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Publisher's Summary

Two titans of modern horror - Brian Keene and Bryan Smith - team up for the terrifying crossover sequel to both Keene's Urban Gothic and Smith's The Freakshow.

The Westgate Galleria Mall was once a sprawling, shining monument to American consumerism and suburban growth. Now, it is a crumbling reminder of how both have fallen - an architectural ghost, haunting the outskirts of society. That makes it the perfect filming location for a YouTube channel devoted to the exploration of abandoned places. But the mall isn't as empty as it seems, and the residents have sinister obscene plans for them. Now, with the daylight still hours away, both the hunters and the hunted will fight to stay alive...and desperately try to make it home.

Home is where is the severed heart is...

©2021 Bryan Smith, Brian Keene (P)2021 Fireside Horror

What listeners say about Suburban Gothic

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Too much and unnecessarily graphic for me

I usually don't write reviews. Just use the stars. But this book was just so overwhelmingly graphic and violent. I wanted to stop listening so many times, but I don't like to leave books unfinished. I forced myself to finish this book. The story was a good idea, but I think it could have been told without all of the, yes I'm going to say it, gratuitous violence. I have enjoyed other books from this author, but this one was just too disgusting for my taste.

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Great

Was a fun ride! This was a good continuation of the original story urban Gothic, keep putting out the good stuff Brian thanks a lot.

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If you've read urbangothic..

You know what to expect...
Still, this story is not for the faint of heart and very.. VERY gruesome. Interesting to meet the survivors of the Family again.

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Gothic? Not quite.

The authors give a promising location to horror fans - an abandoned shopping mall populated by other-worldly freaks and monsters, some of whom have familiar human needs like home and family. Enter the main human characters right out of an eighties teen slasher horror movie. Their motivations are based in the usual shallow desires - jealousy, greed, sex. They're YouTube influencers with an 'abandoned places' show who find themselves in the defunct mall and at the mercy of their sick captors.

There is a lot going on here - monsters trying to break the interdimensional barrier with an orgy of blood, bodily fluids and violence. That's where we see our main human characters meet their respective ends. Each gets their own, drawn out murder scene which feels pointless after the third or fourth one.

This book suffers from too many characters whose motivations we don't really care about. Even the monsters have their own issues to discuss, which they do. At length. However, fans of gore, dismemberment, rape and torture will be thrilled - there are so many scenes and characters to kill! Each meets their own unique end, but it's hard to care or even root for their deaths when they're so dull.

Dean Gallagher as narrator is a skilled performer. His matter of fact tone and distinct character voices gives life to the story and pacing. His character work is very strong with both the monsters and the humans as he brings us along on the story's journey. Dean is clear, precise and paints a vivid picture of the Suburban Gothic universe.

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Wish it was longer

when brian keene and bryan smith get paired together to write a story you're gonna have a hardtime trying to block out the horrors they put down in this book cause the violence here are sick and demented and brutal.

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Profile Image for Ryan Pascall
  • Ryan Pascall
  • 03-09-22

A dark twisted tale of flesh and blood.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

I grew up reading horror, starting with The Outsider by H P Lovecraft and moving on to James Herbert and Clive Barker before widening into a broader spectrum of types but this has changed over the years. I find horror tamer these days, lacking the sense of darkness or aura of disquiet that I grew up with and so I've moved away from the genre of late.

Following a few good books in 2021 I've been trying different books that promise to contain scenes of terror and shock in the hopes of rekindling my love for the genre and so, did I find it here?

First let's make one thing clear, I've not read either Urban Gothic or The Freakshow and so I was naturally concerned that I'd be unsure as to what was going on. Thankfully, for the most part it isn't an issue as little is harkened back to in the book in a way that leaves you confused.

So we follow 3 primary groups, the deformed family led by Skug, sadistic cannibal mutants led by the evil Dr Midnight and a group of YouTube stars who spend their time visiting abandoned places. When the vast of Lost Places visit the Westgate Galleria for their show the last thing they expected was to fall victim to Dr Midnight and his cohorts.

With a wide range of characters ranging from normal men and women to truly unusual beings, the book would love it die by the narration and thankfully Dean Gallagher does a fabulous job of bringing life (and often screaming death) to all these characters, be them male, female or somewhere terrifyingly outside the genders and equally adds a decidedly creepy and psychotic vibe to each.

This leads us to scenes of intense torture, body mutilation, sexual diversity and canabilism. Now as someone who is used to intense horror, both in book and movies, there was nothing here that upset or shocked me but I'm fully aware that I'm in a minority here and there is more than enough here to upset peoples dinnertime.

Story-wise I enjoyed the dynamic between the two factions who call the Galleria home, but I did feel conflicted as I was sympathetic towards one group and, not knowing their history I was unsure if this was well-placed or not. Equally there were some threads to the story that were left loose at the end and so I assume these will be picked up in their respective authors' continuation of their own stories. If one thing's for sure, this has made me want to go back and check the earlier books out, as well as picking up any future ones as I really feel there's a brilliant story being told here.

In closing, for gore hounds and fans of horror, there is more than enough here to keep you interested and, while not something I find frightening, it is nothing if not entertaining.