Stinger by Robert McCammon #BookReview

Title: Stinger | Author: Robert McCammon | Narrator: Nick Sullivan |  Length: 18 hrs 40 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Horror | ISBN13: 9781453231531 | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of the audio book from the narrator for review consideration


Ever since the copper mine closed, the West Texas desert hellholes of Inferno and Bordertown have been slowly dying. Snake River isn’t the only thing that divides them. Racism, gang wars, and anti-Mexican sentiment have turned the sun-scorched flatlands into a powder keg. If anything can unite them for now, at least in awe and wonder, it’s the UFO that comes soaring out of the clouds like a flaming locomotive.

In the wake of the crash, a young alien named Daufin has arrived, too. A fugitive who has taken the form of a human, she knows the terror that awaits the inhabitants of this planet—because it is looking for her.

When Stinger, the monstrous alien bounty hunter, arrives, it’s with a destructive fury and a devious plan to find Daufin—by entombing the residents in an impenetrable and inescapable dome. A relentless killing machine, Stinger has an infinite capacity for death and destruction. And over the next twenty-four hours, this town is going to bleed and burn. Now, the few remaining survivors must come together to protect Daufin, themselves, and the world beyond from total annihilation.

From the New York Times–bestselling and Bram Stoker Award–winning author of Swan Song, Stinger was called “one of the best suspense novels of recent years” by the Science Fiction Chronicle.

Book cover for Stinger

Stinger Review

Swan Song was an amazing book, and I enjoyed every bit of the tale that Robert McCammon had to tell in it. So, when I was offered the chance to review another one of his books in audio format by the narrator, I eagerly said yes. And about 1 hour into listening to Stinger, I was wishing I hadn’t. Luckily that changed up a bit by the end of the book.

I don’t think that Stinger sucks, or anything like that. At its base, it’s an interesting story. But it did feel like everything was against me liking this book. The one potentially bad thing about listening to an audio book is that you have to ‘read’ slowly. In my case, it slows my reading speed down to less than half of what I normally read at, even when I push the speed of the playback up to 1.5x. So, if there’s any element of the narration or story that doesn’t work for me, it’s going to make it very difficult for me to stay engaged.

Nick Sullivan is, objectively, a good narrator. He differentiates the voices, speaks with passion when need be, but doesn’t over-dramatize things, and gives the story the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, the southern accents required due to the story setting set my teeth on edge. That, combined with the sometimes unpleasant voices (perfectly fitting the story just not my ears), and the obsession with the ‘gang war’ in the beginning of the book meant that Stinger was not an audio book I was eager to keep listening to. Also, although I’m sure I’m not wording this exactly right, I don’t feel as though his voice was necessarily the right one for the book.

There were elements of the book that I did like, though. Robert McCammon has created a great bad guy in Stinger. Every time he (it?) appears in a scene, it’s this weird mix of fascinating and disgusting. I never liked him, but his scenes were some of the most captivating in the book. Dolphin was neat as well. I liked watching ‘her’ understanding of humans evolve rapidly over the short period of time the book takes place in. Every time action was happening, I was interested in what was going on. Once the gangs thing in the beginning was dealt with, and the action I had been waiting for finally got going, I was able to enjoy the novel a little bit. The last fourth of the book, I actually really liked.

However, the characters were cardboard, the clichés were many, and the glacial pace at which things got moving meant that this 24-hour time period felt more like a six month siege to me. I think Stinger would have been a much more enjoyable read/listen if it was about 150 to 200 pages shorter.

One thing I did think repeatedly while listening to Stinger was that I was positive I would love it if it was adapted for film. McCammon has a way of painting visuals that you just know would translate into outright horrific images on screen.

I really went back and forth on what to rate this. It wasn’t a truly enjoyable experience for me, but a lot of the issues that I had weren’t necessarily things that I could ‘dock’ for. A lot of it felt like it was more my issues than anything wrong with the book. (Something I believe especially so since finishing Boy’s Life and absolutely loving it.) I recommend McCammon on the whole. Just can’t particularly recommend Stinger.

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9 thoughts on “Stinger by Robert McCammon #BookReview

    1. Lots of people now have told me it was probably the narration that put me off. I honestly don’t think that’s all of it, but I guess a reread in a few years will let me know!

    1. I don’t know. I know the narration played a part in why I didn’t like it. But I think I would have had a problem with how slow it moves in the beginning, plus the whole gang thing anyways. Maybe in a few years I’ll pick up a written copy and see if my mind changes 🙂

  1. I read this some time ago and I know I liked it but can’t remember much now. It’s sitting on my bookshelf with some of his other books. You’ve got me curious to take it down and give it another read.

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