Thursday, July 5, 2007

Jack Wakes Up (podcast)

Jack Wakes Up
Seth Harwood
Seth's website
Highly recommended

I used to listen to books on tapes and on CD but I never realized what a junkie I was for listening until my wife gave me a 60 Gb iPod for a milestone birthday. I immediately started exploring podcasts and, a year later, ended up on Seth Harwood's web site. Prior to this, my fiction needs were satisfied with and various science fiction, horror, and fantasy podcasts. More about those in later posts. I think it was Scott Sigler on one of his The Rookie podcasts who pointed me in this direction. Whoever got me here, thanks.

The crime story is one of my favorite genres and Seth describes Jack Wakes Up (JWU) as the "world's first crime-noir podcast novel." It fits that description very well. It is written in third person, present tense which I don't think is common but it works quite well. It pushes the story along and gives the listener a feeling of direct involvement in the action, like it is happening in real time. The recording quality and Seth's delivery are both very good.

JWU is the story of Jack Palms, an ex-actor who starred in one police action film, Shake it Down. Jack has been coasting ever since his drug abuse and arrest for hitting his wife (not true) ended his acting career. Jack is off drugs and alcohol and working out regularly when a friend of Jack's gets him involved in what is supposed to be a simple drug deal that will get Jack some much needed cash.

The next thing he knows, his friend is dead and Jack is trying to find out who killed his friend AND carry off the drug deal with some very friendly but volatile and lethal ex-KGB Czech drug dealers. Jack has to manipulate the drug dealing while feeding information to the police officer who arrested him years ago. And not get killed in the process. In the midst of all this action, Jack does indeed wake up and realizes how much he has been missing in life.

Seth is hoping to get JWU published and I wish him luck. It is good enough a story to see paper. When JWU does come out in print it will be interesting to see the changes that will be made under the guidance of an editor. If I was asked to identify a weakness in the story I would have to pick the characterization of Maxine, the only major female character. Seth address this in the Q&A episode that followed the conclusion but I still ... Well, listen for yourself and draw your own conclusion.

The sequel, This is Life, is currently being serialized.