I’ve been friends with Tim for a while. I was hunting for something short to listen to on a recent road trip and thought I’d give his story Purgatory a try.
Synopsis:Charles Cunningham, a wealthy real estate developer, dies unexpectedly and finds himself in Purgatory, the place between heaven and hell. Though depressed about his early death, he befriends two other souls doing time there — the writer Edgar Allan Poe and a music-loving deadbeat named Billy. Upon receiving a letter from God telling him he must learn some unnamed lessons before he can go to heaven, he convinces Poe to join him in the portal back to earth. They hope to make up for their past mistakes, but they arrive on earth in the year 2049, 42 years after Charles’ death. Traveling from mid-21st century New York City to Las Vegas, Charles seeks out the daughter he neglected in life, though she is now in her eighties. However, an unfriendly soul from Purgatory follows them to earth. This soul, an employee with whom Charles had an affair and summarily fired, is determined to keep him from winning passage to heaven. She teams up with Charles’ grandson, a debt-ridden gambling addict who has a talent for messing things up. Together, they hatch a deadly scheme to foil Charles’ plan to get to heaven and net the grandson badly-needed money. Charles learns of their plans and enlists his friends to help stop them. Will they succeed?
Production: I dinged Tim on my review of Acts of Desperation for his audio quality. There was no paper rustling. There was some breathiness and he could use a pop-filter. I hope he can invest in some better audio gear for future endeavors. I’ve heard a lot worse, but this will bother some people enough to take them out of the story.
Cast: Tim reads this himself. He does a good job, particularly voicing the character Billy. It’s largely a straight read.
Story: This is billed as a “comedy”. It’s only true in the classical sense. There are some smiles here and there. There’s also a bit of tension as Charles, Ed, and Billy try and stop a dangerous plot. My outright favorite part of this story were the interactions between Charles and Ed. Tim nailed the character of Edgar Allen Poe.
The religious aspects of this story are a bit on the “soft” side. This is basically a morality play. We get to watch the characters as they deal with the repercussions of their actions both in this life and the life after. Some of them succeed and others fail. It’s hinted at that the failures will get another try. Makes me wonder what the Hell in this universe would look like and who would be there.
Don’t expect a treatise on the afterlife along the lines of Mur Lafferty’s Afterlife series. Do expect a fun listen with engaging characters and a dash of sci-fi.
Verdict: I sense that his writing is stronger this go around. If you’re not an audiophile or a religious purest give this a listen. I think most folks would enjoy it.