Ronald Malfi is one of the best. My original thought after finishing this book is that Malfi is one of the best horror authors out there, partly because of how he is able to creatively expand the limits of horror, but really, “horror” doesn’t feel like an adequate qualifier for his work. I feel others hear “horror” and think of Chainsaw Massacre or Freddy Krueger…though there is a little Krueger mind games in this. They hear “horror” and think the story to come is going to be full of violence. Malfi has a little violence, but is mainly focused, as usual for his stories, on the relationship between parents and their children. His work in this book is an outstanding vignette on loss and the desire to survive and provide for your children in a terrifying world.
In The Night Parade, there is a virus that scientists can’t explain how it is transmitted, and which turns people mad until they lose it and take their lives. A father has swept his daughter onto a cross country trip as he fears that virus is infecting him. In this aspect, it is unsettling, and as he tries to keep his daughter safe, not only from this virus, but also the collapsing world around them, we are taken on a dark and emotionally deep experience.
For me, good horror is that which makes me want to hold my family tighter, and this is one of the best examples I’ve read. The end brought tears as the unexpected turn opened a flood of emotion I didn’t think possible.
As to the audiobook quality: the narrator, Tom Taylorson, does a great job, and the production by Blackstone Audio is spot on.