Written by Stephen Dobyns
Narrated by George Newbern
Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Date Read: June 7, 2016
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
With the first disappearance, the townspeople begin to mistrust outsiders. When the second girl goes missing, neighbors and childhood friends start to eye each other warily. And with the third disappearance, the sleepy little town awakens to a full-blown nightmare.
The Church of Dead Girls displays Stephen Dobyns' remarkable gifts for exploring human nature, probing the ruinous effects of suspicion. As panic mounts and citizens take the law into their own hands, no one is immune, and old rumors, old angers, and old hungers come to the surface to reveal the secret history of a seemingly genteel town and the dark impulses of its inhabitants.
The best part of this book was finishing it. Seriously, I was absolutely thrilled to finally be done with this one so that I could move on to something else. I actually almost stopped listening pretty early on in the book because it just wasn't working for me but I made myself continue because I didn't feel like I had given it a chance. The last part of the book was a bit better for me but only a bit.
I was ready for an exciting mystery and hoped that it would be creepy and a bit gruesome. Just look at the title - I expected a equally amazing story. This book did start strong and I really enjoyed the opening scene. I wanted to know what happened to those girls. Unfortunately, the book went back to a time before the crimes and was really more of a character study than anything else. I couldn't believe how many characters were brought in the spotlight. We would learn one community members backstory and then move on to the next person's story. It was too many character to keep up with for me.
Once the girls had disappeared and the mystery moved into the spotlight, I did enjoy the story a bit more. I think one of my main issues was that all of the characters bored me in this book. I didn't feel anything for any of them - not even the girls. Even when the plot sped up, I didn't really have anything invested in the story. I actually think that this book could easily be made much shorter and the result would be a much more enjoyable story.
I didn't realize that I had read anything by Stephen Dobyns before I started this book. I guess I really haven't but I did read about a quarter of Is Fat Bob Dead Yet? before I gave up on it. I think that I had many of the same issues with that book in that I had a really hard time connecting with any of the characters. I did learn that this book was actually first published in the 1990's even though the audiobook was just released.
I did enjoy George Newbern's narration. This is the first time that I have listened to this narrator and I was really impressed. He had a very pleasant voice and was able to handle a very large cast of characters quite well. I thought that he did a nice job with both the male and female voices and enjoyed the overall flow of his narration. I will definitely look for this narrator in the future.
I wouldn't recommend this book. I was disappointed on so many levels with this story and really regret not following my initial instinct of putting this one on the dnf pile early on.
I received a review copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media, LLC via Audiobook Jukebox for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Stephen Dobyns is the author of over 30 novels and poetry collections, including The Church of Dead Girls, Cold Dog Soup, and Cemetery Nights. Among his many honors and awards are a Melville Cane Award, Pushcart Prizes, National Poetry Series prize, and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. His novels have been translated into 20 languages, and his poetry has appeared in the Best American Poems anthology. Dobyns teaches creative writing at Warren Wilson College and has taught at the University of Iowa & Sarah Lawrence College.