Audiobook Review: “The Black Country”
By Alex Grecian
Read by Toby Leonard Moore
Published by Penguin Audio
Approx 10 hours
Once in a while you just have to dive into a book regardless of whether you know the author or the subject matter. That Is precisely what I did with this book. I was not aware of the author and the subject matter is somewhat up my alley, but not in this format. The story revolves around a missing family and possibly a murder. The thing that makes this story different from what I would have normally listened to or read is that it is set in nineteenth-century rural England.
Take a little Dickens, mix well with some Dean Koontz and sprinkle in some John Sandford and you have this tale of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad investigating the disappearance and most likely death of a coal-mining town family. The town’s constable calls for help from Scotland Yard and receive that assistance in the form of Inspector Walter Day and Sargeant Nevil Hammersmith. Day and Hammersmith soon find out that the town is full of secrets and superstitions and the townspeople may not want their secrets uncovered.
Upon arrival in the town Day and Hammersmith learn that the town’s constable has been the only person in town concerned with finding the father, stepmother and son missing. He has searched some of the mines and the outlying woods on his own but to no avail. Hammersmith and Day wish to search the woods after they get settled into their rooms at the inn. They are poisoned or rather drugged to keep them from going back out and from that moment they find the mystery goes deep.
Due to the mining under the town many houses, in fact nearly the entire town is sinking into the Earth. The citizens are all falling ill to a mysterious disease and Hammersmith and Day bring in Dr. Bernard Kingsly to at first perform his forensics expertise on a mysterious eyball, but soon the doctor is treating the town’s dying people. Finally a mysterious man in the woods with the skin stripped away from his jaw is seen by one of the inspectors. Mystery upon mystery adds up to a book that will keep you enthralled until the exciting and action-packed end.
The book’s reader, Toby Leonard Moore, does an excellent job at keeping up the mystery by creating an aura of horror and excitement with his delivery. He is able to bring the characters to life with subtle voice changes. Most of the accents are nineteenth century British rural folk but throw in an escaped American Prisoner of war from the Southern U.S. and Moore has to manage another accent to throw in, which he does well.
This book just oozes horror and mystery from beginning to end.