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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to Babylon, a typical sleepy Alabama small town, where years earlier the Larkin family suffered a terrible tragedy. Now they are about to endure another: 14-year-old Margaret Larkin will be robbed of her innocence and her life by a killer who is beyond the reach of the law.

But something strange is happening in Babylon: traffic lights flash an eerie blue, a ghostly hand slithers from the drain of a kitchen sink, graves erupt from the local cemetery in an implacable march of terror. And beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form. Night after night it will pursue the murderer. And when the full moon rises over Babylon, it will seek a terrible vengeance.

Cold Moon Over Babylon, the second novel by Michael McDowell (1950-1999), author of Blackwater and The Elementals and screenwriter of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a chilling Southern Gothic tale of revenge from beyond the grave that ranks among his most terrifying books.

©2015 Valancourt Books (P)2016 Griff Furst

What listeners say about Cold Moon over Babylon

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

No surprises here.

This is a well-written, straight-forward ghost story with a predictable ending. An enjoyable listen, though, especially with Scott Brick narrating.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wild Wise Woman
  • 2018-12-07

The BEST Michael McDowell ever!

I've loved McDowell's creepy stories for many years, although not many have been made available in audio format. I had never read this gruesome tale before, and Scott Brick's infamously sonorous delivery was in every way perfect. This is a gory delight, and one I will listen to again.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Breezybealle
  • 2016-06-27

Best audible listen to date...

There are only two other audio books that I would rate as high as this and both of those were fully dramatized so I don't know if they could even be compared. And if you knew anything about me you would know how extremely picky I am when it comes to choosing my next credit. I wouldn't have even seen this title had I not spent the better part of an hour surfing through the sea of suggested reads. I am soooo glad I did.

Scott Brick couldn't have been a more perfect fit as narrator. I won't claim to love every thing he's read so believe me when I say what a great job he did with this. He has a knack for smoothly separating dialogue from story. I never had to guess who was speaking which kept me deeply immersed in the story.

As far as the story itself, it swallowed me like quicksand. I haven't been so involved in what happens since Stephen King's "Cell". The storylines are nothing alike, but the prose was so aptly done it kept me glued to my seat. I felt myself truly caring about these people because it was almost as if I knew them, like I was right there in the midst of the drama.

I dont want to give away anything by going into details of what happens. Half of the fun is going in blind... but I highly recommend buying this book, you will not be sorry.

90 people found this helpful

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  • -shanah-
  • 2016-07-01

Finally a Novel As Original as...

...Gillian Flynn's novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.
It's a horror novel, and not one with the same old formulaic plot & forgettable characters.
Get this book, but don't read it at night. The scenes featuring the killer are truly horrific.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Marilyn
  • 2016-10-02

Couldn't get enough

Read Candles Burning and The Elementals , which was my first introduction to this author. I was hooked, then read candles burning, then lastly Cold Moon over Babylon. I wish there was a hundred more from this author, he is amazing. My favorite author is Stephen King and McDowell hooks me like King does. I am sad I have no more to read. I read or to be precise listened to all three over a three day period, just about non stop. If you haven't read his books, treat yourself, they are great.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Mel
  • 2016-07-24

Solid Southern Gothic


With the background of the lush steamy south (always a favorite) and a dark deep river with a hungry past, this is the kind of classic ghost tale that makes up a good round-the-campfire repertoire. You're left to choose whether there is madness afoot or revenge from the grave, but either way, there is no way out from the genuine creepy pall that overcomes you with this read. Well written with a broad story, rife with possibilities, kept on track.

It's worth pointing out that this was originally released in 1980; we'd had a decade of outstanding genre-bending horror: Peter Benchley's Jaws, William P. Blatty's The Exorcist, John Carpenter's Michael Myers, Anne Rice's Vampires, Hannibal Lecter, Rosemary's Baby, the wives of Stepford -- from Aliens to haunted house horrors...not to mention Stephen King who had redefined the genre with everything from demon cars to alien spider/clowns. *Whew*...the little old ghost story was hardly worth a goosebump. But McDowell did it with an edgy touch of suspense and his own recognizable flourish.

A great intro into this story sets up an haunting legacy that feeds a hunger for revenge so ravenous it's felt in the very nature of Babylon -- an eerie and foreboding presence that feels like a heartbeat, a clock ticking, a breath waiting to be released. There were moments it lagged, but this is old-school ghost territory, so hang in there and enjoy. The Scooby-Do feel gives way to a good ghostly karmic smack-down.

28 people found this helpful

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  • J. Belinda Yandell
  • 2018-09-10

Too horrible

I am not sure exactly what it was about this book that turned me off so much, but in this book and another he co-wrote with Tabitha King, the murders disturbed me and upset more than things of this nature usually do. There is something particularly cruel and heartless in these deaths, and I don’t think I’ll be reading more of this writer.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rhiannon
  • 2016-10-06

Well worth the listen!

I love reading horror but I'm also pretty critical as to what really draws me in. This book, for me, was a homerun. I really got into the story & Scott Brick is always good. I also recommend The Elementals if you enjoy this.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jeffrey Getzin
  • 2016-08-11

Wonderful performance deserves better book

Scott Brick saves the book single-handedly with a wonderful range of voices and accents. I swear, I could listen to him read a grocery list.

The blurb from Steven King calls the author "the finest writer of horror today." Maybe this wasn't one of the horror novels because I found it not even the slightest bit scary. Perhaps it would have helped if there were sympathetic characters, or if I hadn't already read this story a million times. I first read it in Poe's "The Telltale Heart", later saw it in film form in "Creepshow". Countless other times later, this story had nothing new to offer me other than Brick's usual outstanding reading.

Perhaps that's a bit too strong, but I do feel a bit cheated after reading King's blurb and all the great reviews. I think the author writes good prose, and the characters are interesting enough. It's just that the book isn't scary, which the reason I had purchased the book, nor especially original.

But hey, history is full of great novels that were read by the wrong reviewers. Perhaps this book just wasn't for me. Read the other reviews and make your own decision.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 2020-07-19

It stays with you

Michael McDowell's paperback horror focused on Southern towns in Alabama. It dwelt in decaying communities beset by family troubles, financial hardships, or some combination of both. They also seem to all take place during the unrelenting heat of a Southern summer. The southern-Alabama heat becomes so pervasive in the storytelling that it is practically a character in and of itself.

Cold Moon over Babylon has all of these qualities. It is a great example of Southern Gothic Horror and Scott Brick's narration of McDowell's prose make it into a grisly, haunting experience like few others I've had in fiction.

It begins as a kind of murder mystery: who killed young Margaret Larkin and WHY? The novel evolves into a psychological story about mental and emotional unraveling as the supernatural powers in the Styx river hound the murderer.

This is important to know going in, I think. It's not really a mystery novel nor is it a by-the-numbers revenge story with ghosts.

This is a book about cruelty, in a way. There is a lot of cruelty in this book, including by the supernatural elements themselves. These powers are not good and just. If they were then they could have acted earlier to prevent a lot of heartbreak.

Instead, the horrifying supernatural elements mirror--if not feed off of--the horror and degradation growing inside the killer. This is a good lens to look through when examining this book, I think.

I've thought a lot about this book and that is because it was one I couldn't shake out of my mind easily. Horror endures and doesn't go away easily, and McDowell's book hits that mark in a wonderful and grotesque way.

Scott Brick's narration is excellent, as always. He could read jury summons and make it sound heart wrenching and beautiful.

An independent movie based on this novel was shot a few years ago. It's OK, but it doesn't capture the wonder, the fear, and the loathing that permeates McDowell's prose.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 2017-06-07

Scary, unusual and very southern

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! The much missed McDowell is a brilliant horror writer, and this example of his work is no exception.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cold Moon over Babylon?

The final 3rd of the book is scary, creative, creepy and interesting.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The best reader ( along with RC Bray ) does yet another fabulous job. Consistently and creatively speaking, this is yet another stellar presentation.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The descriptions of the south are painted with clarity, precision, and confidence. Brilliant work that did move me.

Any additional comments?

MM left us far too early, but the works he left us with are stunning and so worth while. I highly recommend this work for contemporary horror fans AND any audio book fan who enjoys great writing and Scott Brick's brilliance.

8 people found this helpful