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Gray

The Complete Collection
Written by: Lou Cadle
Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A dense black cloud boiled up in the southeastern sky. It rose high and fast, like a time-lapse movie of the birth of a thunderhead. But it was no rain cloud. Wholly black, it reached up and up until it loomed over her, blocking out the sun. Somehow, she knew, it was Death coming for her.

Pre-med student Coral is on vacation in Idaho when something terrible happens. The black cloud is followed by a wildfire and searing heat that lasts for days. She survives deep in a cave but emerges days later to find the world transformed, with blackened trees, an ash-filled sky, and no living creatures stirring - except for her.

So begins her desperate journey to find water and food and other survivors...and the answer to the mystery of what happened.

Note: This is a combined edition of Gray I, Gray II, and Gray III.

©2017 Lou Cadle (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Gray

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

No sugar coating it, survival is hard

I loved how the author allowed it's characters to really delve into the post-apocalyptic realities. No food, no water, infection disease... The reality of what would come after a catastrophic event is palpable. Very entertaining, easy to follow, worth every minute.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I will read it again

This book stays in my mind. Every time I am hungry, thirsty, cold or tired, I now focus on the moment. This book made me realize how good life is here right now.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story and narration~no spoilers

I'm not a zombie/prepper fan, and wonderfully--Gray was neither thing! I literally just did the 3 books from awake to asleep in 2 nights. Riveted by this series. Here's why I love it, and why you should, too. 1- this is what happens after the world ends. (No spoilers) Lou Cadle wrote a brilliant story with a heroine who's not totally a superhero, and Lauren Fortgang did a FIRST RATE job bringing this entertaining and really well written series to it's conclusion. I'm not spoiling any of it except to say this--all these things are possible. I'm old, old enough to remember old radios, CB and Shortwave, and pretty much she wrote things correctly. The medical parts were reasonably correct, how to milk goats was reasonably correct, Lou did some homework before setting words to page. No idea if the science is all right but I suspect it's right as well. The way she told the story was bold and interesting. I am partially sighted so being able to read a story well, brings it to life "in our heads, " When. you have a good narrator, it really makes or breaks a story. Generally I listen to male narrators, being a sci-fi nerd, with the exception of some of Kate Reading's stuff (she does Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive). I'll absolutely listen to this narrator again, she did a great job. She made all the people's voices different, and did the best she could with male voices, there are just some things we women can't do, lower register voices are difficult for women, same as high voices are hard for most men. She kept us, the listener engaged with the story. ONE thing though--Lou--the word is "Ineptitude", not "Ineptness". When Coral in the book thought Ineptness, I swore because the incorrect word threw me. Otherwise, I loved it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Never give up!

I enjoyed this different take on a disaster happening and wish there were more books to read in the series. I will always wonder how their lives turned out. really makes you think about what would survive and who.

2 people found this helpful

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I can see what the rave reviews

Storyline, narration and the performance was simply excellent. Glad to have spent the time and the credit.

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Totally awesome

This series was amazing...fell in love with Coral and her ability to get herself out of trouble at each turn. Her smarts were inspirational and her tenacity to dig her heels in and stand her ground when faced with unimaginable circumstances was incredible. She stuck to her guns and survived much. Her love for Benjamin and he for her abounded in the story. They both were willing to sacrifice themselves for the other. The story was plausible and possible at the same time. I would have liked to have known what the actual EVENT was as I was left guessing throughout. I wish that we could have learned more about who the person was on the Ham radio and how things were in BC...Winnipeg as well because he must have had contact with someone there...nice to hear about our fair city. I found Coral to be much older than her years and would have been happier if she was about 25 and Benjamin around 35. To me it would also have been better if she had been first year med student instead of first year pre med....she had far too much knowledge for someone so young with only her first year in university completed. The story flowed effortlessly and I was pulled into their lives completely. I would recommend this series very highly and the narrator was phenomenal. Her ability to alter voices was amazing and also the emotion she put into each word makes her one very talented woman.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

good story. irritating reader

fails in the category of show dont tell. found the writing clumsy and intrusive. the reader was also irritatingly intrusive, terrible at voices. a good premise but clumsy delivery all around.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great narrative, good book

Excellent narration. I wish all audiobooks could be as expertly read as this one. As far as the story goes, while it was a good read, I could not get past the whole 19 year old premed student. Aren’t premed students in their early 20’s? Or is she Doogy Houser? And also just couldn’t get my head around her depth of medical knowledge. Again - 19? Possible, yes. Probable, no.

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Great book

Good story, and it pulls you in. Very well performed. Great story of survival. Thanks

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Best narrator in the business!

I absolutely love Lauren Fortgang’s narration which was my initial reason for picking up this book. But it was the story which kept me coming back again and again. I usually listen to audiobooks to help me fall asleep, but this one had me on the edge of my seat and I wanted to know what was going to happen so much that I had a hard time shutting it off when it was time for bed. Highly recommend!

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jamie Weekes
  • 2018-02-26

Just really unbelievable and not in a good way.

I really, really wanted to like this book...

Unfortunately, Gray is a treatise in why authors need to think about how people actually behave. This author did not, and instead used characters like a plot tool. They did what they did, not because any rational human would behave in that way, but so that they could be in the positions that the author felt were necessary for them to set up the plot that he wanted.

For instance, we begin with Coral our protagonist, a 19 year old pre-med student (again she has this background because it's convenient for the author, even though 19 year old pre-med students would be taking history and english classes, not something that would actually be helpful) on a school break, camping alone in her brothers RV in Idaho. Really? How many 19 year old females do you know that drive to a different state alone in an RV to camp for multiple days? How many of those lone 19 year old females would decide to explore a cave? Sounds safe... Bottom line, the protagonist repeatedly makes unbelievable decisions and succeeds in ways that are so far fetched I laughed out loud at multiple points in the story. Pick a lock by feel with nothing but a swiss army knife and no idea what you're doing? And in only a couple hours? Wow. Make a bow out of a stick on your first try? Amazing.

There's also a huge inconsistency in how the destruction from the event happens. Forests? Gone and burned. Buildings? Destroyed with a few exceptions. Corals RV? A little bit smokey, but all her stuff inside is just fine.

On a positive note I thought the performance was decent and I do think that it got marginally better as the story went on. By the end I was at least reasonably interested in Coral and Benjamin, despite the shallow character development and the painful gutting through I had to do to make it there. With a little more work and thought, this book could have been pretty good. But ultimately it was a frustrating listen.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • 2017-11-05

Great Story - Superb Value

When comparing entertainment value to story length, Gray: The Complete Collection cannot be beat. Being kind of cheap, I prefer spending credits on longer books, and this was a 24 hour listen fest that I simply could not put down. The combined talents of Lou Cadle and Lauren Fortgang ensured I wasn't disappointed.

For 2017, I've been binge listening to Post Apocalyptic books, and this book is right up there with the best of them. For me, plausibility is a big deal - I like real people solving real problems. I think the author did a great job creating believable situations that held my interest. This is also the first Post Apocalyptic book I've read that was written from the perspective of a woman. Many of the scenes involve her struggling with self-doubts, but always becoming the strong woman at the right time. This may sound tedious, but I felt the way it was written helped embellish the storyline. Some may also feel that the main characters were a bit too lucky, but in this new World you make your own luck, and that's what they did. Overcoming one obstacle after another as the World grew ever bleaker truly holds your interest.

Please don't be put off by my 4 star review. This book is well written and highly entertaining, which most people value (I certainly do). To get a 5th star, a book has to have meaningfulness - it has to make me think. While Gray has some thought provoking situations, at the end of the day, it's a standard overcome all odds type of book. Lauren Fortgang is also, by far, the best female narrator I've listened to; able to read multiple male and female characters equally well. So, if you like the Post Apocalyptic Genre without any zombies, then Gray: The Complete Collection is definitely one that needs to be in your Audible Library.

104 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Christen Doc
  • 2017-11-09

Promising but ultimately tedious

The author is truly compelling when writing about the nitty gritty of survival in this post-apocalyptic future. This is most of the first 2/3 of the book. But whenever the plot takes us beyond that into some society it falls apart and becomes cartoonish, almost laughably so. There's no nuance to the secondary characters and antagonists, they are straw men that the main characters can judge, defeat and leave behind. It gets very tedious. And by the end I was so sick of the holier-than-thou attitude of the main characters that I was eager to end the whole thing. In fact I didn't bother with the last hour because it was so annoying and boring. The narration is actually solid throughout, better than the story deserved.

57 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kci3
  • 2017-10-11

Something new in the Apocalypse genre!

One of my favorite books is The Road and many of my book loving friends would call it slow. I found it intense and so beautifully written that I often forgot to breath while listening. The book Gray many would consider a slow book too it is also based on character development and not constant action. For me I found the Gray compelling and always engrossing. I couldn’t wait until I could listen again after work. It is what I call a treasure hunting book in an apocalyptic world, my favorite. I love scavenging, persevering and never giving up hope. I am excited when they find a can of meat or a bottle of medicine that allows them to live one more day. The main characters often do things that I would not have done (I’m more blood thirsty) but I was alright with the decisions because it was more realistic. There were things that bothered me like everyone pretty much being evil and scientific things that would not be true. Even those things did not distract me from loving this book. There are many action packed exciting parts of the book but it is not a constant ongoing part. The book is based on regular everyday people and not the military or super hero’s doing unbelievable things. I rarely give a five star to a book for me what it means is 1. I will go to the author’s web-site 2. I will buy other books by this author 3. I will listen to this book more than once 4. I will tell others about it

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cat's MeWOW
  • 2017-08-17

Was Loathe To Put It Down!

This is one of THE very few audio books I had to listen to straight through. The first chapter ran a bit slow, but I stuck with it and soon enough I had headphones plugged in and had my Kindle tucked under my arm as I cooked dinner, washed dishes, exercised and even used the restroom while listening.

I did sleep for 4 hours, but since my Kindle has a sleep timer on it, I only had to back up 23 minutes or so when I woke up. I know! I sound so pathetic! But this plot was very well written and the narrator did a heck of a job bringing this story to life so....

I regret nothing.

It DOES beg the questions, though: In such a situation, where there are no answers as to what can cause the world to physically flip flop to the extreme unknown, who can you trust? How does one survive when they are ill-prepared for such an extended and volatile event? Where do you draw the line of humanity when very decision means life or death?

I purchased this book outright.
I was not disappointed.

67 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • d cowan
  • 2017-10-05

Could have been 1/3 the length.

Nice writing. Good story- but could have been written in 1/3 the amount. This book did not contain 24 hours worth of story-more tedious detail than I prefer.

27 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 2017-10-10

Impossible to put down

This book was amazing. Well written, great characters, and an engrossing storyline. One of the best post-apocalyptic novels I have ever read.

I was disappointed when I had to stop listening to do things like sleep, work, etc. and spent most of my free time thinking about the novel--what will happen next? What I would do? etc.

Here's a book that will stick with you. Worth every penny (or credit).

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bys
  • 2017-11-13

Love during the Apocalypse

Imagine going back to hunting and gathering to survive and throw in cloudy gray skies, ash filled snow and freezing temperatures ! Unlike the pessimism of The Road, the book is hopeful and it is also a unique love story. Not one which starts with a sexual attraction but with a need to trust and rely on another human to survive. I loved the way both protagonists fell under each other's "spell" and ultimately fell in love based on mutual experiences where they had to rely on each other. It really was an amazing tale and I felt lost for a bit when it ended. Kept me running long distances and not minding traffic jams! That's why I love someone telling me a tale....to escape!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • The Zombie Specialist
  • 2017-09-05

Best value for money in a long time!

There is certainly a lot to like about this one. Firstly, the author creates the perfect amount of tension through developing characters who are just ordinary people and putting them in an extra ordinary situation. The tension is further developed through the plot itself, the overall reason for disaster and the way some characters respond to the disaster. It all helps creates a level of realism which made me wonder... what I would be like in this situation?

Secondly, there is nothing to complain about in regards to sound quality and the quality of the narration. Maybe, slightly slow... I sped it up a notch to 1.25x speed, but I might have done that because I was so eager to hear the story.

Thirdly, and most importantly I finished this one with a good deal of satisfaction, knowing that I had received excellent value for money... it is over 24 hours in length!

Lastly, I know this probably won't happen. But it is possible for this story to continue. I really hope the author does. I would even pre order a copy! Please don't take this point to mean that I was not happy with the ending and or that it leaves you hanging waiting for an incomplete story to finish. Because it isn't like that all!

In summary, I am happy that I brought this one as opposed to my usual zombie genre. The world’s fastest fat man is giving this two thumbs up and a very long and cheerful 'heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey'

PS. Some people have tracked me on the good old inter webs and asked if I receive free copies of the titles I review, or if I get paid for reviews. I can say beyond any shadow of doubt, the answer is no I have not. Some authors have offered, but I have said no.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mavwreck75
  • 2017-10-16

Long Slow Burn

If you have an extremely long wait to see the cardiologist and want to fill the time without raising your heart rate a single beat just fire up this audiobook and you're all set.

The story just slowly steadily and painstakingly smoldered to its "dawn of a new day" conclusion. It was like asking someone for the time and, in response, they built a clock for you in slow motion. The story was not bad, despite loose ends throughout, it just unfolded very very slowly.

41 people found this helpful