Reviews

The Flip Side

audio / Big Finish / Nancy Barrett, Christopher Ragland, written by Cody Quijano-Schell

Very, very interesting. The Dark Shadows story progresses! I knew Big Finish was leading up to something with the last few entries, having Carolyn Stoddard being the drunk little rich girl. The Flip Side is definitely a turning point for the character. Love the reference to the jukebox at the Blue Whale having the same songs for years! Performances: Nancy Barrett is fantastic, and Cody Quijano-Schell’s script allows her to do pretty much everything here (drunk Carolyn, confused Carolyn, angry Carolyn, and, ultimately, determined Carolyn). Christopher Ragland is great as Jonah Rooney, new bartender at the Blue Whale, and the supporting cast shines as well, especially Lisa Richards as Sabrina Jennings (can’t wait to see what happens with her!) All in all, a very enjoyable hour of listening, with a few goosebumps to keep you company!

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The Lucifer Gambit

audio / Big Finish / Stephanie Ellyne, Simon Lee Phillips, Sheila Steafel, written by Eric Wallace

 dsab036_thelucifergambit_1417_cover_medium In many ways, these “individual” Dark Shadows stories are getting harder and harder to review, as they really are (and rightly so, this is Dark Shadows–on ongoing story that never seems to end!) part of a broader story. But let’s try.
Okay, love Carolyn as a drunk. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
Performances: Stephanie Ellyne does a fine job as Amy Jennings, as always. The other regulars are fine as always. But kudos must go out to Simon Lee Phillips and Sheila Steafel who really raise the ba
In many ways, these “individual” Dark Shadows stories are getting harder and harder to review, as they really are (and rightly so, this is Dark Shadows–on ongoing story that never seems to end!) part of a broader story. But let’s try.
Okay, love Carolyn as a drunk. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
Performances: Stephanie Ellyne does a fine job as Amy Jennings, as always. The other regulars are fine as always. But kudos must go out to Simon Lee Phillips and Sheila Steafel who really raise the bar for guest shots here. They do an excellent job, managing to make their characters in turns horrifying, chilling, and even sympathetic. The atmosphere created by the music, sound effects, etc. are perfect, enabling the listener to BE in the scene. Add to this a good script from Eric Wallace and you have a story that keeps you guessing to the very end

Shy

ebook / Dreamspinner Press / written by John Inman

Well, I’m tempted to start off by saying this book is full of poop, but that might give the wrong impression! Seriously, though, there’s a lot of excrement going on here. First, we have Pedro, the dog, who isn’t housebroken. And then our main characters are transported from the city out to a farm in Indiana, with a lot of animals. And animals poop. A lot. Farms are full of shit, which is something that might take a city slicker off-guard. And Tom just isn’t prepared for life on a farm, which makes for a lot of laughs.
There’s the humor, but there’s a lot of love as well. Not just with Tom and his new lover, Frank, but also in the little moments. The scene where Tom helps a pig with a difficult labor. The bond between Pedro and Frank’s dying father, Joe. There’s a lot of love in these pages.
And (boo!) some pretty nasty characters, too. Frank’s brother, Stanley, is despicable. Tom’s ex, Jerry, isn’t nice, either, but at least he’s pitiable. Stanley you just hate.
And lurking within his pen, we have…Samson. The devil in the form of a giant hog! Seriously, though, what’s not to like about this Inman outing? Animals, love…okay, a lot of poop, but that aside…animals, love, and a lot of funny, funny scenes.

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The Enemy Within

Audio / Big Finish / Lisa Richards, Christopher Pennock, James Unsworth / written by Will Howells

Cyrus Longworth was a character in the parallel time storyline in the original Dark Shadows series. We never saw him in the “regular” timeline. Well, Big Finish has given Cyrus life again, voiced, of course, by Christopher Pennock. And, being Dark Shadows, Cyrus doesn’t have an easy life. The “other” Cyrus was a Jekyll/Hyde character. Present time Cyrus is a Damien/Omen type character, with an evil voice in his head which Cyrus refers to as John (voiced by James Unsworth, who does a marvelous job). Cyrus has a new neighbor: Sabrina Stewart Jennings, who has secrets of her own. I love how Howells expanded the character of Sabrina, giving actress Lisa Richards a chance to stretch. And there’s an afghan joke! (We had a Sunday night Dark Shadows group, and we always laughed at how the same afghan showed up in various homes in various time periods!)

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A Purple Place For Dying

ebook, Travis McGee #3, written by John D. MacDonald17615199

Travis McGee isn’t a private eye. He’s a “salvage expert.” If you’ve lost money or someone has ripped you off, he’ll get it back for you…and he gets half. He lives on his boat, the Busted Flush, and works only when he has to. He’s a philosopher, a dreamer, and a social critic. And he’s one of the greatest characters ever created.
McGee doesn’t like his new prospective client, and he doesn’t want to take her case as it doesn’t sound like something for him, but then she’s murdered right in front of his eyes. McGee’s sense of right and wrong just won’t let him walk away, even when he gets the opportunity.
The novel moves along at a rapid pace as more bodies are found, and McGee finds himself getting entangled in the lives of this Western community where the past has come to haunt the lives of the rich and entitled

Dark Shadows: Beneath the Veil

Audio / Big Finish / Marie Wallace, Brigid Lohrey, Simon Kent / written by Kymberly Ashman

 dsab034_beneaththeveil_1417_cover_medium The wonderful thing about audio plays is that your imagination is everything. You conjure up what these people look like, what the places look like, etc. Now with Dark Shadows, some of the images are ingrained. We KNOW what Maggie Evans looks like, we know what Eagle Hill Cemetery looks like, etc. But Big Finish has expanded on the world we know, with new characters entering into our story-world. And they do it so well. I pictured perfectly the walks through the town of Collinsport, the murder s The wonderful thing about audio plays is that your imagination is everything. You conjure up what these people look like, what the places look like, etc. Now with Dark Shadows, some of the images are ingrained. We KNOW what Maggie Evans looks like, we know what Eagle Hill Cemetery looks like, etc. But Big Finish has expanded on the world we know, with new characters entering into our story-world. And they do it so well. I pictured perfectly the walks through the town of Collinsport, the murder scenes, etc.
And this story? Wow. Years ago, I listened to an old radio show called The Hitchhiker. It starred Orson Welles, and it was brilliant and actually raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Creepy as hell. Well, Beneath the Veil did the same. There were scenes that I was listening to with bated breath, wondering what was going to happen next. Goosebumps! Goosebumps, I tell you! Absolutely fantastic!
Marie Wallace is brilliant in this. I can’t say much about her character without giving away spoilers, but I will say that I was surprised by the “reveal.” And she does such a wonderful job being evil. The story ties in with other tales, as “Dreaming of the Water” and “The House By the Sea” are referenced, and we continue to get teasers for “Beyond the Grave.” I loved Carolyn (Nancy Barrett) getting drunk at the Blue Whale. Well, why wouldn’t she?! Barrett provides some smiles with her supporting role, and it’s nice to get the sense of Collinsport as a town, with more than just Collins’s. And you have to love the mention of just HOW MANY people have died in the town lately!
This is part of the 1973 storyline.

Dark Shadows: The Phantom Bride

Audio / Big Finish / Jerry Lacy, Lara Parker / written by Mark Thomas Passmore

 18050929 I really love the Tony/Cassandra stories. The lovely thing about Dark Shadows is that you can do almost any kind of tale. I mean, they have time travel, parallel worlds, etc. so why not throw some paranormal detective stories into the mix? Best of all, Jerry Lacy and Lara Parker seem to be having a blast with their characters. I laughed when Cassandra complained that she always seemed to be having to heal Tony’s wounds, realizing they were, in some ways, similar to my own characters, Duncan Andrews and Gina. In the Phantom Bride we get ghosts, both good and bad, on board a ship heading to England. There’s a lot of humor mixed in with the creepy in these Tony/Cassandra stories, which I really enjoy. 
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