Review: Pressure by Jeff Strand (audiobook)

Review:

pressure

My original Pressure audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Pressure can be defined as the exertion of force upon something by something else, as well mental or physical distress. Either definition is appropriate for Jeff Strand’s aptly titled suspense thriller, Pressure. At its core, this a story of two forces impacting one another, forcefully and violently, and the result is a hefty dose of distress.

Alex and Darren are two boarding school brats, their friendship cemented by a late-night excursion into the woods behind a strip club, where they hide out and hope to catch sight of the action inside. Darren, though, has a secret, and once Alex and their schoolmates discover Darren’s morbid fascinations nothing is the same. What follows is a decades-long story of friendship, adversarial rivalry, and gruesome deeds that can only leave one of them alive.

Strand does a terrific job building his characters, giving them enough dimension and subtle shadings to make them relateable, even if you don’t particularly want to relate to them. And although Darren’s actions are often outside the din of understanding, you at least get what motivates him, even if the results are terribly aberrant. Alex is a solid every-man character caught up in a situation beyond his control and struggling to cope, struggling to make sense, and, mostly, struggling to find a solution to the problem that is Darren. The first-person viewpoint Strand uses allows us to see the world from Alex’s point of view, and while the story itself is pretty pitch-black, Strand, via Alex, is able to interject enough levity and enduring positivity to keep Pressure from collapsing under its own misery.

Pressure is narrated by Scott Thomas, whose voice talents I greatly enjoyed in a prior Strand title, Wolf Hunt. Here, Thomas exhibits a nice a range and listeners are unlikely to confuse characters during stretches of dialogue. While the story belongs to Alex, Thomas injects plenty of different voices and speech styles to mark the other characters that inhabit Pressure. Soundwise, this is a cleanly narrated book, with terrific production quality and no technical issues to speak of.

Clocking in at seven hours, Pressure is a solid psychological suspense thriller with dashes of Strand’s typical wry humor, and packed with plenty of history between the central antagonist and his nemesis. It’s entertaining, occasionally bleak, but highly worthy of attention. Between the two works I’ve listened to that Strand and Thomas have collaborated on, I think it’s fair to say they make quite a good team. As long as Strand keeps writing, and Thomas keeps giving a voice to those words, I’ll be listening.

[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com.]

 

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MichaelPatrickHicks.booklikes.com/post/1478636/review-pressure-by-jeff-strand-audiobook

Review: Pressure by Jeff Strand (audiobook)

Review: Pressure by Brian Keene

Review:

pressure

Pressure is a far cry from Brian Keene’s previous release, The Complex, earlier this year. Whereas the latter was a tight horror-action romp that hardly slowed down, let alone paused to catch a breath, Pressure is a more leisurely and tepid thriller. Here, Keene delivers a twist on the sea monster creature-feature, with a sort of Crichton-esque flavor, or perhaps a bit of Lincoln & Child reminiscence.

The sea floor of the Mauritius is falling into “The Mouth of Hell,” and strange stirrings are afoot with the discovery of a new, massive predator. World-class free diver, Carrie Anderson, is working on behalf of a biotech firm to learn about the collapsing sea-floor but business takes a personal turn after her diving partner’s demise and a close encounter with an unclassified underwater monster.

Pressure is filled with several great ideas that could have been truly terrific if given a little more room to build and develop. It’s a short book, and it feels like some elements could have used more time to bake. Since the book was pitched as “Jaws meets Alien,” two of my favorite films, and written by Keene, whose work in The Complex I enjoyed tremendously, I had ridiculously high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, my expectations were not quite met, although I would say Pressure is nonetheless a good and certainly enjoyable read. But, it’s also a read that I think needs to be approached with any preconceived notions firmly in check, especially if you’re expecting a gory horror fest that Keene is typically known for.

Pressure is at its best when the characters are on the high sea, dealing with the mysterious and massive threat lurking below the water. The flip-side, however, is that this particular element is nearly a C-plot to the book. I had expected, and indeed hoped for, it to be the primary focus of the novel. I wanted to see lots of aquatic horror, and I didn’t really get it. What was there was all kinds of salty and violent fun, but entirely too short-lived.

I kept expecting the characters to make their way back to the water, but Keene was more focused on driving this toward a land-based thriller where the real villains are an evil corporation and their gun-toting thugs. I suspect this book will appeal to a lot of readers looking for a disposable beach read – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Personally, I was looking for more horror, more action, more scares, and definitely way more in the way of monster mayhem. This particular book was built to be just a little too mainstream for my tastes, and didn’t quite deliver what I wanted-slash-expected.

I will give it a few extra points for some Clickers Easter eggs, as well a number of Alpinus Bio security guys whose names are borrowed from a number of well-known horror authors. I just dig stuff like that. I also hope that Pressure helps lead new readers into Keene’s other works.

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

 

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Original post:
MichaelPatrickHicks.booklikes.com/post/1390721/review-pressure-by-brian-keene

Review: Pressure by Brian Keene