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Darkbound - Michaelbrent Collings A subway train driven by a skeleton takes on 6 passengers, all in one car. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have different reasons for being chosen for this very ride. Full of suspense, and at times, gore, this fast-paced thriller grabs you early on and keeps you interested the whole way through. Jim, our mild-mannered narrator and family man, provides the viewpoint for the story. It is through his eyes and his prejudices that we see these other characters. An abuelita (little Hispanic grandmother) actually first meets Jim on the platform as they wait for their train. She is kicking a man (Freddy) in the lower legs; he is dressed in a trench coat and sucking a lollipop and the other characters all assume him to be a pedophile. Once the train loads, we get to meet an older man who is from Eastern Europe’s Georgia and has been involved in some shady life style choices. There’s also a tall, model-esque woman (Sarah) in a business suit and NY gang member.

I have read a few of Collings’s books now and all are easy to get caught up in; this is even more so. Right away, we have a hint of the paranormal and we have a short grandmother giving some vicious kicks to Freddy who is ogling the photo of Jim’s wife and daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace of this novel. The characters were set and then the plot ran with them. While I will say that the characters are pretty one dimensional, this book is more about the action. We do get a little bit more on each character as one after the other suffers some gruesome death. And there are plenty of gruesome scenes. Out of all the Collings books I have read, I believe this to be the most graphic in violence and gore. And I was OK with that, because these characters have all done some pretty horrendous things in their pasts.

There is a wonderful twist that I want to say something about with out giving anything away. Such a challenge this early in the morning! Not all the characters are as they first seem and the ending wasn’t what I expected. There. That is vague enough. For a fast-paced thriller, this was excellent; I was enjoying the book, but I had certain ideas of how it would end. But then the twist hits and the ending is different and that took this book to the next level for me.

My one criticism is that the characters by and large are pretty one dimensional and fit into stereotypes. It’s not necessary that they be anything else for the plot, but a little more would have been nice.

The Narration: Steve Marvel was a great fit for Jim (the main character) who is POV for the story. His mild-mannered voice caught on excitement, fear, sadness, terror. Indeed, he did an excellent job with all the emotions that Jim went through. A few of the stereotype accents were a bit over done (the Hispanic grandmother and the gang member) but I liked his soft, deadly voice for Sarah (the business woman) and Eastern European man. I would listen to another book narrated by him.