This book was recommended to my by my buddy Odin at View From Valhalla. It was less of an endorsement and more of a “try this one”.
Synopsis: Neurosurgeon Julia Nolan places cortical implants into the brains of field operatives to record data from their auditory and visual cortices. One of her subjects, an operative named Ian Westhelle, suffers a psychotic break and kills his handler before he can be recovered.
Julia tracks Ian to an asylum where the CIA warehouses insane former soldiers, scientists, and others with security risks too great for conventional psychiatric wards. Agents from the national intelligence directorate discover her snooping and target her for elimination.
A collaboration between bestselling writers Michael Wallace and Jeffrey Anderson, Implant is a heart-pounding thriller that will keep readers guessing until the final, chilling conclusion.
Production: This is a straight read. The audio is a little uneven places in terms of volume. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the music that they chose for the podcast. The audio quality itself wasn’t bad, but nothing great either.
One thing proved problematic. As a note to all podcast fiction producers, for any scene break you should at least include a pause or some sort of musical cue. It lets your listener know what’s going on. More than once there was a POV shift or some other scene break within a chapter that left me momentarily confused.
Cast: This is read by one of the authors. His vocal quality is generally fine. He’s definitely reading, rather than performing it. The problem is, his reading is flat. For the most part there’s very little energy or emotion. You can tell which characters he likes more as there’s a little more oomph. It occasionally gets in the way of the story.
Story: This is a fairly well written bit of sci-fi/thriller. It’s a collaboration, but there’s very little indication of who wrote what. I’m not familiar with either author’s work, and it felt like a single writer was responsible. The writing was the only thing that kept me going past the first few episodes.
If you’re into thrillers with action, political intrigue, and a dash of SF I think you’ll enjoy it. The characters are reasonably well developed. A few of them will surprise you, in that they depart from the tropes.
The biggest strike is that it does take some time to get where it’s going. Some judicious editing would tighten up the story.
Verdict: I can’t really recommend this as a podcast. If you want to experience the story your best bet might be buying the e-book. For $3.99 it’s worth it. Since I’m reviewing the podcast, my verdict’s grade reflects mainly that.