NOTE : This is an updated review of the original book to take into account the audiobook version. Amazon and Audible don't distinguish between the different book formats)
I'm going to get right to the point you need to go and buy this novel. Normally when I read the debut novel from an author, I lower my expectations a little. It takes time for an author to hone their craft and find ther own voice and style. This is a brilliant book, I decided to cast aside all first novel expectations after 30 minutes of reading this book. Graeme has produce what can only be described as howling success of a novel (see what I did there folks)
I'll be honest I can count the number of werewolf books I have read on one hand, so I have very few points of reference to judge this book against. What I will say is that out of those books this ranks up there with the best of them. This is an utterly thrilling read, that will have you turning the pages at breakneck speed. The book is littered with great characters, both loveable and despicable. Characters that you will grow to care about, to such extent that the midway climatic scenes ring with emotional intensity.
As for the werewolves Reynolds has created a great and believable mythos. The pack has a strong identity, these are not just the monster of the week type werewolf, their actions and rules are an important factor in what makes this a great book. These are proud, but vicious animals, don't go into this book looking for cuddly furballs, you will be disappointed, these werewolves have big sharp teeth and claws, and they are not afraid to use them
The majority of the story takes place in 1986. I was 15 in 1986, having a ball of time. Reading this book is like looking back at old film footage of my life. Reynolds has expertly captured the feel of what it was like to grow up in a small town in 1986.
But fear not folks this is in no way a rip off Stephen King's It. High Moor is it's own novel, it will strike one hell of a chord with those of a certain age, who grew up in the UK. But it will also appeal to a much wider audience such is the strength of Reynolds writing. The last time I connected so strongly with the setting of a novel was with Joe Donnelly's Twitchy Eyes, and in many ways this book share similar themes, and is of a similar quality.
It takes a writer of tremendous skill to imbue a an action packed novel with as much depth, as is displayed here. This book was a joy to read, not just for its ability to transport me back to a time gone by, but also because it is so well written. If this is the level of writing Graeme is capable of producing in a début novel, then I for one cannot wait for his next novel.
Right so we all know that I am a huge fan of this book and its sequel, so how did I feel about the audiobook treatment of this splendid novel?
Audiobooks, are a funny thing, unlike normal books they can live or die nit just by the quality of the writing, but also by the quality of the production of the book. Many a great story has been rendered unlistenable by poor production values, and terrible narration. If you don't believe me just search for M.R. James audiobooks, don't say i didn't warn you though.
The author of High Moor handed over the mammoth task of bringing this book to audio glory to fellow Scot,Chris Barnes of Dynamic Ram Audio Productions. A task that Chris has risen to with fantastic results. Chris's narration and use of incidental music breath new life into this already brilliant book. We all read books with our own voice, and while unlike myself, your voice probably doesn't have a lyrical Scottish brogue to it, upon hearing Chris's voice for the first time you will be drawn into the story immediately.
Chris's reading of the book is full of excellent vocal performances as he gives each character their own voice. His narration is polished, confident and above all very engaging, this isn't just a plain a reading of the book, this is perfomance in its own right. The book lasts for about seven hours and at no time throughout listening to it did I find myself drifting from the narrative.
Even if you already own a copy of this book, I would still recommend purchasing a copy of the audio version, as it really does add to the overall enjoyment factor of the book.
File Under Horror Novel Review