Audio Review: Sons of Darkness by Gail Z. Martin

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Length: 5 hours 59 minutes

Series: Night Vigil, Book 1

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Released: Oct. 20, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy

We are the Night Vigil. We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms. Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway-house heroes. No illusions left – about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance. One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf. When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special-ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

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Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), and the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with her Witchbane and Badlands series.

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  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? 
  • It helps to keep the audiobook process in mind because you don’t want to write things (like long passages in a foreign or made-up language, or names that are spelled differently but sound similar) because they make problems for the narrator.
  • How did you select your narrator?
  • Tantor gave me a choice among several narrator and I liked his voice best!
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? 
  • The book takes place in Pittsburgh and in the Western-Central part of Pennsylvania. We lived in Pittsburgh for ten years, I grew up in PA, and I went to Penn State (which is in central PA), so it’s familiar territory and I knew a lot of legends and history.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
  • I’m currently writing 12 different series across several genres under two pen names. Switching things up keeps me interested and excited.
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the  primary roles? 
  • I’m a huge Supernatural fan, so my answer to that question will always be Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki!
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
  • I’d say they’re wrong. Audiobooks are still word-based (as opposed to image-based media like TV/movies). Lots of people have vision problems and can’t read, or have long commutes or jobs that allow them to listen at work–and some folks just enjoy having the narrator’s voice for company. It’s all good.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 
  • Sons of Darkness has always been intended to be part of a series–the Night Vigil. I just got held up on writing the next book, but I hope to have it done this year. All of my urban fantasy series (that I write as Gail, or co-write with my husband Larry N. Martin, or write under my romance pen name as Morgan Brice) cross over with each other. The characters all know each other and show up in each other’s books. So while Travis and Brent only have one book of their own out for now, they have played important roles in several others (including Dark Rivers by Morgan Brice and Monster Mash in our Spells Salt and Steel Series). I think in series and enjoy reading series, so that format just comes naturally to me. 
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • Never give up. It always takes longer than you think it will. Hang in there and keep writing.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
  • Read at least a big chunk of your book out loud before you finalize it. Not only will you catch typos and find ways to fine-tune your dialogue to make it sound more natural, but you might find things that could cause problems for a narrator (like sound-alike names or foreign words) while you still have a chance to make changes.
  • What’s next for you?
  • Plenty! I’m working on the sequel to Sons of Darkness, as well as new releases in all our series, so there will be a lot more for all our characters, coming soon!
Narrator Bio

Jeffrey Kafer is a full-time SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator. He has narrated over 450 books in almost every genre for such authors Clive Barker, Steve Alten, Maya Banks, Gregg Olsen and many others. He has 2 degrees in cinema and broadcasting and spent the first part of his career as a video game tester for Microsoft before following his true passion of acting. He’s been on stage since he was 13 (his mom still has the bellhop costume she made) and currently lives in Los Angeles with his family and dog.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Gail Z. Martin. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

So let’s go for our 4 reasons for our 4 stars shall we?

  1. So this is like nothing I have ever read before. Or well, listened to. Gail Z. Martin weaved a tale so fantastical and out there, yet easily believable where our two protagonists Travis and Brent are thrust into a partnership that neither of them wants, appreciates or really fall into easily. Both characters are incredibly stubborn and there is quite a bit of head butting to start off with.
  2. Martin is absolutely fantastic and creating a world in which you completely get lost in. There is enough action, just enough horror and quite a bit of suspense throughout the book. All of this made it an excellent listen even if I was cringing in a bit of fear at times (yes I am a whimp)
  3. I love Travis’ character. As someone who struggles with her own faith I found him very relatable. Other than the fact that he has some paranormal powers. Obviously. His and Brent’s journey throughout the book was very exciting and interesting to follow.
  4. The narration was incredibly on par. You can tell that Kafer is an experienced narrator as I never felt like I was listening to an audio book but rather that I was living a story with the characters. His voice was melodic, very easy to listen to and really pleasing on the ears. He created suspense with little catches of breath and had me on the edge of my seat pretty much screaming at the characters.

So why not 5 stars you say?

I am terribly sorry Gail Z. Martin – but this is nothing on you at all. Blame me. I needed a bit of romance. Just a teensy tiny bit. I am an addict. Sue me.

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