• Darkness on the Edge of Town

  • By: Brian Keene
  • Narrated by: Chet Williamson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One morning, the residents of Walden, Virginia, woke up to find the rest of the world gone. Just...gone. Surrounding their town was a wall of inky darkness, plummeting Walden into permanent night. Nothing can get in - not light, not people, not even electricity, radio, TV, internet, food, or water. And nothing can get out. No one who dared to penetrate the mysterious barrier has ever been seen again. Only their screams were heard. But for some, the darkness is not the worst of their fears. Driven mad by thirst, hunger, and perpetual night, the residents of Walden are ready to explode. The last few sane prisoners of this small town must prepare a final stand against their neighbors, themselves, and something even worse...something out there...in the darkness.

©2010 Brian Keene (P)2019 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about Darkness on the Edge of Town

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

Really terrific little novel...

I’ve read quite a bit of Keene’s work over the years. Nowhere near all of it, but a fair amount. Something I’ve learned along the way with him is that there is a REASON he’s a legend in the horror community. His characters connect with the reader, come across less like the ideas from someone’s imagination but rather like real individuals. He’s got some grand ideas about multiple worlds and different dimensions and God and the devil and other gods and creatures and so on.

Of the books of his I’ve read, I still say Ghoul is my favorite, but much of that is the fact that I just love coming-of-age stories, especially when they’re set back when I was growing up. So Ghoul has that going for it ON TOP OF being just a terrific novel. But…I have found what I would consider my favorite Keene this side of Ghoul, and that would be DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN.

We have that awakes to find that some sort of darkness has surrounded it from above and at all sides, and anyone who ventures into the darkness never returns, but their screams can be heard from time to time. The darkness also seems to be showing things to people when they get close; things that scare them sometimes, other times loved ones enticing them to come just a little closer. But whatever the darkness is, it’s evil, and a strange homeless man in town seems to have kept the darkness from coming inside of the town. He’s held it at bay with magic. But the darkness can still play with their minds.

I wasn’t so sure about the premise here when I started, though Keene has never let me down. It seemed a lot like The Mist by Stephen King to me, but once I actually started reading, I saw that it was entirely its own story, having little to do with King’s story. This was really a terrific powerhouse of a novel, pulsing with increasing dread throughout all the way to the bitter, breath-stealing ending.

Let’s talk about that ending for just a second, without giving anything away. The novel builds a little slowly, but I wouldn’t call it a slow burn. We’re dropped right into the craziness from page one and hear about how it came about. We watch as people in town are growing more and more paranoid, their morals are deteriorating, their sanity is crumbling. It’s leading to what I was expecting to be an apocalyptic finale. But it takes a different turn, and I really think it was the right choice. It’s more of an unknowing ending. There’s a sprinkling of hope, but there’s also gallons of forboding doom as well. The fact is, we don’t know what’s going to happen. And there’s no need for a sequel to come along and tell us (though I’d read it in a heartbeat if one came along), because in the context of this story, it’s just a perfect ending.

Stephen King said this book was a terrific short novel. I have to agree. For some, the ending seems anticlimactic. But I disagree. The battles being waged in the characters’s minds is where the suspense came from and the ramping up of tension from the situation of the darkness is nearly secondary. Because of this, I thought it was a terrific book with a terrific ending that would have been cheapened if done any other way, and I’m thankful that Brian has such a Keene (pun intended, wow, that joke came out of nowhere) eye for such things.

Chet Williamson absolutely SLAYS the narration here, as he always does. Excellent reading.

If you like horror, get this. If you like Keene, get this. If you like character-driven studies in human psychology during a stressful event, get this. For me, it hit all the right notes. In fact, it was so good I immediately went out and got another Keene novel to rip into next. I rarely do that, reading the same author multiple times in a row. But Keene’s books are something special. Read this, and find out why.

10 people found this helpful

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Hard Pass—Blatant Rip Off Of Other Books

This story has been done before quite a few times and its been done better. I like Keene and he’s written many scary books. This is not one. I think I finished it because of the great narration and production. There is also strong characters and a few likable ones.

The book does start out strong, but quickly loses steam. It rips off so many other stories like Phantoms, The Mist, etc. Check out those stories to see where Keene got his inspiration. The payoff is weak as well.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved this end of the world book!

I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Keene’s work for years and I am familiar with his universe that consists of LEVI.

I was sad to hear that Levi had died in this book (he wasn’t a character of this book but of the same universe) but, over all, very nice book.

Read or listen to it. You will enjoy it.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome team!

Brian Keene’s gripping “end of world” story combined with Chet Williamson’s poignant narration is a win-win!!!
Sign me up for more books by them!

1 person found this helpful

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WTF

Enjoyed the story, HATED the ending.... a lot. Exceptional performance by Chet Williamson as always.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Eye Opener

This book was such a sad, but awe inspiring book. Everyone who reads it will learn and feel sad at the same time. This poor sad girl. Please read it, it is an eye opener, I recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Terrible \ Needs an Animal Cruelty Warning

Should have been a warning about animal cruelty. The premise sounded really good. Unfortunately, the is not good, it's terrible. The plot is really about how humans deteriorate and descend into violence and madness. Talk of alternate universes and an ending that leaves you scratching your head. I forced myself to keep listening to the end, hoping that the ending would make it worthwhile. It didn't. Boring, slow moving and just dumb.

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Great but the end feels incomplete

I enjoyed the story despite a lot of similarities with other stories such as the obvious Mist, and Under the Dome. There was enough originality to keep me interested and I really got into it. Loved the story but the end just felt incomplete, It was left as a cliffhanger I almost gave the story a 3 star rating due to this. It is also short if it was another hour it would have been perfect or if it had a few more minutes to give a proper ending, any ending would have been good. Yes the story is predicable but its entertaining and worth reading or listening too. I got a few other works by the author just out of curiosity to see how the stories connect. Sadly this one seems like a one off story, a What if story from my understanding. If there was a continuation to the story that would be awesome. I actually want to read The Mist again or Under the Dome, or listen to the audiobook for the stand. I enjoyed this for sure despite it feeling incomplete. I would say its worth a purchase just have low expectations for the ending. To be fair plenty of great books have awful endings.

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Excellent

Brian Keene delivers an excellent story with Darkness on the Edge of Town. While definitely not a new idea (what really is these days?) his telling of a town (world really) plunged into permanent darkness and the struggles for survivals by those that remain is tight/suspenseful story. The main characters are believable, flawed but sympathetic, making you want to cheer them on and hope for them to overcome their struggles and survive. Chet Williamson's narration is excellent and he does a great job breathing life into the people as well as the dying town, and while I read tis book a long time ago, hearing Chet's narration made it feel fresh and new all over again. Definitely worth a listen for people who enjoyed Stephen King's The Mist.

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Great unsettling cosmic horror

I absolutely loved this book. It is very dark (no pun intended) cosmic horror. Chet Williamson's narration is excellent as always and really adds to the story. This book dives right in to the story at a fast pace. Some people did not like the ending but I found it very appropriate for a cosmic horror novel and had no problem with it. If you are into unsettling cosmic horror then I highly recommend this novel.

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  • MR J LAMBERT
  • 11-05-20

Top Quality Modern Horror from Modern Master

Darkness on the Edge of Town is a siege horror in a similar vein to Stephen King's The Mist or Dean Koontz's Phantoms.
Brian Keene is a fantastic writer and his stories are never dull. He keeps things moving along at a good pace and has strong, interesting characters.
Chet Williamson is a brilliant narrator and he's done some fantastic work with other Keene books. This is definitely up to his usual high standard.
A quality presentation from Crossroad Press.
Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • bibobaba
  • 03-22-22

interesting premise. ending rushed.

well worth a read/listen, no masterpiece

exciting story, well performed by Chet Williamson, but ending seems rushed, as if Brian Keene didn't really know how to end it but quickly, as if he grew tired of the story and just cut it short. he should re-write it and explore deeper into some of the ideas presented.

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  • Savvas Kleanthous
  • 10-26-21

Depressing but amazing

This is a really good, but depressing story about a cursed world. Don't expect a resolution at the end of the book, this is a story of people during a disaster, and not the story of how they removed the curse or how they persevered or whatever. Expect realistic reactions from people in a doomed situation.

A lot of Keene's books are world ending situations, where everyone is doomed, with no possibility of escape, but he is a master of this genre. I highly recommend literally any single book of his.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Raph
  • 08-30-20

Drivel.

Just pointless. Goes nowhere. No resolution. Sets up an interesting if unoriginal situation and does nothing with it. Boring and unfulfilling.

Best thing about it was it wasn’t that long at least.