Fairy Tale

S. & S. Audio. Sept. 2022. 24:06 hrs. ISBN 9781797145297. $35.21. THRILLER
King’s (Billy Summers) latest overlong offering is really two books in one. The first part concerns 17-year-old Charlie Reade, who is traumatized by his mother’s early death and his father’s subsequent alcoholism. One day Charlie hears a dog barking frantically while walking past the nearby “Psycho House.” There he finds injured, crabby old Mr. Bowditch. Charlie decides to help Mr. Bowditch by cleaning his house, caring for his aged dog, Radar, and providing outpatient care. Turns out that Mr. Bowditch has an inexplicable amount of gold, and there’s some weird stuff going on out in the locked shed. Eventually Charlie discovers a portal to Empis, an enchanting realm that holds many dangers. Charlie’s journey though Empis abounds in expected fairy-tale tropes and references. Narrator Seth Numerick does a super job giving voice to the many characters. Bowditch sure sounds cranky; Charlie sounds wise beyond his years; and the evil king is horrifying. As always, the book could have benefited from editing, as the story sometimes drags. Even so, Numerick maintains interest through excellent pacing, well-placed humor, and a convincing portrayal of fear and shame.
VERDICT Patrons will be clamoring for this one. Public libraries should purchase multiple copies.
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