Come with Me Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A masterful, heart-palpitating novel of small-town horror and psychological dread from a Bram Stoker nominee.
Aaron Decker's life changes one December morning when his wife, Allison, is killed. Haunted by her absence - and her ghost - Aaron goes through her belongings, where he finds a receipt for a motel room in another part of the country. Piloted by grief and an increasing sense of curiosity, Aaron embarks on a journey to discover what Allison had been doing in the weeks prior to her death.
Yet Aaron is unprepared to discover the dark secrets Allison kept, the death and horror that make up the tapestry of her hidden life. And with each dark secret revealed, Aaron becomes more and more consumed by his obsession to learn the terrifying truth about the woman who had been his wife, even if it puts his own life at risk.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 25 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 20, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #16,608 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#34 in Ghost Horror Fiction
#141 in Ghost Thrillers
#188 in Supernatural Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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They say write what you know. The story begins as Aaron Decker’s wife leaves home for the last time and becomes the victim of an active shooter situation at a strip mall. The description of Aaron’s fear and the unknown whether his wife survived or not is heartbreaking and traumatic. Later, in the acknowledgments, Malfi offers up that a close friend of his was killed in a similar mass shooting. He is writing from the heart and in a most personal way.
After the funeral and relatives coming and going, Aaron gets around to opening his dead wife Allison’s personal chest of belongings and the story really takes off. He discovers she was hiding a fixation on an old mystery linked to her early family life. And never told him about it. Aaron had been married to Allison for five years but she had kept most of her childhood stories to herself. He now gets a peek into her early life as well as how she has been spending time while he was away on business. He begins to wonder how much he actually knew about her.
Malfi plots an intricate tale with red herrings and reveals peppered in equal amounts. The story is never rushed and pages turn by themselves. I couldn’t put this one down. We follow Aaron as he retraces his wife’s footsteps and investigates her search for a killer.
Sounds like a standard crime thriller? There’s more. Malfi permeates the story with wisps of the paranormal, though more from a subtle “something is off” feeling than a beating over the head “ghosts are everywhere” perspective. Through it all he hints at a metaphysical overture to let us know there is a deeper resonance at work. “We are haunted by ourselves” hints to the the reader that maybe it’s not all about the ghosts and spirits. Maybe Aaron’s grief is a palpable character in this story. And, just perhaps, Allison is still guiding Aaron to the endgame.
All along the way, the first person narrative builds empathy with Aaron and his quest. I felt all the highs and lows he experienced. And none of the story is ever forced. Malfi delivers a tight, intricately detailed narrative that glides along effortlessly. No wasted words. You want to see Aaron solve the mystery. You love this guy. You cry with this guy. You are shocked with this guy.
I was 300 pages into this book and had no idea where he was going with it. Anyone that tells you “I figured it out early on” is just flat out flexing. At the end, Malfi wraps up all the loose ends but it never feels forced or convenient. It’s just desolate with a brilliant symmetry. It’s a solid riff on ghosts, pain, and anguish which caused me to simply sit in my reading chair and hold the book close to me after reading the final page, as if I could soak in more emotion just through physical content with the pages.
I’m reminded of the Neil Gaiman penned issue of DC Comics’ HELLBLAZER #27. Or maybe Rio Youers’ WESTLAKE SOUL. Both had a significant impact on me and both left me staring at the ceiling for a bit after reading the last page. I’ve read a couple other Malfi books (BONE WHITE and LITTLE GIRLS) and while both were excellent reads, I never saw this depth coming. This is a grief bomb leaving a pitted scar.
All the stars and superlatives for this one. Two thirds of the way through 2021 and I’m confident this one will top my “best of” list come January.
5 out of 5 “that’s what I’m talking about” stars.
Next, I want you to imagine what it would be like if that path suddenly no longer made any sense to you and as matter of fact, now you found that monsters lie in the darkness on either side and the slope became so impossibly steep that you had no choice but to continue on for climbing back up the hill was impossible.
I argue that this is quandary we find our protagonist Aaronn Decker in.
Truth in advertising, I have been a Ronald Malfi fan for son long. It is hard not to love his work. You have not heard of Ronald Malfi? Have you never heard of Stephen King, or Josh Malerman? How have you never heard of Ronald Malfi, the master of true psychological horror? Well, read on and pick up a copy of this book.
In his latest offering, Come With Me, we see the life of Aaron Decker as he is after the death of his wife. Guilt and grief stricken, we find a man searching for a way to get out of this miasmic existence when a series of strange occurrences lead him to discover something his wife, Allison, tried to keep hidden for so many years.
What was she hiding? I would argue her personal obsession as well as cross to bear. An obsession which quickly becomes Aaron’s to see through when he discovers a file of notes along with a handgun. This grabs Aaron by the nose and leads him to see the truth and complete the quest his wife was on.
By the end of the book, you finally are left to ponder what Allison means in the very beginning of the book, when she implores Aaron, “Come with me.” I know it certainly left the question in my head. A question I will certainly bother Ronald for an answer for, next time I see him. That question, and I don’t think I am giving anything up here, is this. Was Aaron supposed to die with Allison that morning? And yet, you have to read the book to understand why I ask this.
Amazingly well written, there is a danger in reading this book as it will ensure you forget about eating and sleeping. You simply have to know how it all ends and that is the challenge with a book like this. I would also add that if this is not made into a miniseries or a full-length movie, I will feel there is little justice in the world. And yet, no film adaptation would ever do the book justice. It is just not possible to improve on this work.
I cannot find anything to ding this book in terms of writing and story style. There is one thing that is really just me being super nitpicky in terms of firearms, but I will let it rest since 99.9% of the people reading this book will never pick up on it. And it is literally no more than a sentence in the book that I would have taken issue with.
Five out of five stars and I would give it more if I could. This is simply the best book I read in 2021.
Top reviews from other countries
After a traumatic event leaves Aaron's life upside down, he unknowingly becomes pulled into a dangerous journey to find answers to a decade long mystery.
There is a beautiful combination of crime thriller with some elements of the supernatural but it never feels unbelievable or silly.
The writing style is brilliant and this definitely gets 5\5 stars for me!
Buy it. You won't regret it!