Audiobook Review: Night Society by Ambrose Ibsen

Night Society_Ambrose Ibsen_Joe Hempel.jpg
Night Society
By Ambrose Ibsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My original NIGHT SOCIETY audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Walking past an abandoned house, Mike is struck with inspiration to form a small club called the Night Society. He and his friends, Russell and Jim, agree to take part, and the plan is to break into the house and scare one with another with a spooky game of show and tell. During their inaugural meeting, Russell plays for them a CD of an audio file he downloaded from a torrent site, filling the house with the noise of a woman’s brutal murder. In the days that follow, the three men are witness to sights they cannot explain and they begin to realize they are being haunted by the victim whose violent death they had recently listened to.

Although I had initially suspected Night Society of being little more than an imitative riff on The Ring, Ambrose Ibsen does a fine job taking this story in a novel direction after building up a number of suspenseful scenes, along with a few moments of genuine creepiness, pushing the narrative toward a downbeat and desolate finale that works suitably well. Although Night Society isn’t particularly groundbreaking or original, Ibsen arranges the story’s familiar tropes in some crafty ways and kept me engaged. A lot of this engagement stems from his three central characters, whose point of view Ibsen alternates between from one chapter to the next in round-robin fashion. Each are affable losers content to lazily coast through life with little in the way of aim, with Jim being the group’s resident jackass and quick to chide Russell, a man-child whose apartment contains far more role play games and miniature statues than furniture. Mike is the most level-headed, but the strain that follows their first disastrous meeting of the Night Society becomes readily apparent over the course of this audiobook’s not-quite six-hour runtime.

Having listened to a number of Joe Hempel’s prior readings, Night Society fully met my expectations on the narration front. Hempel has a natural style, and his narration always makes for a smooth, easy listen. The production is professionally handled with no hiccups to speak of, and the audio is crisp and clear.

Night Society was my first encounter with Ibsen, and although it’s not a particularly unique or original find within the horror genre it is solidly entertaining and kept me interested throughout. I’ve little doubt that I will be giving this author another look in the future; in fact, knowing that Hempel has narrated a number of Ibsen’s other titles makes it a downright certainty.

[Audiobook provided for review by the]

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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