Written by: David R. Beshears
Narrated by: Karen Krause
Publisher: David R. Beshears
Genre: Science Fiction, Short story
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0
Present day... A man returns to a long-abandoned neighborhood. Doors stand ajar, shutters hang open, lawns and landscaping are unkempt. The man sits on the curb and opens a leather-bound journal. Through the journal, he recalls the events that took place in Ravenhill decades earlier.
Journey back to 1964... The man is just a boy. He and his friends find that their neighborhood, a cul-de-sac set into the foothills along the California coast, is not all that it appears. There are strange happenings - some amazing, some terrifying, and all pointing to the fact that this little community of families might just be something other than what the rest of the world perceives it to be.
Thirteen year-old Ben Foster, along with his friends Peter and Louis, and his older sister, Julie, set out to find the secret behind the peculiar events that the outside world doesn't see and that those living in the neighborhood either choose to ignore or are conspiring to keep hidden.
Young Peter will set the tales down in his journal, which years later a grown Ben Foster will clasp as the last surviving corroboration of their adventures and of their astonishing discovery.
©2010, 2014 David R. Beshears (P)2014 David R. Beshears
Ben Foster is a grown man who returns to Ravenhill Court to reminisce about his childhood. Ben recalls that his childhood friend, Peter, was ridiculed and scoffed at by most of their peers and many adults. Peter’s father had dissappeared leaving behind a confused young boy who has unexplained dreams and visions. His friends believe him and support him even though some of what he sees includes aliens and other strange things. Ben shares their adventures as set down in Peter’s journal where he also noted descriptions and sketches of his unusual dreams and strange occurrences.
The close group of friends includes Ben, Peter, Ben’s sister, Julie, and a new friend, Louis. They have their own club house and try to protect each other from the bullies in school. They consult their favorite professor, who seems to have extra knowledge about the community, when thirteen year old Peter has new, insistent and scary dreams of a strange travel gate. The professor gives them cryptic instructions that leave them with more riddles and questions.
Ben and his friends follow the professor’s directions to seek the ‘alien gate’ and transfer a special crystal. Their attempts are opposed by enforcement officials who meet them along the way and challenge their actions. The teens pursue their investigations into possible conspiracy and uncover circumstances that are shocking and alarming.
A remarkable secret is revealed in Ben’s story as he and Julie expound on the history of their adventures to a skeptical Louis. The reader is left wondering... is it real or a dream community? It made me think of The Truman Show and even that comparison may be a bit of a spoiler.
The entire tone of the story is nostalgic and mysterious. The clubhouse is a great setting for the kids to ponder the mysteries around them. The clandestine nature of the childrens’ adventures kept me engaged in the entertaining mystery. This is a quick listen to satisfy a science fiction urge in a hurry.
Audio Notes: Karen Krause does a fine job of “story-telling” in her narration. She gives the characters their distinct voices, even capturing Julie’s whining badgering and frustration trying to get information. I definitely enjoyed this in audiobook form and although I recommend the story itself, I encourage audio fans to pick it up for a quick listen that may leave them pondering.
I selected this from AudioBook Jukebox to listen to for November Sci Fi Month.