Roll Them Bones
By David Niall Wilson
Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer
Total Listening Time: 3 Hours 1 Minute
David Niall Wilson (no relation) has created a nice little horror story with “Roll Them Bones.” One that could be read around a campfire or shared around Halloween. Actually, both of those elements are a part of this book. Add in that the audio book is only about 3 hours in length and this makes for some chills to share just about anytime. For the average listener thinking about picking up this audio book, allow me to oversimplify the story a bit. Take a little bit of Stephen King's “It” sprinkle in a bit of “The Blair Witch Project,” and add in a huge hunk of Wilson's imagination and you are on this haunting hike in the woods called “Roll Them Bones.”
The story takes place in the fictional rural community of Random, Illinois, where just like any small midwestern town, nothing much has changed in the last century. Kids grow up and move out of town. In this story four school mates are reunited to finish off something that has haunted them and left them sleepless since they “burned a witch” one Halloween night in their youth. Even moving away from Random does not keep the nightmares at bay.
Jason, Frank, Ronnie and Lizzy were all friends in small Random, Illinois and one Halloween they decided to visit a witch that lived in the Woods. They all sought to have their fortune told by the town's legendary haunter of the woods. The only problem is that once they reached the witch's campfire things went all wrong. Frank, who grew up to be a famous horror novelist, learned the witch may have known some dirty secret about his family. Ronnie, or as known to his friends “Redneck Ronnie,” chickened out and went running into the woods and Jason and Lizzie, who had a “thing” for each other soon were witness to the witch and her home burning down, killing the witch, or so they thought.
Many years later they have all moved out of Random, except for Ronnie, and moved on in their lives. The problem is that they all are being haunted by nightmares of the witch. Frank manages to become famous writing stories about the experience, keeping the nightmares at bay, however that doesn't always do the trick. Ronnie goes out to the woods by the lake to discover that the cabin has “come back.” Soon, Frank requests they all get back together for a reunion of sorts in Random. Their reunion consists of returning to the cabin to make sure the witch is dead and to bring an end to their nightmares.
Upon arrival at the lake and the cabin soon after many secrets are revealed and events happen that change their lives forever. This haunting tale is a fun little chiller that you may want to hear with all the lights on.
While the story itself may be fun, the production of the audio book has some elements that I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't bring them up. The reader of this audio book, to my ear, was quite difficult to hear. His narration was monotone and his word emphasis seemed ill-placed. He read the novel as if it were a detective novel, better yet a “film noir” detective novel. Just picture Jack Webb (of TV's Dragnet fame) reading a horror story. The dry delivery really took a lot out of the performance. Not to be all bad, when he was reading the dialogue between the characters, he was excellent separating the different characters by subtle voice changes. If the story had all been dialogue then this would have been a great reading, however his narration left me wishing that the characters would hurry up and get back to talking. Again this delivery did not work for me, maybe some listeners would prefer the dry delivery, I just had a hard time wanting to hear the rest of the story because of it.