A Light Most Hateful

Blackstone Audio. Oct. 2023. 10:08 hrs. ISBN 9798212905459. $19.95. HORROR
Piper’s (Queen of Teeth) genre-bending latest lulls listeners into thinking they’re in familiar territory before hurling twists at them like lightning bolts. After being discovered kissing a girl, Olivia has run away from home and settled in the small town of Chapel Hill, PA, where she now obsesses over her best friend, Sunflower. Then an unearthly storm sweeps through town. Suddenly, Olivia’s friends and neighbors turn into zombielike creatures, and a reptilian shape-shifter sets its sights on Olivia. As Olivia desperately looks for Sunflower, the town is visited by increasingly wild mayhem and violence. No matter how strange the ensuing events, narrator Jeremy Carlisle Parker’s steady performance and emotionally rich depiction of the characters’ relationships ground the narrative. Parker’s narration is especially impressive after major plot twists increase the number of characters, some of whom could be easily confused; Parker ably differentiates the voices. Some of these characters might fool Olivia, but Parker will have listeners already clued in.
VERDICT Throughout this intense blend of horror, romance, and fantasy, listeners will be glad for Parker’s performance. A twisty, shocking novel for fans of Richard Kadrey’s The Dead Take the A Train.
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