Blister Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
They call her Blister. She's a hideously disfigured 23-year-old woman, living in a shed next to her father's house, hidden away from the world.
Jason Tray is a successful cartoonist, banished to his agent's lakeside cabin for a few days of mandatory rest and relaxation. One night, while hanging out with a couple of the locals at a dive bar, he takes them up on their offer to go "see Blister," having no idea what they're talking about.
He peeks through the window at the most nightmarish thing he's ever seen.
In the morning, he wakes up, hung over and regretful. He's better than this. Does he need to apologize?
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|Listening Length||6 hours and 23 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 11, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #198,853 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#5,694 in Horror Fiction
#13,330 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#36,952 in Horror Literature & Fiction
Top reviews from the United States
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In 1985, 38 year-old Jason Tray is a moderately successful sketch artist from Jacksonville, Florida who illustrates a popular cartoon comic strip. After a rather humorous revenge/scare prank against two rotten local neighborhood kids (who were harassing his dog, Ignatz) goes wrong (or right) and results in one of the brats suffering a broken arm, the incident lands him in some hot water with his hot-headed agent. Jason is implored by his agent to take several days off and spend them relaxing at his agent's lakeside fishing cabin in rural Georgia until the negative publicity from the incident blows over. Little does Jason know, however, that the Georgia town he's sojourning in makes Twin Peaks, Washington look like a vacation bible school-camp. Our protagonist has no idea how deep of a rabbit hole he's about to take a tumble down.
It all begins one night on the trip when Jason, looking to break the monotony of being alone and his ineptitude at fishing at the cabin, decides to mix it up by going out and seeking some local flavor and entertainment. He heads to a nearby dive bar/pool hall and enjoys a few beers with a pair of young local yokel fellows. After some rounds, the young men suggest to Jason that they all go to "see Blister", who apparently is some sort of local freakshow attraction. Out of a misplaced attempt at male camaraderie but also curiosity, Jason agrees to accompany them on a trip through the woods to peer in through the window of Blister's cabin. "Blister" is a terribly disfigured young woman who startles Jason so badly that he runs off into the night.
The next morning, feeling intense guilt over his immature, ill-advised drunken actions, Jason decides to return to Blister's cabin (on the periphery of her family's property) to offer an apology, much to the suspicion of her surly, overprotective father, Malcolm. Blister's real name is Rachel, and she's a reclusive 23 year-old woman whose awful disfigurement was allegedly the result of vindictive attack by a spurned ex-boyfriend in high school 5 years earlier. Rachel accepts his apology, and Jason is presumably on his way from there. But upon noticing from the brief visit inside her cabin that she is a fan of artwork (particularly owls), he returns later that same day to her cabin to give her some of his own artwork and comic strips as penance. The two of them spontaneously spend a little bit of time talking, and before either of them realize it, they've struck up an actual friendship. Due to her appearance, Rachel rarely even leaves her cabin and Jason not only enjoys her companionship, but wants to help her overcome her fear of the outside world and get out more. Malcolm begrudgingly agrees to let Jason and Rachel go out to spend some time together on the lake and going out for burgers.
However, a few folks in town don't take too kindly to Jason and Rachel's gently blossoming little romance, made apparent through his agent's cabin burning down under unknown, suspicious circumstances. Through a little amateur sleuthing, Jason starts to uncover that the details surrounding the night of Rachel's attack that left her so badly scarred 5 years earlier and the boyfriend's supposed subsequent disappearance are mired in some secret that the locals (even the town sheriff among them) seem determined to keep. And it's all also connected somehow to some mysterious, menacing local kid, Allen, who has some shared history with both Rachel and her old boyfriend from high school years ago. Much like Scott B. Smith's "A Simple Plan", a chain of events is now set into motion from here, which are going to incorporate both murder and serious legal repercussions (i.e. prison) for the involved survivors. You can see where it's all going, or can guess.
"Blister" is a surprisingly fun, twisted novel. It works largely due to its main character and protagonist, Jason. He's a largely likeable protagonist and a relatable guy. And although we learn that he has been previously divorced, unlike most other divorced characters in these types of stories, Jason isn't a worthless alcoholic who spends all of his time wallowing in self-pity over his failed marriage and drinking himself to death. He's a reasonably well-adjusted, normal man who hasn't let the measure of material success he's enjoyed go to his head, and I liked that. His crisp, gently wry first-person narration helps propel the story along swiftly and smoothly, and by virtue of the fact that it takes place in 1985, there are none of the usual distracting, annoying references to cellphones, Facebook, current politics, etc. that weigh so many current stories down. Rachel's character and titular alter-ego are great, too. She has a wonderfully witty (if warped) sense of humor and is amazingly resilient and stable considering what she's endured. The dynamic of her and Jason's relationship forms the core of the story, of which the primary message is that love often makes us do foolish, uncharacteristic, and even insane things that we would ordinarily never dream of doing otherwise. If the story has a weakness, it's that the dark gallows humor and silliness of Strand's irreverent writing style sometimes makes it difficult for the reader to take the story seriously. On the other hand, though, I'll give Strand credit for keeping me guessing throughout. Overall, good book which entertained me, and I'm sure it will do the same for you, too.
Get to know "Blister". You'll be glad you did.
The horror part is the disfigurement of Rachel, also known by the nickname Blister, a name given by folks in the town of Lake Gladys who had decided to treat her as a freak. A disappointed boyfriend had slashed her face with a straight razor and cauterized the wounds with a blowtorch when she was a teenager. Now twenty-three years old, she was resigned to the fact that no amount of plastic surgery would ever restore the face she had previously. Rachel tried various masks to wear in the event she had to meet anyone other than her father. Most of the time, she remained isolated in a small cabin constructed and guarded by her father.
Jason Tray is a successful cartoonist. A prank Jason pulled in his neighborhood backfired, and his agent decided Jason should hide out for a short period in a cabin owned by the agent in the town of Lake Gladys. While having drinks in a local bar, Jason was invited to accompany two local teenagers to go to a cabin and see “something” unusual. Peering through a window, Jason saw “Blister” without her mask, reacted predictably, and ran away from his window peeping activity but not before hearing the disfigured person responding with sobs.
The next day, Jason felt horrible about the way he had acted and felt compelled to return to the cabin and personally apologize to the person he had seen, Rachel. The first person he met was Rachel’s father, Malcolm, a man very protective of his wronged daughter, who advised Jason to leave and never return. At this point, readers are past most of the horror and the cringe-worthy description of how unfortunates can be emotionally abused.
Jason and Rachel deliver most of the dialogue that makes up the humor component of the story. It is witty, enjoyable, sarcastic, and not overdone. I found it difficult to believe there could be so much humor in such a tragic story.
There is, of course, a mystery. Why did this happen to Rachel? What happened to the party or parties who hurt Rachel? Readers will presume that there is going to be extended communication between Jason and Rachel. How will that relationship work out, or will there be any relationship at all?
The story delivers multiple surprises, and a suspension of disbelief is required at a few points when reading about law enforcement responses, but for the most part, this is a page-turner entertaining read. I found only one disconnect about the difference between a grocery, or convenience store, and a drive-in theater, but I won’t clear it up for readers.
The story is a worthwhile fun read, and no one can complain about the price. I gave this story only four Amazon stars because of the disconnect mentioned earlier, but I will read more by this author. I am a fan of humor even more than horror. Jeff Strand did an unusually good job combining the two with Blister.
Top reviews from other countries
And then you realise that the book isn’t really what you thought it would be.
Well that scenario is exactly what happened with me here.
The covers shows a gauzed-up chick shushing you. It’s a great cover and one that seemingly sold me. The book is about a severely disfigured girl whose been locked away from the world for five years. That’s probably as far as I read blurb-wise and if I’d have researched more into it I may not have actually read it.
See, I like my horror. This is not a horror story. Although the subject of the girl’s quite frankly abysmal face is horrific, it’s pretty much a romance tale. Maybe a metaphor for beauty only being skin deep, eye of the beholder stuff, and for ignoring what others say and think in order to pursue your own happiness. So no, not a horror novel at all.
But guess what? After all that, I really enjoyed it. My previous-self was definitely on to something.
Jason Tray, a cartoonist, is advised to spend a few days in his agent’s secluded cabin in Georgia, while a certain ‘bad PR’ incident he was involved in is left to settle. Perhaps my media knowledge is lacking, but I felt this a little unlikely. Is Jason that famous? Anyway, it doesn’t matter too much, it gets the plot going pretty early on and without it, well, he wouldn’t be able to embark on his journey of love.
Rachel, or Blister, was the victim of a blowtorch attack five years ago. From then on her father has kept her locked away in the shed, away from the staring eyes of the locals in the small town. When Jason gets bored with his boring cabin, he befriends some of the residents in the local boozer and is taken to witness the town freak for himself.
At first he’s disgusted (say what you like, but we would all be a little shocked at this, to say the least), but Jason’s a good guy and feels bad about his reaction, so returns the next day to offer his apologies to Rachel and her father.
And then he falls for her.
The locals don’t take too kindly to this outsider taking an interest in their freak. As the novel progresses the details of Rachel’s ordeal become clearer, with flashbacks to the night in question when her whole world fell apart.
Think kind-of redneck, small town America where everyone knows everyone else’s business. It makes you wonder why Jason wanted to hang around longer than he had to.
The pacing was great, and the humour that Jason uses to relay his story caused more than a few chuckles to reverberate around my house. But I kept asking myself why he was doing all this for a burn victim he barely knew, it did seem a little far-fetched to be honest. Maybe I’m too much of a shallow, selfish prick.
However, my disbelief was suspended enough to breeze through this book in only a few sittings, such was the awesome story telling. This was my first foray into Jeff Strand’s work, but it won’t be the last, I’ve already read that this is a departure from his usual style.
So if you’re a fan of horror who fancies reading something a little more romantic, but without having to go full-on mush, this novel is a decent one to plump for!
I read a vast amount and of late had almost despaired of finding a book that would capture my interest. This one did and I confess that despite being a cliche I did not put it down until I had finished it, about 3 hours after my normal bed time. If you want horror this is not for you. If you want a darn good story with a touch of romance and some mildly gruesome scenes then you may enjoy this. As a matter of interest, I regularly write reviews and this is, I think, the first 5 star review that I have ever given. Thank you to the author.
By Jeff Strand
This book was brilliant. This book has been on my wish list for months and as soon as it arrived I had to read it.
As always it is so easy to get into books by this author. From the cover and the blurb I was expecting quite a twisted dark horror - however, it ended up being a fast paced thriller that had the perfect amount of romance thrown in!
This is possibly my favourite Jeff Strand book! I would definitely recommend reading this as an introduction to his work!