Podcast Review #51: Closet Treats

originally published October 18, 2010

Title: Closet Treats
Author: Paul E. Cooley
Genre: Horror
Released: 25 February 2010 – 25 May 2010
Located: iTunesPodiobooksAuthor’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast
Rating: R for violence, gore and adult language

Continuing with our month of October reviews of the strange, the scary, the podcasts that go bump in the night, we bring you Paul E. Cooley’s Closet Treats. Paul had been after me to listen to this story for a while. I kept meaning to, I just had so many stories that I wanted to listen to that I kept putting it aside. Why? Because to be honest, I’m not a big fan of horror stories. I never have been. I like the classics. Dracula, Frankenstein (which I still don’t think has ever had an adaptation that came remotely close to telling the original story), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and many more. The difference is to me that most current horror author’s have given up trying to scare me and now just want to disturb me with visions of torture and gore. With the success of the Saw franchise (have never seen one, never will) and countless books, I must be in the minority when it comes to not really wanting to be disturbed, but scared. Whatever happened to the good old psychological thrillers like Gaslight, Rear Window and Rebecca?

Even though I had previously listened to, and enjoyed, Mr. Cooley’s Tattoo, I was reluctant to start Closet Treats because of the full novel length of it. You see, Tattoo was definitely a “I want to disturb you” story, but that was okay. It was a novella and the disturbing was less in the actual story than it was implied.

Well, it’s October. When better to be disturbed?

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Reality is a slippery slope for Trey Leger, but he’s managed to carve out a somewhat normal existence in spite of his mental illness.  But when an ice cream truck starts making the rounds of his neighborhood, Trey can no longer tell reality from his delusions. (Stolen from the author’s site.)

Production: When listening to Mr. Cooley’s previous story, I commented that the production quality was very rough, but that I really didn’t mind and gave him a pass. That is when I realized that I really am willing to forgive a lot of production errors. A good production can make a good story great. A bad production doesn’t really remove the enjoyment of a good story for me, with one caveat. The narrator. If the narrator has a voice or reading style that annoys, it will RUIN a story, regardless of the quality. Not everyone must agree with me however, because I believe I remember Mr. Cooley stating that he had comments on the production that convinced him he needed to make a more dedicated effort this time around.

Well, suffice it to say, I’ve NEVER heard such a dramatic improvement in production between one podcast novel and the next from a single author. It isn’t perfect. But it is such a dramatic improvement that it is impossible not to notice.

Cast: You know what would be truly scary? Having one of our male author’s doing a straight read and doing a female voice and trying to make her sound seductive. *shivers* Closet Treats is indeed a straight author read podcast with Mr. Cooley doing a creditable job with most of the voices.

Story: Wow. This is where my surprise became apparent. Mr. Cooley must have a penchant for a good psychological horror story himself because through the majority of this story, you don’t know whether his protagonist is nuts and seeing things, or seeing things that others aren’t. It is hard to say much without ending up spoiling the story, which I refuse to do. However, I will say that for me, the best part of any good horror story is the build up. When done well it keeps you turning pages or listening to the next ep.

Verdict: Mr. Cooley does the build up very well. It was easy to listen to all episodes of this story rather quickly because the story was so engaging. As with any horror story, the characters seem to be less fleshed out than with other genres. I think this is a bit due to the fact that if you know too much of a character’s motivations, it is hard to keep secrets from the reader. This, at least for me, creates a necessity for the author to turn in a tight story. For the most part, I believe Mr. Cooley has done this admirably.

Disclosure: Although we both live in Texas, I have never met Mr. Cooley (he lives about 7 hours away by car), though as mentioned previously, we are mutual stalkers on Twitter (@paul_e_cooley). Paulie (come on, with using your middle initial like that you KNOW that is how I think of you in my head) responds well to threats and loves to issue them himself. I have heard he actually showed up to Balticon with bunny slippers, showing he also is a good sport.

~ by odin1eye on 9 January, 2020.

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