Details from Audible:
Noir contains three classic thrillers by Richard Matheson, the grand master of suspense. Originally published in the 1950s, at the very beginning of Matheson’s distinguished career, these page-turning classics are finally on audio for your listening pleasure. Now listeners everywhere can savor three unforgettable tales of crime, corruption, and cold-blooded murder.
“Someone Is Bleeding”
Dave Newton has fallen hard for Peggy, a leggy blonde with a lurid past and a heartbreaking smile. But as bloody corpses begin to litter his path, Dave is forced to confront the terrifying possibility that the woman he loves is a deranged killer.
“Fury on Sunday”In the wee hours of a fateful Sunday morning, a homicidal maniac embarks on a rampage of terror and violence that threatens everyone who crosses his path, culminating in a deadly confrontation in a Manhattan apartment building.
“Ride the Nightmare”
Chris and Helen have the perfect suburban life—until Helen discovers her husband’s guilty secret. Overnight, their peaceful existence descends into a vortex of fear and brutality that may cost them the life of their only child.
©1997 Richard Matheson. Someone Is Bleeding 1953 by Richard Matheson; renewed 1981 by Richard Matheson. Fury on Sunday 1953 by Richard Matheson. Ride the Nightmare 1959 by Richard Matheson; renewed 1987 by Richard Matheson. (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“The author who influenced me the most as a writer was Richard Matheson.” (Stephen King)
I discovered Matheson about 8 years ago. After seeing the movie “I am Legend” (yes the Will Smith version, it was ok), I wanted to read the book it was based on. The book was amazing (check out my review here
) and I’ve been reading his stuff ever since. For this review I’ll be doing it for each book (as it’s composed of three novellas), so it will be a little on the long side. As usual I use Audible (which is now in Canadian and cheaper for me, yay!).
The collection starts with “Someone is Bleeding” a tale of a writer, Dave, falling in love with a woman he meets on a beach. Of course Peggy is a lot more than Dave was expecting and he is soon drawn into her life of crime, murder and a very jealous lawyer who is also in love with her. I enjoyed Dave, he is a well written character with plenty of flaws (including rampant sexism and disturbing ideas about rape culture) but is still likable and the person you root for (aside from that one part, which bothered me a good deal). I know the book was written in the 50’s and times have change, still that doesn’t make his ideas on women correct and I in no way feel the same.
Matheson always does such a great job describing characters that they come fully to life. Dave, Peggy and everyone else feel very vibrant and you want to know what happens to them. Once the killings start, the suspense really kicks in and even though you have a strong suspicion about who did it, the novella has a couple of good twists I didn’t see coming. Having visited LA (not in the 50s of course, I’m not that old!) I enjoyed recognizing certain landmarks like Griffith Park.
There is a great car chase scene and a pulse-pounding fight between Dave and a hitman, I’ll let you listen to it and find out what happens. I enjoyed the ending but did feel it wound up a little too quickly.
The collection continues with “Fury on Sunday”. I really enjoyed this novella. It draws you in right away as we see Vince in his terrible position at the mental hospital. The author does a nice job of initially making us feel sorry for Vince as he abused, drugged and (presumably) raped by one of the attendants. Soon though, however, we see Vince for who he truly is, a homicidal maniac who is obsessed with revenge and possessing a woman from his past, Ruth.
Matheson does a great job, as usual, with description, dialogue and building tension. He also does action scenes very well and makes well-rounded characters. The story is dated, written in 1953, and once more some sexist ideas are present here. I also thought that the quick switch between Vince and the unhappy couple in their apartment happens very abruptly and could have been handle better. There is also a point in the story where Vince is waiting for Bob to arrive at the apartment and all the characters start talking, it’s awkward and slows the story down, I also found it a little dull.
Finally we have “Ride the Nightmare”. Another novella I enjoyed and was glad to see some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. It starts off similar to the other two but when we see the main character, Chris, is one of the tougher and more resourceful men in the stories, I was happy with the direction it took. The suspense and action picks up quickly for this one and never lets up.
As with the others it is dated, the car references don’t bother me but he once more has a somewhat sexist view of women. I did find, however, that Helen is a better character with a more realistic personality (and the ability to took after herself) than were the women in the first story and most of them in the second. Also as usual he is excellent at description, action scenes, building suspense and realistic dialogue. I also thought this one had the most satisfying (and happiest) ending though there is a scene with one of the villains that didn’t make a lot of sense to me and is never explained.
I enjoyed part 1 of this collection. The narrator does a good job with Dave and the other male characters but struggles with Peggy, it would have been better for a woman to read those parts. I enjoyed part 2 of the collection as well, he does a better job with one female character and the ending is very good. I have also always been fascinated with truly evil/disturbed minds. Getting inside Vince’s is a fun ride, he is so unpredictable that it was enjoyable to see what he’d do next. I enjoyed the third part of the collection as well about as much as part 1. This book is not for children as their is some violence and harsh language. I would ages 13+. Overall a 7.5 out of 10 and a mild recommendation. This is not Matheson’s strongest work but is still enjoyable for any suspense/thriller fan. Again it’s worth nothing that while the narrator is good, his deep voice always makes it sound silly when he does female characters. Still worth a listen as it’s broken up in 3 nice parts and a fairly quick listen.