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The Birthing House
Christopher Ransom
Narrated by Edward Herrmann, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 10 hours

The Birthing House
Christopher Ransom
Christopher Ransom is a native of Boulder, Colorado, who has lived in New York and Los Angeles. He now resides with his wife and three rescued dogs in a 142-year-old former birthing house in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Christopher Ransom Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Conrad Harrison receives a large inheritance from a father he hardly knew. While returning to his home in Los Angeles, Conrad stops in rural Wisconsin and buys a house. The century-old house was once a birthing house, where midwives delivered countless babies, both alive and dead. Conrad is immediately drawn to the house and goes back to Los Angeles to get his wife, Jo, so they can try to build a new beginning with a marriage that seems to be on the rocks.

Jo doesn't feel comfortable in the house and quickly goes to Michigan for a job opportunity. While Conrad is home alone during her training period, the previous owner of the home stops by to drop off a photo album that has a history of the house. Looking at the photo album, Conrad sees a picture of his wife, staring back at him in rage. And from there we are launched into a horror story of possession, obsession, and murder. As Conrad descends into madness, reality and dreams seem to blend until Conrad is completely unaware of what is real.

While Jo is gone, the neighbors take Conrad in and welcome him to the neighborhood by inviting him over for dinner. Here he meets his neighbor's rebellious pregnant daughter. Soon after their meeting, he rescues the girl from an abusive boyfriend and shows her his project, which is to try to breed some rare snakes that almost never breed in captivity. The girl points out that if this is true then they have a miracle because she has discovered nine eggs in the snake's cage. To add to the mystery, this is a female snake that has never been with a male.

Strange visits from ghostly apparitions, bizarre and violent behavior from his dogs, and an odd attraction to the pregnant teenager next door plague Conrad Harrison as he tries to understand what is happening to his sanity. Meanwhile, his wife becomes impossible to reach after admitting to him that she is pregnant -- but it can't be Conrad's child.

This audiobook is one of those haunted house stories that leaves you with chills and perks you up every time you hear a sound. At the same time, this haunted house story is unusual in that it is based on births, not just deaths, like most haunted house stories.

Edward Herrmann is very convincing in reading this story. He captures every nuance and chill with the subtleties of his voice. When the main character is in his deepest state of the haunting, Herrmann's voice takes on an even more haunting chill -- pulling the listener into the story so that escape is impossible.

Copyright © 2010 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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