Angie Matthews is awakened in the middle of the night by an unexpected phone call. It’s from the hospital saying her husband was injured in a shooting at Ray’s Bar. She thinks that’s impossible because he’s in bed with her, isn’t he? Joyce Ketcher is awakened by pounding on her front door, opening it to policemen. They’re telling her that her 28-year old son Jed was involved in a mass shooting at a bar, he’s believed to be the shooter and he didn’t survive. Tessa, a young bartender at Ray’s Bar, is huddling in a storage closet, too terrified to move, even when the door is opened by law enforcement. It’s yet another mass shooting but this time it’s from the perspective of the survivors and families of the victims.
I’m really, really grateful I chose to listen to this story instead of reading it. A full cast of narrators was used to portray everyone who was in that bar but Hillary Huber (Joyce), Devon Sorvari (Angie) and Stephanie Willing (Tessa) voice the primary narratives. I’m a big fan of Huber who was a standout and brought weight to an extremely complicated character. I listened to Sue Klebold’s story about her infamous son Dylan and the carnage he also brought down on his family following the Columbine massacre and was keenly interested in how single mother Joyce would be impacted and treated in this age of social media. I appreciated having the backstories of these affected families as they provided relevant context to fully appreciate how the aftermath impacted their lives.
There were lots of questions that needed answering besides the looming one…why Jed walked into a bar after midnight and started shooting people. Each character’s story was situational and my opinions kept shifting, especially about Angie and Joyce. We were even given points of view up to the moment of the shooting from the victims who didn’t survive, which made them three dimensional, more than just their basic biographical backgrounds. It caused me to reflect on the realities of mass shootings, how we never really focus on those we lost as much as we should, searching more for answers about the shooter and the details of the event. The social media element was a bit scary, not because of its viral and destructive nature but the cynicism of the participants. This is a thought provoking story, one I just couldn’t put down, finishing most of it in a day. The audio performances are all outstanding for an extremely relevant story that is becoming more commonplace but changes so many lives in ways we never, ever hear about.
- Release Date: June 15, 2021
- Narrators: Devon Sorvari, Stephanie Willing, Hillary Huber, Stephanie Einstein, Madeline Maby, Nick Mondelli, Michael Brusasco, Patrick Lawlor, Adam Barr, Pete Cross & Neil Hellegers
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 38 minutes
- Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
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