- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Arthur Slade
- Audible.com Release Date: January 14, 2016
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01AIXEI56
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Dust Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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How all that adds up to this mesmerizing story is something I can't relate without spoilers. Suffice to say that you must read it. Arthur Slade is on my list of authors to read for the beauty of reading.
One summer day, seven-year Matthew disappears while walking to town. His brother Robert feels a terrible sense of guilt. After all, Robert was too busy reading to go with Matthew when his brother asked. At first, it seems as if it might be an accident but when authorities discover other children from town missing, there is clearly something sinister at work. At first, Robert's parents and the entire town are paralyzed with grief by the loss, but they slowly seem to recover and then forget all about their missing children. But, Robert doesn't forget.
Newcomer Abram H. has something to do with Robert's parents' forgetting and something to do with the missing children. Robert just knows it. But, how is all this connected to Abram's promise of a rain-making machine?
It had a very Stephen King/Neil Gaiman feel to it for me, although the horror was toned down a bit for the adolescent target. The story was creepy most of the way through but descended into out-right horror at the end. It's kind of like a psychological thriller, but....weird. It was a very interesting setting--takes place during a 'dust bowl' depression in Saskatchewan, Canada. I always pictured the dust bowl as an American phenomenon so that part was enlightening. I liked the book but I don't know how well adolescents would like it. It seems a long wait for the eventual pay-off.
Matthew didn't understand the question. He examined the stranger's smiling face. After a moment's thought he answered, "Yes."
"I was never young," the man said. He tipped his hat back, showing glistening white hair. "Do you believe me? I was never young."
Seven-year-old Matthew is pleased to be walking to town alone. He's busy envisioning how he will be waiting on the corner when his family finally pulls up with their horse and wagon. "See, Mom, I made it. My legs aren't too short," he'll proudly yell.
He's surprised as can be to hear a strange truck pulling up behind him.
Matthew never makes it to town that day. Only his hat is found.
His eleven-year-old brother, Robert, is stunned. Could Matthew have been swallowed by the wind or adopted by a coyote? Sometimes he's even forced to admit, "He's not coming back. Not ever. He's probably dead, okay? Dead. Like a little sparrow that falls out of the nest."
Then, a mysterious stranger arrives in town to reopen the decrepit old movie theater. He offers visions and promises that tease and tempt the townsfolk. Only Robert and his Uncle Alden seem resistant to the man's charms. "What a snake-oil trick, all smoke and mirrors," scoffs Alden.
Soon, people are forgetting things...things like Matthew's disappearance. Only Robert remembers, and he is determined to find out the truth.
Robert is a great character...a boy in love with books and reading (particularly forbidden titles by Robert E. Howard) and a fondness for new vocabulary words, like 'dessicated' and 'cacophony.'
The sinister stranger, Abram, is another memorable creature, and his scenes with the doubting Robert are electric.
"You are on the cusp," Abram explained, "between boy and man, the dreaming and the reality. You must have had a million great dreams in your lifetime. Of armies and swords, candies and milkwhips, wizards and unicorns. The cusp." His lips curled into a soft, sad, smile. "I have never had a dream. Not once.
I feel sorry for you. One morning you will get up and your dreams will stay in your pillow."
While not exactly a horror novel, there is a terrific,creepy 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' vibe about this book. It was suspenseful, well-written, and I really enjoyed the unusual setting of Depression-era Saskatchewan for a fantasy novel.