Robert E. Dunn – The Sound of Distant Engines Review

Genre: Occult Horror
Length: 166 Pages
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release date: November 2, 2020
Synopsis: First Sergeant, Colin Matheson a hero and the poster boy for a new kind of warfare in America’s endless Middle East conflicts when he is photographed using a smart rifle to kill from miles away. A lifetime later, he is an old man taking VA meds to keep anxiety and the ghosts at bay. He spends his days quietly resisting the government he has come to symbolize using illegal technology to restore an 80 year old car.

All that is complicated by the arrival of his daughter and her 13 year old son. The daughter has hidden motives. The boy has issues at his faith based public school. When the Reverend Sibley shows up, it becomes clear, all the problems are related to the unveiling of a statue to honor the moment Matheson became famous—and to his refusal to participate.

Before his family can be used against him to coerce participation, Matheson uses the car he calls Layla to create a distraction. As the pressure mounts, Mathson’s ghosts and the feelings of impending change they bring, drive him to a lost love and a lost nation.

Matheson finds himself becoming a new symbol in his run through the Mid-West. Pursued by police and skirting state surveillance networks, he learns about himself and his guilt from the shades that become more active in his life. Do the meds help him or are they another aspect of state control creating spirits from his violent memories? His only chance at freedom is to create a new image to represent the truth of his life. Matheson makes a last run to confront his past and make a new future he will never see.

My Review-

When I received a notification that The Sound of Distant Engines was released, I hit the ‘buy it now button’ with excitement. I’d been waiting for a new release from Robert E Dunn, for what felt like forever, and there it was! I couldn’t wait to see it pop up in my ‘new list’ on my Kindle. I’ve been a fan for years and dig what Dunn has been doing, writing some kick ass stories. If you’ve read him you know the deal. If not, you’re seriously missing out.

The Sound of Distant Engines was a truly wonderful read. Again, as with many times before, I’ve felt a strong and comforting connection with the writer’s protagonist. Firstly, because Robert E. Dunn is one hell of a writer. Secondly, because his characters are flawed in one way or another I can connect with. Matheson, the protagonist, is an old man living in a new world, and here, new is not better. What was considered common freedoms has been restricted on several levels.

Matheson says it best, ‘Conformity is a knife at this country’s throat. The more we give in, the sharper the blade becomes.’ Holy double hell if it doesn’t speak volumes. This is where Dunn puts deeper meaning into his writing. He grabs you, shakes you, says ‘hey man look around and see what’s going on in the world!’ Matheson is living in a time where the government and church have more power than they should. One with too many rules which feels like a hand around people’s throats.

The dystopian feel in The Sound of Distant Engines is more than a bit scary. Matheson hangs on with all he has, to the days when you could drive a car without the worry of a resource infraction. When the church didn’t give you three strikes before you’re out. Robert E. Dunn crafts complex characters and sweeping storylines. Here Dunn eludes to tipping points that makes me question if the advances in technology are worth the cost. What will our future look like? This book will make you wonder what the future will look like.

Link to purchase The Sound of Distant Engines

Robert E. Dunn, Biography-

Robert E. Dunn was born an Army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven turning a series of Jack Kirby comic books into a hand written novel.

Over many years in the, mostly, honest work of video and film production he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. He returned to writing mystery, horror, and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.

Mr. Dunn is the author of the horror novels, THE RED HIGHWAY, MOTORMAN, and THE HARROWING, as well as the Katrina Williams mystery/thriller series, A LIVING GRAVE, A PARTICULAR DARKNESS, and the upcoming A DARK PATH.

He occasionally contributes to The ShotgunLogic Blog. Find that at,

Follow Robert on social media at or on Twitter as @WritingDead.


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