- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 35 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Joe Konrath Books LTD
- Audible.com Release Date: August 2, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01J2BHPGO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Webcam: A Novel of Terror Audiobook – Unabridged
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Jack Kilborn is JA Konrath's go-to pseudonym for horror books, and they're usually billed as "A Novel Of Terror." Such books have included Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, Haunted House, and (I think) a few others. For me, Afraid has stood at the top of these offerings and is the pinnacle of Kilborn's efforts. The sequence listed above also carries with it a certain staple that I expect in a Kilborn book - primarily intense, squirm-inducing violence that is graphically rendered, and a whole bucketfuls of spilled blood, guts, and gore. The villains are bat-shit crazy psychotics, occasionally of the inbred variety, and the good guys are normal people caught up in unexpected horrors that are way, way, way over their heads.
In WEBCAM, a nutjob is killing webcam models. Given the endless stream of horror that pretty much is the Internet these days, this seems like perfect fodder for some Kilborn scares. Unfortunately, much of what I dug in previous Kilborn books are sorely lacking here. I didn't find myself squirming uncomfortably as I did back in the days when Afraid and Trapped hit my Kindle, and it seems like more than a little stretch of the imagination to call this a Novel Of Terror since there's not actually much real terror in it. At least not for my tastes.
What WEBCAM is, though, is a fairly standard but mostly well-delivered serial killer police procedural that feels more like a high-tech, watered-down retread of the movie Seven than a straight-up fright fest. Things run smoothly for the most part, although I found the relationship between lead character Detective Tom Mankowski and his visiting long-distance girlfriend grew weary rather quickly. And the finale is more concerned with shoehorning in Konrath's long-running series staple, Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels, and adding in a few unnecessary layers to the story's end all in the name of developing a cross-over with a few other newly released Konrath titles. The climax is rushed to an abrupt and unsatisfying finish, as if the author grew bored with the material or was running up against a hard, self-imposed deadline.
On the bright side, WEBCAM is certainly a decent time-killer, and it does have a few cat-and-mouse thrills in it, along with a few chuckles here and there. And that cover design is absolutely brilliant!
In the beginning, I really had some high hopes for this novel. While I felt the villain was predictable (and figured out the who/why part at about 25% into the book), the scenes were still enough to make you pause, and the gore/violence was sufficient for horror fans. Throughout it all, "Kilborn's" trademark humor in dark situations was in top form.
The few problems I, personally, had with WEBCAM were: the author's linking of his other novels throughout the e-book version (I just felt that was a tacky marketing technique that he's been using as of late); the romance between two characters took up way too much of the novel--taking away from the "terror" that we were supposed to be feeling, and thereby lessening it; multiple editorial errors; the fact that part of the novel repeated some of the EXACT SAME SCENES as another (that I had just read from him last month); and the ultimate ending felt extremely anticlimactic--as if he just threw it together in a few minutes because he had gotten bored with the story, himself.
Why the three stars then? The overall idea behind it was something that made me think "what if...". Also, as mentioned above, Kilborn's dark humor and scenes of torture were still present, making the first half or more of the novel very interesting. Without the repetition of scenes from the other novel, and a stronger ending (that had more to do with the actual villain and characters), I could have seen this as a 3.5 at least.
I hope that Kilborn/Konrath doesn't continue to add links to other books of his in future titles, and abandons the idea of "linked" story timeframes as well.
The story in WebCam is just that: possible. While it wasn't as gruesome as some of his other tales, I still found the tension high and the writing incredible. He builds fantastic characters though I dislike that I've ended up reading the books out of sequence because sometimes I know the outcome of other books before I can get time to read them. The series intertwine a bit, so the "will this character survive or not" aspect of some books is not as strong. I usually want the character to survive so it's ok with me overall. And I keep reading so that's the tell-all.