• Cold Moon over Babylon

  • Valancourt 20th Century Classics
  • By: Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (2,233 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to Babylon, a typical sleepy Alabama small town, where years earlier the Larkin family suffered a terrible tragedy. Now they are about to endure another: 14-year-old Margaret Larkin will be robbed of her innocence and her life by a killer who is beyond the reach of the law.

But something strange is happening in Babylon: traffic lights flash an eerie blue, a ghostly hand slithers from the drain of a kitchen sink, graves erupt from the local cemetery in an implacable march of terror. And beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form. Night after night it will pursue the murderer. And when the full moon rises over Babylon, it will seek a terrible vengeance.

Cold Moon Over Babylon, the second novel by Michael McDowell (1950-1999), author of Blackwater and The Elementals and screenwriter of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a chilling Southern Gothic tale of revenge from beyond the grave that ranks among his most terrifying books.

©2015 Valancourt Books (P)2016 Griff Furst

What listeners say about Cold Moon over Babylon

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best audible listen to date...

There are only two other audio books that I would rate as high as this and both of those were fully dramatized so I don't know if they could even be compared. And if you knew anything about me you would know how extremely picky I am when it comes to choosing my next credit. I wouldn't have even seen this title had I not spent the better part of an hour surfing through the sea of suggested reads. I am soooo glad I did.

Scott Brick couldn't have been a more perfect fit as narrator. I won't claim to love every thing he's read so believe me when I say what a great job he did with this. He has a knack for smoothly separating dialogue from story. I never had to guess who was speaking which kept me deeply immersed in the story.

As far as the story itself, it swallowed me like quicksand. I haven't been so involved in what happens since Stephen King's "Cell". The storylines are nothing alike, but the prose was so aptly done it kept me glued to my seat. I felt myself truly caring about these people because it was almost as if I knew them, like I was right there in the midst of the drama.

I dont want to give away anything by going into details of what happens. Half of the fun is going in blind... but I highly recommend buying this book, you will not be sorry.

96 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Solid Southern Gothic


With the background of the lush steamy south (always a favorite) and a dark deep river with a hungry past, this is the kind of classic ghost tale that makes up a good round-the-campfire repertoire. You're left to choose whether there is madness afoot or revenge from the grave, but either way, there is no way out from the genuine creepy pall that overcomes you with this read. Well written with a broad story, rife with possibilities, kept on track.

It's worth pointing out that this was originally released in 1980; we'd had a decade of outstanding genre-bending horror: Peter Benchley's Jaws, William P. Blatty's The Exorcist, John Carpenter's Michael Myers, Anne Rice's Vampires, Hannibal Lecter, Rosemary's Baby, the wives of Stepford -- from Aliens to haunted house horrors...not to mention Stephen King who had redefined the genre with everything from demon cars to alien spider/clowns. *Whew*...the little old ghost story was hardly worth a goosebump. But McDowell did it with an edgy touch of suspense and his own recognizable flourish.

A great intro into this story sets up an haunting legacy that feeds a hunger for revenge so ravenous it's felt in the very nature of Babylon -- an eerie and foreboding presence that feels like a heartbeat, a clock ticking, a breath waiting to be released. There were moments it lagged, but this is old-school ghost territory, so hang in there and enjoy. The Scooby-Do feel gives way to a good ghostly karmic smack-down.

34 people found this helpful

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The BEST Michael McDowell ever!

I've loved McDowell's creepy stories for many years, although not many have been made available in audio format. I had never read this gruesome tale before, and Scott Brick's infamously sonorous delivery was in every way perfect. This is a gory delight, and one I will listen to again.

24 people found this helpful

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Finally a Novel As Original as...

...Gillian Flynn's novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.
It's a horror novel, and not one with the same old formulaic plot & forgettable characters.
Get this book, but don't read it at night. The scenes featuring the killer are truly horrific.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get enough

Read Candles Burning and The Elementals , which was my first introduction to this author. I was hooked, then read candles burning, then lastly Cold Moon over Babylon. I wish there was a hundred more from this author, he is amazing. My favorite author is Stephen King and McDowell hooks me like King does. I am sad I have no more to read. I read or to be precise listened to all three over a three day period, just about non stop. If you haven't read his books, treat yourself, they are great.

16 people found this helpful

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Predictable and Boring

I bought this book based on the glowing reviews and Stephen King's comments but I was sorely disappointed.

First off, I have to say that the narrator was amazing. I wish he'd had something better to work with, and I would listen to another story read by him, but not by the same author.

I expected a lot more from the story, especially based on the way it began. The Prologue was probably the most exciting part of the book for me.

As others mentioned, I figured out who the bad guy was right away, but kept telling myself that it couldn't be that easy, yet it was.

I didn't care for any of the characters. The only one I liked was Jerry, but his participation was minimal. I cared more about Jerry's parents than the rest of the family, especially Evelyn.

Overall the story was boring, predictable, and repetitive. I got so tired of hearing about the black water on the floor, the slapping sounds, etc.

Lastly , the ending was extremely disappointing. I thought that maybe the ending would make up for the rest of the book but it didn't.

14 people found this helpful

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Scary, unusual and very southern

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! The much missed McDowell is a brilliant horror writer, and this example of his work is no exception.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cold Moon over Babylon?

The final 3rd of the book is scary, creative, creepy and interesting.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The best reader ( along with RC Bray ) does yet another fabulous job. Consistently and creatively speaking, this is yet another stellar presentation.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The descriptions of the south are painted with clarity, precision, and confidence. Brilliant work that did move me.

Any additional comments?

MM left us far too early, but the works he left us with are stunning and so worth while. I highly recommend this work for contemporary horror fans AND any audio book fan who enjoys great writing and Scott Brick's brilliance.

10 people found this helpful

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Well worth the listen!

I love reading horror but I'm also pretty critical as to what really draws me in. This book, for me, was a homerun. I really got into the story & Scott Brick is always good. I also recommend The Elementals if you enjoy this.

10 people found this helpful

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I'm disappointed Stephen King gave it such glowing review...

This book is so basic in its plot that I was scratching my head wondering why such brilliant storyteller as King was singing the author praises. I don't want to give anything away but if you after a story with substance, suspense, multidimensional characters and plenty of twists and turns stay clear of this one.

8 people found this helpful

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Incredible Tale of Small Town Horror

If you could sum up Cold Moon over Babylon in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant beautiful storytelling!

A family plagued by hardship and tragedy is wronged in the worst ways by powerful people suffering from a terrible god complex. Those wrongs are set right in a deliciously satisfying way when the paranormal and unnatural steps in to repay wrong doing in full.

What other book might you compare Cold Moon over Babylon to and why?

I wouldn't. I can't. I won't! This book stands out wonderfully!

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

The story was not read, it was performed; beautifully. I was drawn in by Scott Brick's narration and character portrayal.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Not even death will abide evil men forever.

Any additional comments?

I was captivated by this story from the very beginning. I cared about the characters immensely. I felt their worries, fears, pain, joys, and everything in between. When loss was suffered by specific characters, I felt that loss right along with them.

The twists and turns of this tale had me on edge waiting for the next line.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mindo
  • 04-09-19

Disappointed

Its very well written book, and the narration absolutely superb. Excellent start where first half of the book kept me on the edge, but later it just turned into never ending jibber-jabber about the same thing over and over again. Its like someone trying to scare you with the same trick one hundred times. only first one works, later its just boring. Second half of the book for me was like those pop teen horror movies where scary becomes funny.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jack Graham
  • 03-02-18

Atmospheric, moving, genuinely unsettling

Any additional comments?

Very good example of a Southern Gothic ghost story. Well written, clever characterisation, interesting cast of characters. Lots of witty, acute observation of small town life. Rather satirical but with lots of pathos. Takes a little while to get going but once it does it's quite gripping. Some of the supernatural scenes are very spooky indeed. Superior pulp horror. The reading is excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MRS
  • 07-21-16

A VERY GOOD DEBUT NOVEL INDEED

i really enjoyed this book. I do love a good horror and the atmosoheric discriptions at times, did give you the creeps! it took sometime to get used to the narrators southern yankie accent but this in itself made it different. without giving too much away, i was very happy to hear the culprit got what was coming to him! i will look out for this writer again.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Glenn Lloyd
  • 01-21-18

If you like creepy...

Excellent story, read with usual brilliance by the unsurpassed Scott Brick. A story of small town murder; small town people and supernatural revenge. I loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-29-17

Absolutely love Michael McDowell

Absolutely love Michael McDowell books and Scott Bricks narration. Looking forward to my next book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Borbála
  • 03-24-22

OK for a horror storie

I had read Blackwater which had been described as a horror novel which it actually wasn't. I liked Blackwater though and i thoght if this is supposed to be a horror, maybe McDonald's other books are also unusual and not typical horror. So I gave this one a go not entirely knowing what to expect and I suppose for a horror novel it's OK but horror bores me and this one, unlike Blackwater, is a horror.
my other reason for reading it is because Stephen King has spoken very well of the writer but to be honest as much as I like King, even his horror novels tend to get a bit too much for me. I like a dark story with twists and unusual elements but this is more of a typical horror.
The narrator is pretty decent too, so if you like a horror, give it a go.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-16-21

Excellent

I ejoyed the story and the narrator was really good. I think I’m gonna give Blackwater a go.

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  • P Atkins
  • 11-27-18

Great story and great production

I really enjoyed (if that is the correct word for horror fiction) this story and it was not at all what I had expected. The Larkins are not only believable but likeable and the tragedy that befall their family is sometimes almost too difficult to hear. Nonetheless I could not stop listening and would thoroughly recommend this book.

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  • Maz
  • 07-30-18

The perfect storm

An excellent novel, superbly narrated, and a great conclusion. If you like a ghoulish novel, you will love this book, either to read or to listen to.

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  • Nick
  • 05-09-19

Ok but not good as the Blackwater book

The ending is too obvious. Narration is ok but could have been better. would recommend to listen to the Blackwater audiobook from the author