider was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for the month of October, 2021. You can grab a copy for yourself by going to the website or using the app on your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

Bone Cider by Lucas Mangum