I’ve long been a fan of JC Hutchins’ work. For those not in the know, his book trilogy 7th Son was a fan favorite in the early days of podcast fiction. Since then, JC has built a career in freelance writing and transmedia story telling. He’s been talking about a project called The 33 for years and he’s finally decided to release it in a serial audio and e-book format.
This is not a podcast. JC is charging for it and I’m not reviewing the full run, since it’s not complete yet. But I believe in this project, and I want to let you know if it’s lived up the the standard that he’s set.
Synopsis: The 33 is J.C. Hutchins’ latest fiction project, released as monthly ebooks and digital audiobooks. The 33’s adventures are told in multi-part and one-shot short stories. Season 1 will contain 12 episodes.
Your safe First World existence isn’t safe at all. Our planet is a war zone, besieged by secret attacks from ruthless criminals, malicious technologies and hostile supernatural beings.
Standing between us and certain extinction is an unlikely league of saviors: THE 33 — thirty-three men and women blessed with unusual abilities, and even stranger personalities.
John Swords III leads the misfit crew. It ain’t easy. His lieutenants Bliss and Knack want to either kiss or kill each other. Other operatives are defiant, dysfunctional or downright deranged. The enemy is relentless and organized, poised to jumpstart the apocalypse. And Mr. Ins, The 33’s mysterious benefactor, exerts his absolute will over the group, pursuing an agenda all his own.
But one thing is certain — The 33 aren’t good guys. They leave damnation and salvation to the experts. Their mission: Maintain the status quo. Ensure the survival of the human race. Hold the line.
Part A-Team, part X-Files (with a dash of Hellboy and Global Frequency added for apocalyptic spice), The 33 is a high-stakes genre mash of action, sci-fi and supernatural thriller.
Production: The production on this is straight forward. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but the sound quality is good.
Cast: JC is a quality narrator and brings a unique voice to each character that he portrays. This dramatic reading displays those talents.
Story: This story opens with a bang (six bangs actually). Much like 7th Son, he sets the hooks into his readers right out of the blocks and never slows down. The characters are memorable and all bring the typical Hutch flavor to the party. He does an excellent job of establishing the universe he’s playing in, one fairly analogous to ours, and avoids pesky exposition that would slow the plot. Even where he has to do a little bit of it, he manages to do so in a way that kept me riveted. As I said, this isn’t a finished story yet, so it leaves you hanging at the end.
Verdict: In case it’s not obvious, this is a stellar piece of work. It feels a little odd reviewing an unfinished product, but much like a TV show, Hutch has made it clear that if there’s not an audience for this then it won’t continue. I really, really want this to succeed. As much as I agree with the tagline “The World Needs The 33”, I will say even more loudly that the world needs more fiction by JC Hutchins. I personally want to know what happens next. So I highly recommend that you check this out. For purely selfish reasons.
As I mentioned, this is a product you’re going to have to put down some money on. How much? The e-book for this first part is $1.99 from the major e-book retailers. The audio is available only from Hutch’s site for $2.99. You can get both of them for $3.99 or if you sign up for his newsletter there might still be a discount available. This series is in four parts and that means you’ll pay about $8 for the book or $12 for the audio. I personally think that’s worth it, provided that the quality stays at this level. I have no doubt that will be the case.