An Alessandro Audiobook Review: Willow Man by John Inman and Austin Rising (Narrator)


Rating: 3 stars out of 5


Woody Stiles has sung his country songs in every city on the map. His life is one long road trip in a never-ending quest for fame and fortune. But when his agent books him into a club in his hometown, a place he swore he would never set foot again, Woody comes face to face with a few old demons. One in particular.

With memories of his childhood bombarding him from every angle, Woody must accept the fact that his old enemy, Willow Man, was not just a figment of childish imagination. 

With his friends at his side, now all grown up just like he is, Woody goes to battle with the killer that stole his childhood lover. Woody also learns Willow Man has been busy while he was away, destroying even more of Woody’s past. And in the midst of all this drama, Woody is stunned to find himself falling in love—something he never thought he would do again.

As kids, Woody and his friends could not stop the killer who lived in the canyon where they played. As adults, they might just have a chance.

Or will they?


Woody is a country singer(not yet successful) who travels across the US doing jobs in bars. After his manager gets him a really good job in his hometown San Diego he is kind of spooked, because his hometown has some memories he rather not face. But he does it anyway, because he wants to get famous. But as soon as he arrives in San Diego he gets a visit of an old friend. The friend who has basically ruined is life. After his first show, he meets his old childhood friends and the journey begins. But there is a threat lurking in the shadows, and they’re all familiar with what and who the threat is.


Oh well, after I read the blurp I was really interested, that’s why I decided to review this book. And of course I’m a sucker for audiobooks. And it all could’ve been so good. I need to add, that this was my first ever horror book, in M/M or otherwise. And I thought I would like the genre, because I’m really into horror movies. But this was just not for me. I felt quite detached from this story, it didn’t draw me in as I hoped it would. I didn’t get spooked or felt hardly scared at all. It was just a “horror” story, with grotesque language from the evil in this book. It made me cringe a lot of times. Also, the story was quite depressing. I know this was a horror book… but I thought at least there could be some good moments… but there barely were any. At least not ones that I could understand and really relate to. And then there is this matter of the insta-love thing. Which I’m not a fan off, and I think in such a serious book, there is no place for that. I can relate to it a little bit, but not really.


As for the characters in this book, I think they were great. There was a lot of depth to them and they all felt like different people, this is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book. In such a short time, well it was so short, I think I dragged a little bit(a lot) one learns to love the characters. They all had character traits that were solely them. Like Cathy, I really loved her, she is like a witty, fearless(most of the time) and such an understanding person. The other 4 characters were great as well.


Now, lets talk about the writing and what bothered me and what I thought was just great. The writing was really beautiful, I think that was one of the best written books I’ve read so far. The expressions the author used, were so lyrical and just satisfying, even thought that made the narration rather slow moving.

Now to the things I didn’t really like about the writing and I will include a little bit of the issues I had with the construction of this book. Well as I said I really loved the writing, but it made the book really, really slow moving, to that point, that I couldn’t keep my interest. If I hadn’t decided to review this one, I probably would’ve quit and not finish it. I was listening to the audiobook and normally I just speed the narration just a little bit, because often the speed is just too slow for me. The speed that I use is 1.25. For this book I sped it up even further, sometimes I put it on 1.5 or even 1.75, just so I could get this book done as fast as possible.

The big issues that I had were with the construction of this book. When you read this book you are basically following 2 stories and several POV(the book is written in 3rd person POV). One of the stories is of Woody and his friends when they were younger, barely hitting puberty(13 years old). And because you followed the grown up Woody in the first few chapters, one basically knows what will happen in the peak of the story of the past. That’s what really was annoying. There is all the build up to an event you already know what will happen, yes you don’t know exactly how it will come to pass, but one knows the outcome. So there was no suspense at all. At least not in the story when they were teenagers.

The other story, where the group of friends are adults, isn’t quite what I would’ve liked it to be. As I said above, there was insta-love, which I couldn’t relate to at all but also the end was just a little bit anti-climactic. I thought at least there would be some blood, but no, there was just some groping of the evil and some cringy conversations going on. I was really disappointed.


The narration was superb. Austin Rising did a REALLY good job at narrating this book. Each character had their own “voice”. They even differed from the 2 story lines. The adults got their own voice and the teenagers did as well. But they weren’t as much different than the teenagers “voices”. So one could still distinguish which of the characters is “speaking”.


Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. For the ones who like a really dark story, with a lot of hurt and heartache, who are also a little in horror, I would definitely recommend this. But if you are looking for a book with equal amounts of romance and horror, like I did, I wouldn’t. For me it was quite a depressing story, not fun to read at all. I even needed to read a light hearted novella in between to just get through this book.


The Cover art of “Willow Man” by Aaron Anderson was quite fitting to this book. I think it shows the mood of the book and the intention of the author.

 Sales links:  DSP Publications | Amazon


Book Details:

Ebook 350 Pages

Published January 13th 2015 by DSP Publications

ISBN: 1632163500

Edition Language: English

Audiobook 12 Hrs 50 Min.

Audiobooks published April 7th by DSP Publications


Edition Language: English

Narrator: Austin Rising

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