Audiobook Horror Starred Reviews | Patricia Santomasso Maximizes Terror

Malerman’s latest is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale wrapped in the red viscera of a slasher story.

Daphne by Josh Malerman. Books on Tape. Sept. 2022. 8:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593606117. $76. HORROR

Malerman’s (A House at the Bottom of a Lake) latest is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale wrapped in the red viscera of a slasher story. Everyone in Samhattan, MI, including its high school girls’ basketball team, knows about local legend, Daphne, even if they never talk about her. Daphne is a literal rock-and-roll nightmare—a tall woman dressed in denim and patches from her favorite bands, and a force of nature that even death cannot stop. And to summon her, all you have to do is think about her. It takes just one errant ghost story to put the basketball team and protagonist Kit Lamb into Daphne’s destructive path. Enhanced by the skillful work of narrator Patricia Santomasso, every aspect of this story maximizes tension and terror. When Santomasso speaks as Kit, her breathy whisper might be because Kit is either being strangled by her own anxiety or, perhaps, it’s Daphne’s bare hands. VERDICT Adding Malerman’s flair for creating sympathetic characters and his brutal descriptions of violence creates a fun and fright-filled ghost story, along with a villain that could easily live and thrive in horror fans’ nightmares. Fans of Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Grady Hendrix, and Riley Sager will be delighted.—James Gardner

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