Audio Books

AUDIO COLLECTIONS

During the mid 1990s, many of my short stories were collected together by Telstar Records, and re-issued as audio collections. The actors reading were pretty august - the likes of Honor Blackman, Joss Ackland, Hannah Gordon, Peter Barkworth, Peter Bowles, etc (and many others). They were released under various titles: FROM THE GRAVEYARDHAUNTED HOUSES, and so forth. Unfortunately, I've now lost track of many of these audio versions. The collections - to which I wasn't the only contributor, though I did provide the bulk of the horror and thriller material (partly under my original nom de plume, 'Robert Eastland') - initially appeared as cassettes, then as CDs. Now apparently, having been sold on, they and various parts of them - there's been a lot of chopping and changing of TOCs over the years - are available online, as downloads, etc. All I can say is, if you're fortunate enough to track one down, enjoy.

In the meantime, more recent material of mine - in this first instance the stories from DON'T READ ALONE - are also being released in audio by WHOLE STORY AUDIOBOOKS. These are novellas rather than short stories, and run to about an hour in length, so with luck they could easily fill an otherwise tedious car journey.

 Two have been done to date, both read by Jonathan Keeble (right). And they are:


THE OLD NORTH ROAD (supernatural horror)

In a uncharacteristic act of kindness, Ralph Drayton, a disgruntled writer researching the mythology of the Green Man, picks up a pair of stranded motorists on the Old North Road in rural Northumbria. But it soon backfires in the worst and most terrifying way imaginable ...

“So … the Green Man, he wasn’t actually supposed to have existed then? He wasn’t like a god or spirit?”
“Well … no.” Drayton was caught on the hop: she’d clearly understood his introduction. “No, he’s more of a symbolic figure. His original meaning, if there ever was one, is lost to us now. He’s often associated with paganism of course, and fertility rites … but that’s all bollocks. It’s just New Age fantasy. In medieval times he was a representative of Nature … an embodiment of all its beauty and danger. The Church used him as an allegorical figure; an image of what Man could turn into if he didn’t stay on the straight and narrow.”
“Yuk!” she interrupted, and he knew immediately what she was looking at.
Among his notes, he’d inserted a variety of cut-outs and original photographs, the majority of them depicting the so-called ‘foliate heads’, the original and most common way in which the Green Man was presented to his mystified audience. These were invariably carvings, drawings or mouldings, usually found in religious buildings, and nearly always they’d feature a humanoid head that was either peeking out through dense vegetation or which had actually become part of that vegetation. In most cases, the semi-transformed heads were quite beautiful, their normal human features melding flawlessly into concentric layers of crisp new leaves, their hair hung with fruit and flowers, though one or two – and these were undoubtedly the ones that Shirley had just found – were more gory; in their case, thick vines tended to uncurl from the face’s gaping mouth, buds hung from the nostrils, branches often sprouted from the eye sockets, having first, presumably, popped out the eyeballs. They made for a very ugly sight, and Drayton had often thought them reminiscent of rotting corpses through which natural undergrowth had penetrated ...

THE POPPET (supernatural horror)

In the quite Lake District village of Bleaberry Beck, no-one laughs about the old stories concerning the Cumbrian Witches. Two-timing Medieval Studies student, Richard Henderson, is indifferent about them. Even so, he picks up a so-called 'poppet' from a village shop opened to honours the witches' memory, and heads back south to Oxford. Unaware that something very nasty is now travelling with him ...

I slung my bag and stripped my jacket off. I was hungry, but I could always nip out and get something later. I took the kettle from the cupboard, filled it at the sink and plugged it in, then went to close the blinds and draw the curtains, and as I did I glanced out of the window – down onto the quadrangle. And for the second time that evening I stopped dead.
Someone had just vanished out of sight below. Someone who had just walked diagonally across the quadrangle.
The chill went to my very bones.
There was nobody else here, I told myself. Aside from Cheerwick, and it certainly hadn’t been him. I tried to recall who it was I’d just seen. But no answer was possible, because who could there be in Crawford House who was less than three feet tall and walked with an ungainly limp?
A child maybe?
But there were no children here. And in any case, when did you ever see a child wearing a headscarf and old, peasant-type clothing?
Downstairs, I heard the swing and bang of the door being violently opened.
A terrible second passed, before I threw myself across the room and yanked my own door open. What sounded like heavy but strangely hollow feet were clumping up the stone stair ...


AUDIO NOVELS

In the midst of all this excitement, we mustn't forget the novels either. To date, audio versions of all my DS Heckenburg novels have also been produced, these by HARPER AUDIO. In all these cases thus far, the narrator is Paul Thornley (right), and a rather marvelous job he does too.

Anyway, in order of publication, they are:


STALKERS

McCulkin laced his tattooed, nicotine-stained fingers in a tight, tense ball. ‘There are red flags all over this, Mr. Heckenburg. Any time it comes up in conversation, it’s like “you don’t talk about this”, or “do not even go there”.’ 
     'That’s Halloween stuff, Pat. It’s designed to stop people asking questions.’
     ‘Look, these people are bad news.’
     ‘And I’m not?’ Heck leaned forward. ‘These bastards are going to find out different. Now you tell me every single thing you know.’
     ‘You really going to spread it that I’m a snitch?’
     ‘Just watch me.'


When Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg comes to suspect that 38 missing women may all have been abducted by the same unknown party, he finds himself embroiled in the most deadly and disturbing case of his entire career.

A case that will take him from the glitzy heartland of London's financial Square Mile to the desolate, decayed badlands of inner Manchester. From the menacing environs of high-level organised crime to the squalid underbelly of Britain's sex-for-sale industry, where weirdos, freaks and psychos of every description are lurking in the shadows.

It will also match him against the semi-mythical 'Nice Guys Club', a crime syndicate so infamously ruthless and cruel that most felons are too frightened to talk about them, while most senior cops don't even believe they exist (or rather, hope they don't) ...

STALKERS is the first in a series of hard-edged police thrillers, concerning Scotland's Yard's elite Serial Crimes Unit, and its most effective investigator, Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg, a sharp, hard-working detective, who will stop at nothing to bring justice to the streets, but who, in this very first outing, may already have bitten off far more than he can chew.


SACRIFICE

It was Heck who eventually gave voice to the numbing horror they all felt. ‘You mean he just ... played with her.’
     Perkins noddd and swallowed. He couldn’t take his eyes off the butchered horror lying below; his face was white as a bowl of curdled milk. ‘All night, they reckon. He was still at it this morning, when the security lads arrived.’
     ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph,’ Shawna breathed.
     She hadn’t intended it as a prayer, but Gary Quinnell continued it in that vein: ‘Have mercy on us all … and this poor soul, who died here alone and in such pain.’
     None of the others held religious beliefs, but none of them objected.
  
Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg finds himself embroiled in the most distressing case of his career, when a bunch of faceless maniacs begin to ‘celebrate’ famous feast days with ghastly and ever more imaginative human sacrifices.

Once again, the Serial Crimes Unit, who have a remit to cover the whole of England and Wales, find themselves travelling from one location to another – Liverpool, Yorkshire, Manchester and the leafy North Midlands – in pursuit of a fiendish crew who operate seemingly without rhyme or reason, ready to select any victim anywhere and at any time – never with any kind of warning, but always with two things in mind: a determination to inflict the maximum amont of suffering possible, and a desire to shock and appal the rest of society.

What is more, they are highly organised and incredibly eager to write themselves into the record books. Heck and his colleagues aren’t just racing against the clock in their efforts to bring an end to the horror. They are racing against the calendar too – for with each special day another body is found. The tally goes up and up and up …

SACRIFICE is the second in a series of no-holds-barred British police thrillers, concerning the investigations of DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, a tireless and dogged hunter of criminals, who because of his status in Scotland Yard’s elite Serial Crimes Unit, almost invariably finds himself pitted against the very worst of the worst.



He too wore a woolly hat - but was now in the act of pulling it down over his face, to reveal that it was actually a ski-mask.
     The twosome at the back of the Romeo did the same, and spun around.
     Quinnell reacted, throwing his car into reverse, slamming the pedal to the floor. In seconds they were thirty yards away, but had to swerve sideways with a screech of rain-sodden tyres to avoid colliding with vehicles behind, before the two men opened fire with blistering flashes of flame and an ear-numbing dadadadadada! A strobe-like burst flared from the end of the rolled newspaper as the man in khaki opened up too.
     Heck and Quinnell weren't quite caught in an enfilade, they were moving too quickly for that, but streams of lead raked the Subaru from different angles, safety glass exploding, bodywork buckling and puncturing on all sides, projectiles whining across the interior ...

It's business as usual for Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg. He is busy investigating a trio of murders in the Northeast of England, when news suddenly reaches him that Mad Mike Silver, former head of the Nice Guys operation in Britain, has been broken out of Gull Rock high security prison, leaving a trail of police corpses in his wake.

But it doesn't end there. More murders follow. All across the country, wealthy men of high standing are found atrociously tortured and killed. The Nice Guys Club, it seems, having written Britain of as a business venture, are now 'cleaning house' - literally wiping out anyone with a possible connection to them: informers, operatives and even ex-clients.

When a massive counter-operation is put in place, the Serial Crimes Unit joining forces with the Serious Offenders Control and Retrieval programme, or SOCAR, Heck, as one of the original arresting officers, fully expects to be part of it - only to find himself brusquely and inexplicably sidelined. Even Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper, his former girlfriend and closest ally inside the job, is cool with him, seemingly wanting him out of the way.

But Heck is determined to play some part in sending these villains down. The Nice Guys have been the bane of his career for many years. He doesn't want to go AWOL in order to confront them again; it would be too much an abrogation of duty. But when a vicious effort is made on his own life, it becomes apparent that he may need to go AWOL just to stay alive. Heck isn't just after the Nice Guys, the Nice Guys are after him ...

THE KILLING CLUB is the third in a series of no-holds-barred British police thrillers, featuring the young but obsessive DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, who hunts his foes relentlessly, and yet thanks to his status as a detective in the Serial Crimes Unit, frequently finds himself pitted against killers and madmen who literally know no boundaries.


DEAD MAN WALKING

Heck felt queasy at the mere thought of Mary-Ellen – who, for all her confident athleticism, was still only a young lass – having to face this guy on her own.
With such fears in mind, it was probably not the ideal time for him to spot the writing on the far wall of the boathouse interior. This only happened slowly, as his eyes adjusted to the deep gloom, but once the piece of crude graffiti had swum properly into view, he jumped to his feet.
Now that he was fully out of the water, it was bitterly cold. Ice felt as if it was forming inside his clothes, but fleetingly Heck was too distracted to notice that. He limped around the interior to the far pier, so that he could examine it up close.
REMEMBER ME?

     There was no question about who’d written it or what it meant. In the dimness he was colour-blind, so though he didn’t immediately realise the sentence had been inscribed in blood, the idea occurred to him immediately when he dabbed at it with a fingertip, and it felt both slimy and congealed ...

After a calamitous disagreement with colleagues in the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg has now left the National Crime Group and is cooling his heels at a scenic but remote posting in the heart of the Lake District.

However, the winters up there can be brutal, and when the worst November fog in living memory descends on the fells and tarns, everyday life grinds to a halt. Not a good time for the Stranger, a mysterious killer long thought dead, to start claiming victims again - this time at a terrifying pace.

Cut off and blinded by the fog, and with only one inexperienced copper to help him, Heck soon realises that he may be the only thing standing between this frightened, isolated community and complete annihilation.

The only solution, apparently, is to play the madman at his own game, throwing away the police rulebook in the process.

DEAD MAN WALKING is the fourth in a series of in-yer-face British cop thrillers, featuring the young and relentless man-hunter, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, who normally feels collars for fun but on this occasion is taken far out of his comfort zone. However, Heck is nothing if not versatile. Dark city streets or bleak, foggy moors, it's all the same to him - the bad guys are out there, and he's gonna nail them any way he can.

10 comments:

  1. I just finished HUNTED on Audible and loved it. I agree that Paul Thornley"s narration is perfect. In my search for more, I found this blog and the news that the other Heck books are available. Do you know why they are not available on Audible?

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  2. As far as I'm aware, M, all the Heck novels are available on Audio: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunted/dp/B00WGVMAC2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1453072708&sr=1-1&keywords=hunted+paul+finch+audio

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  3. This is the US Audible page: http://www.audible.com/series/ref=a_pd_Myster_c2__1_sa?asin=B00QMV373S

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  4. And, stranger yet, Paul, the rest of the series seems to be available to us in the US in German. http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_hp_tseft?advsearchKeywords=Paul+Finch&filterby=field-keywords&x=0&y=0. I will attempt to contact Audible on Monday although I doubt that it will have any effect.

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  5. Please let me know how you get on.

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  6. Paul, I have sent email to both US and UK Audible. Interestingly, I attempted to buy the books from the UK site, but when they learned that I was from the US, they became unavailable to me.

    A copyright issue? Anything you can do on your end?

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  7. Hi. My first response was from Audible UK who maintain that they need the author or publishers' permission to make the books available. My email is marjwilson@mac.com. I can forward their entire email to you if you wish.

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  8. Not sure if there's anything I can do. But I will enquire.

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  9. WOW! Thanks to our chat on this blog, Abi Fenton, an editor and producer of Harper Audio in the UK, has made the entire series available in the US. Seems it was merely a glitch somewhere. I am now set for some time with one of my favorite people, Heck.

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  10. Very glad that's been sorted for you, M.

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