cover image Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

Stephen King, read by Michael C. Hall. S&S Audio, unabridged, 13 CDs, 15.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-2662-8

The first unabridged audio edition of the novel King considers his most frightening should be more than enough to lure the author’s fans, and the fact that it’s read by Hall, who played the eponymous serial killer on Showtime’s Dexter (adapted from Jeff Lindsay’s novels), will only add to the appeal. Hall effectively employs a full emotional range, starting with joyous. That’s the dominant mood of Dr. Louis Creed as he and his family—wife Rachel, kids Ellie and Gage, and Ellie’s cat, Church—arrive at their new home in Ludlow, Maine. Hall’s narration quickly loses some of its cheeriness when young Ellie falls from a swing and bangs her knee and toddler Gage is stung by a bee. And, when their new neighbor, elderly Jud Crandall, leads them to a pet cemetery (with its misspelled sign) in the shadowy woods behind their home, the atmosphere grows distinctly chilly. The chill only increases when Church is killed by a car and Jud informs Louis—in an avuncular, Down East accent courtesy of Hall—that some animals placed in the Micmac Indian burial ground just beyond the cemetery have been resurrected. Louis and Jud bury Church there, and the cat does come back, but it’s different, malodorous, and sullen. Eventually there are more burials and reanimations, resulting in ever-increasing grotesqueries, with the narration rising to a hackles-raising height of terror. The combination of King at his bloodiest and Hall at his most terrifying make this irresistible. (Mar.)