Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Chicken Pi: Twisted Tales by S. Lawrence Parrish (2013) - Horror Audiobook Series Review

Chicken Pi: Twisted Tales is a collection of fifteen short horror stories written and spoken by S. Lawrence Parish (he of Where Evil Grows and Yog-Sothoth's Box fame), each one roughly twenty minutes in length. His previous audio books have been straight up narrations and featured him doing a variety of voices. The stories contained in Chicken Pi all have sound effects and music added which really gives them some added flavour.

Parrish gives all his audio work away for free and this is no exception and so the only aspect to look at is are these stories any good, and are they worth the listen? The resounding answer would be yes. I was very impressed with the variety and quality of these tales with only a few coming across as anything but excellent. While all the stories are different there are several themes that he keeps coming back to. A few of the stories concern demons and vampires while a fair few of them are post apocalyptic in nature. It is the apocalyptic ones in particular that had a real power of dread behind them.

Not all the stories in Chicken Pi were amazing, in particular I did not enjoy Givin' the Dog a Bone which was about an old man and woman trying to survive nuclear fallout, it was depressing from the start and ended a bit strangely. The other one which I did not think was as good as the others was final story Kitty Kitty about a witch and a very hard to kill cat. For that one I just straight up got confused as to what happened. That is not to say these are badly written, far from it, Parrish never disappoints with his style of writing and he is skilled at coming up with different voices for the characters in that particular unique voice of his.

On the other end of the spectrum the best tale by far is Current Events that brings real horror of nuclear Armageddon into play, it is harrowing throughout and ends in such an amazing and descriptive way that I got goose bumps hearing it, something very special there. The two parter The Prophet was also another stand out story. That one concerned a feudal based civilisation who are approaching end times and had a sense of urgency and frustration and again ended on such a blinder of an ending.

Most of the stories here finish badly for the characters being followed, it almost come to be expected that everything would go wrong and so I came to look forward to getting the ironic or deserved end to these people. A few curve balls are thrown also with the best oddity being A Fistful of Rubber that seems to be a post apocalyptic based yarn about the day after a wild party. The story is narrated by Stumpy who speaks in a very A Clockwork Orange way with his own little language that was fun to hear.

With stories set hundreds of years in the past and future, demons that crawl into people via their bottoms, aliens who can take over your mind with just a touch, Scanner style head explosions and exploding babies the variety is always consistent leading you to never know what is going to be next. This is essential listening if you are a fan of short horror stories, I cannot recommend it enough.


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