Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King

drunken-fireworks-9781442389656_lgDrunken Fireworks

by Stephen King

Published by Simon & Schuster Audio 2015

This is a strange review for me being a huge King fan and coming off the back of his most recent novel, the thoroughly enjoyable, Finders Keepers, I was excited to find yet more, new King product available. Only problem is, this is an audiobook. I don’t really get on with audiobooks, I’m too easily distracted by visual stimuli, but given this was a short story and therefore a short reading (1hr 19mins) I thought I would give it a go.

First the good news, this is a perfectly acceptable King short with some great characters, as always in this authors work. It’s not King at his best, the plot meanders, there is little “horror”, little tension. The plot is a simple idea and you will probably guess the conclusion long before you actually get there.

A far bigger problem was the narration. Apparently Tim Sample, the narrator, was handpicked by King for his authentic Maine accent and I’m not going to argue with that. Living in the middle of nowhere in the highlands of Scotland I’m not in a position to judge if this is authentic or not, but to me it came over as a cross between Gabby Johnson’s authentic frontier gibberish and a drunk Australian (that’s right, Australian?). It might be authentic but for me it was difficult to follow, exagerrated and downright confusing.

So an average story with a difficult narration, not really highly recommended. Couple all that with a price tag of £3.95 on itunes and the fact that this is, after all, just one story from a forthcoming collection (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams) and I smell a marketing scam.

Many great authors both in indie publishing and traditional publishing are rewarding fans with cheap or free downloads in many formats. Many are selling full length novels for £0.99 (I recently bought Tim Lebbon’s fantastic thriller, The Hunt, for that amount), I suspect Mr King doesn’t need the money quite as badly as some of those guys. Quite why he and his publishers have decided to fleece his fans by selling a short, average quality story at four times the price of many novels, in audiobook only, is beyond me.

Finally in a recent interview King was asked about audiobooks versus print and said. ‘Are audiobooks as good as books in print?’ … the answer to me is a no-brainer. Yes, they are, and they might even be better.” Well on the basis of this story I would have to disagree.

Rating 3 out of 5

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