The final Dark Shadows audio drama that I listed to while traveling back from New Orleans a few weeks back was volume 36 - The Lucifer Gambit. Featuring the first audio to focus on Amy Jennings, it features an all new cast, with only Nancy Barrett and Lisa Richards from the original television show providing voices for their created characters (Carolyn Stoddard and Sabrina Jennings, respectively) and a clip from a previous audio tale with David Selby (Quentin Collins). Unfortunately, the actress who portrayed Amy Jennings in the original television show was either unavailable or unwilling to do the audio story, and thus, Stephanie Ellyne assumes the role.
This tale finds Amy answering a call at Collinwood from a desperate Dominic Randall. He's looking for Professor Stokes, as he is being threatened by something from beyond. At first, Amy lets it go, but the more she dwells on it (and her recent work with Professor Stokes across the ocean), the more she realizes she can help. So she makes her way to the Randall home, only to find it shrouded completely in darkness - the windows are shut, secured, and blocked, and when she enters the great mansion, there are no lights. A disembodied voice calls out, and before she knows it, Amy is drawn into a web of deceipt, dark magic, murder, and vengeance.
Once again, the writer, producers, and actors capture the true Dark Shadows feeling. While it takes a bit getting used to, thinking of young Amy Jennings as an adult who now has an understanding of the occult and does not flinch at ghosts, demons, and black magic, it is good to see that there is now someone in the DS audio realm who can deal with these matters (since Grayson Hall and Thayer David are both gone). Plus, the use of a protection amulet that Amy has received from Professor Stokes plays a very important part in the drama as it unfolds. And Dominic Randall makes for a very interesting antagonist, as he presents himself first as the victim, with the ghost of his wife being the vengeful spirit - but, as with any well-written story, appearances can be deceiving, and the listener soon learns that Isobell Randall, while definitely dead and definitely seeking vengeance, has a valid reason for wanting revenge against her husband.
As with recent audio stories, this one incorporates elements to keep the ongoing saga of Dark Shadows moving forward - for when Amy is on the train returning to Collinsport at the end, not only does she hear about the television crew in Collinsport (foreshadowing a future story), but she also runs into Sabrina Jennings, her sister-in-law, who was last seen in The Enemy Within, where it was revealed that she inherited her husband's werewolf curse and killed him - something Amy does not yet know!
The horrors in Collinsport continue, and I, for one, couldn't be happpier.
RATING: 10 manipulating demons out of 10 for the reminder that the dark shadows over Collinsport have a very long reach indeed!