Tag Archives: thriller

Review – The Black by Paul E. Cooley (E-book)

Black_paperback_for-print-sml1 My friend Paul Cooley has a new book out. Unlike his previous books, this one is not self published. It’s put out by Severed Press, a fine purveyor of books like Jake Bible’s Z-Burbia series. I’ve been watching his process and it’s very interesting. He wrote the book this year and it actually got published THIS YEAR. I’ve more to say about that, but it needs to be a separate post. On to the review!

Under 30,000 feet of water, the exploration rig Leaguer has discovered an oil field larger than Saudi Arabia, with oil so sweet and pure, nations would go to war for the rights to it. But as the team starts drilling exploration well after exploration well in their race to claim the sweet crude, a deep rumbling beneath the ocean floor shakes them all to their core. Something has been living in the oil and it’s about to give birth to the greatest threat humanity has ever seen.

“The Black” is a techno/horror-thriller that puts the horror and action of movies such as Leviathan and The Thing right into readers’ hands. Ocean exploration will never be the same.”

The Goods – This is a book that is both like and unlike Paul’s previous books. Why is this a good thing? It shows his breadth and depth as a writer. This book proves that he can do a fairly straight forward monster tale (which this is) and bring his own flavor to it. It’s more “marketable” than his other works. Not to say that it’s better or worse, it’s just a bit more accessible than alt history/horror or Muppet VIOLENCE. His writing here is also a little tighter than usual, which is a requirement more of the genre. If he has continued success with this series and other books with Severed, it will hopefully bring more folks into the fold who will discover his edgier books. That’s a win-win.

The Black takes a few chapters to get warmed up to the level of action and violence a book like this needs, but it’s never boring. The characters are well fleshed out, especially for a book in this genre, and the monster is spooky without us knowing a damned thing about it. Once it does get going it doesn’t let up. There’s not a wasted bit of prose anywhere in here.

The Bads – Yeah, there aren’t any. I really can’t find a single damned thing I would change about this book. Except maybe to put my name on the cover.

Go buy this thing! It gets five and a half out of five tentacles from me. Yeah I can do that. It’s non-Euclidean or something.

Paul’s Site
Paul’s Twitter

Three Questions For Ed Talbot

I’ve enjoyed Ed’s writing ever since I listened to New World Order. I’m not ordinarily into political thrillers, but I dig these. Today I want to bring the thriller novel “Alive From America,” book two in the Terrorist Chronicles series to your attention. Then we’ll get into the questions.

Forget bin Laden and Sadaam. Forget the Taliban and al Qaida. The real battle against terrorism is in the shadows, fought in places you’d never expect. The most dangerous terrorist in the world is the one you’ve never heard of.

FBI agent James Robb has learned that all too well. After evading capture in the mountains of upstate New York, the terrorist known to the government as The Warrior has disappeared. Then a series of attacks rocks the nation, attacks not on symbols or the government, but on the basic activities of American life. Politicians scramble for positioning, the media looks for an angle, and ordinary Americans just try to protect their own.

The only solution is to catch the Warrior. But every potential ally has an agenda, and Robb has no idea who to trust. His worst fear is that when the time comes to finally pull the trigger, he will be aiming at a familiar face.

1) I’ve read some of what you’ve written and enjoyed it. One of the keys to writing a good thriller is to keep the tension ratcheting up. How do you accomplish that as a writer?

There are a lot of ways to keep tension building, and in fact most genres have tension. Like most thriller authors,
we use several different methods of creating tension. These include:
-High stakes. As the story proceeds, the reader needs to feel like the characters are engaged in something which could have a significant impact. Some thrillers, such as psychological thrillers, make this impact very personal. In our thrillers, we’re focused more on the general. In New World Orders and 2012, the protagonists were attempting to stop the antagonists from bringing about the end of the world.
-Uncertainty. This is where mysteries have significant overlap with thrillers. In a mystery the uncertainly about the clues and the perpetrator(s) is the defining characteristic of the genre. In a thriller, the uncertainty is specifically used to ratchet up the tension. Will the fireman be able to save the baby in the burning building? Many of our books specifically use the concept of “long odds.” to keep the uncertainty high. If all the world’s governments are conspiring to do something, what hope could any one protagonist have to stop them?
-Uniquely positioned protagonist. No one except the protagonist is able or willing to do what needs to be done to stop the destruction from happening. The tension is higher if the reader knows that the characters jumping off the page are the only hope.
-Conspiracy and blending fact/fiction. Our thrillers have a lot of conspiracies in them. A conspiracy done right adds to both the uncertainty and the long odds. Adding events or ideas the reader knows about outside of the story – for example the Kennedy assassination – makes the reader identify more with the story and wonder how the reality will tie into the fiction.
-Kill off important characters. Most standard thrillers don’t actually do this, but horror thrillers do. In our books, we want the reader NEVER gets comfortable with the idea that a character is sure to survive. It is a difficult balance, and we don’t usually kill of the main character. But it keeps the reader guessing.
-How the story unfolds. Bringing about the end of the world and preventing a terrorist strike are both common themes. Uncertainty exists in every book. A book could have all of the elements we just mentioned and not be a good story. The glue that all binds it together is HOW the author uses these devices. This is where the talent of the individual author comes out. Robert Ludlum, the father of the modern conspiracy thriller, did it with a sledgehammer. His characters are constantly reacting with exaggerated drama. And it works. We take somewhat the opposite approach. While the actual events may happen quickly or be violent, we try to keep the language we use to describe them and the vehemence of the internal dialogue of the characters relatively subdued. The contrast, when done right, can cause the reader to feel tension at a deeper level than the “in your face” approach.

2) You deal with some very real life situations in your stories. Do you draw inspiration from what’s happening in the world now, or do you try and stay away from that? Why?

Absolutely we draw inspiration from what’s happening in the world now. Climate Change, Terrorism, etc. Current events interest us and they interest readers. We particularly like drawing on conspiracy theories, either directly or by implication. However, one thing we do not try to do is send a message through our stories. We’re not trying to state political opinions or change minds. If messages come through – and of course they do – they are a side effect of the story, not something done with intention. We believe that a good story takes care of itself in that regard.

Which is not to say we’re not aware of the messages. When we write about terrorists attacking soft targets and show how the politicians and the population react, we’re obviously making observations which could be construed as political. But our sole purpose is to tell a good story.

Our answer is has strayed from your original question a bit. To bring it back and summarize, using real life situations can make the reader feel more like a stakeholder in the story, and that is always a good thing.

3) What are the unique difficulties in writing fiction that relies to a degree on current events and real world problems?

Heh, that is an interesting one. One difficulty is that the story may become dated. The original version of Alive From New York was written before Osama bin Laden was killed. Without giving away plot points, let’s just say that a little bit of tweaking of the story needed to occur once he was. That’s one of the beauties of self-publishing, as we were able to get revisions published within a couple weeks. These weren’t really fundamental plot changes, and actually the changes wound up improving the story.

Another difficulty is in making things plausible. If we’re making something up out of whole cloth, we have a lot more freedom than if we’re incorporating real events. If it is known that a real world character was in a certain place on a certain date, we can’t put that character somewhere else on that date in our book unless we come up with an explanation for why the official record might be wrong. We’ll have a book coming out later this spring which we can’t reveal quite yet, and that book has quite a few historical references which we had to check and adjust so they couldn’t be immediately disproven. Improbable is fine, but completely impossible is not when it comes to real people and events.

These are non-trivial difficulties, but they are more than balanced by how much we enjoy the stories which are a blend of fact and fiction. And basically our stories are fiction, with the real references only used as milestones and jumping off points for the fiction. Plus, including George H.W. Bush gave us the opportunity to do an impression of him in the podiobook recording.

I want to thank Ed for answering these questions. You can find out more at http://www.edwardgtalbot.com

Edward G. Talbot is the pen name for a collaboration of two American authors:

Ed Parrot lives in Massachusetts and has long been fascinated with turning ideas into written words. Jason Derrig lives in Maine and likes to tell stories, especially about conspiracies. The two authors have collaborated to create a brand of thriller that keeps the stakes high while not taking itself too seriously. Works include:

Killer Ride (coming in 2014)
Alive From America
2012: The Fifth World
Alive From New York
New World Orders
A Funny Pair of Shorts
A Horrifying Pair of Shorts

Callsign: Rook (with Jeremy Robinson)

Review – Mega (Ebook)

Fans of the blog will know that I’ve long been a fan of Jake Bible. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also count myself as his friend. So let’s get on with the review.

There is something in the deep. Something large. Something hungry. Something prehistoric.
And Team Grendel must find it, fight it, and kill it.
Kinsey Thorne, the first female US Navy SEAL candidate has hit rock bottom. Having washed out of the Navy, she turned to every drink and drug she could get her hands on. Until her father and cousins, all ex-Navy SEALS themselves, offer her a way back into the life: as part of a private, elite combat Team being put together to find and hunt down an impossible monster in the Indian Ocean. Kinsey has a second chance, but can she live through it?

I love, love, love giant sharks. The thing I love even more than that are stories that put a rag tag bunch against nearly unbeatable odds. This book is a bit light on the first, but it hits the second nail on the head. There are giant sea critters, make no mistake, but most of that action takes place later in the book. The focus is largely on the interpersonal relationships and some epic military action. I was a little disappointed that the book, billed as a “Deep Sea Thriller” with a picture of a giant shark on the front, didn’t give the beasts more page time.

With that gripe out of the way, I enjoyed the hell out of this book. There’s a lot of humor of the dark variety on display, as any of Jake’s readers will be hoping for. There’s also some excellent character development. Kinsey, the character mentioned in the blurb, undergoes a very realistic transformation. I enjoyed watching that and getting to know the other members of Team Grendel, the pirate killing, hunters of giant sharks. (If a book that features pirate killing, giant shark hunters doesn’t make you put this on your list, this isn’t the book for you probably.)

The pace moves rapidly. Much of the first half of the book is set up, but it’s entertaining set up. You need to meet these people and get to know them and it’s as much fun as the rest. For all of the fun, this is a gritty book, filled to the gunwales with gore, coarse language, and extreme amounts of gunfire. If that appeals to you then check it out!

I give this book four dorsal fins out of five.

Jake’s Site
Jake’s Twitter
Amazon Kindle Link

Review – The 33 by JC Hutchins (Audiobook)

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.

Grade: B+

Cast:  JC is a quality narrator and brings a unique voice to each character that he portrays. This dramatic reading displays those talents.

Grade: A

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.

Grade: A+

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.

Grade: A

Buy direct from JC’s site.
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Review – Implant by Michael Wallace and Jefferey Anderson (Podcast)

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.

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: C-

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.

Grade: B-

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.

Grade: C-


Review – Sense Memory (Podcast)

sensememamazon I’ve long been a fan of The Roundtable Podcast, so when I heard that Brion Humphrey had a podcast novel out, I was excited to give it a listen. I love thrillers. I felt pretty confident that the story would be good and the reading very good. So how do I feel about Sense Memory? Read on.

Synopsis: If our memory is the thing that shapes and defines us, that informs who we are at our very core, then God help us all…for memory, is a wicked and deceitful wretch. Thrust into a search for his own sister’s killer, Benjamin Cady flees Colorado and the only world he understands to scour the streets of Los Angeles, plagued by headaches and memories of murder. He quickly discovers that L.A. is not unknown to him, and as his memories of his sister’s death become clearer, so does the possibility that Ben himself may be the murderer. Lieutenant Jim Banquer has plenty of bodies, but every witness seems to be suffering from a mysterious form of amnesia. Investigating these deaths means he must piece together the scattered shards of a deadly power scheme that goes well beyond murder, and Ben is the key. Sense Memory is a psychological thriller that weaves an intricate web of doubt and intrigue as it goes, leaving no thread unstrung. A sure page-burner, this story will stay with you long after the smoke clears.

Production: The sound quality is excellent. The music chosen for the intro is appropriate. I didn’t notice any flubs or repeats.

Grade: B

Cast: Brion provides all of the voices for this podcast. He has a theater background and it shows. His touch with female character voices is light but appropriate. There’s one character voice that jars me out of the story nearly every time its so over the top, but that almost makes sense, since the character himself is also over the top.

Grade: B+

Story: This is the first novel that Brion has put out there for us to savor. It’s a good first outing. The first couple of episodes are setting up the characters. For some people that may make the pace seem a little slow. The last few chapters make up for that apparent slowness.

The characters are fairly well done. In a few cases they threaten to slip into caricatures/archetypes. In one or two cases they fall right into the thick if them. I’m fond of Ben, the protagonist, but the character I would have loved to see more of was Sonia.

I have a couple of gripes with the story. The first and largest is the supernatural/paranormal aspect. I won’t go into detail, but the “power” displayed and how the people who wield it do so are a bit uneven. How they got the power and how they’re connected is also pretty vague. I don’t mind a bit of ambiguity in my story, but if you’re going to do something new in this realm at least a little explanation of what’s going on is appreciated.

My second gripe revolves around point of view. There’s some degree of head hopping going on. That makes some degree of sense given the subject matter. For me it’s a matter of personal preference, but if you’re going to tell a story in third person limited, then save the POV changes for chapter breaks. Don’t do it within the chapter. I would have loved this story strictly from Ben’s point of view.

So, how’s the writing? In a story that’s called “Sense Memory” you can imagine that the role of senses is important. Brion does a bang up job describing things, almost to a fault. This leads to some repetition and that can slow down the pace. That’s something that you don’t want in a thriller. The sensuousness lent it an almost lurid, pulpy feel. I liked that where it wasn’t excessive.

Grade: B-

Verdict: I enjoyed this story, but I enjoyed Brion’s performance more. There were chunks early on where I might have strayed if I’d been reading this. His solid voice acting kept me coming back. I will definitely be coming back when Brion puts out his next works. As I understand there will be more with these characters down the line.

Grade: B

Podcast Link
Amazon Link

Review – Stolen Time by Keith Hughes (Podcast)

stolen_timeToday I’m reviewing Stolen Time, an audiobook/podcast novel by Keith Hughes. You can follow follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/edgizmo.

Synopsis: Ness Relevant has traveled through time before. Now once again he must use his machine to confront a determined foe. Only this time his personal stakes are even higher. Threatened by his future, he must find a way to save his wife and thwart a mad-man’s schemes for world conquest, or he’ll never regain his stolen time.

Production: The recording quality is very good. The music he chose for the intro is fitting.

Grade: B

Cast: Keith does this in a “reader’s theater” style, voicing all of the characters himself. He does a good job, as he did with his prior podcast outings.

Grade: B

Story: This is the sequel to Borrowed Time (click the title for a review I wrote). If you haven’t read or listened to the first story, go check it out. This is more of a thriller with science fiction elements than a true science fiction story. Keith does a good job building tension. Ness and his wife Angie are working together. She’s been kidnapped in the future and her only hope is for her and her husband to save her and for them both to get to the bottom of why she will have been kidnapped. Sound a little confusing? Well it is a time travel story.

Truthfully, though I enjoyed this story, it illuminates some of the problems I have with the whole “time travel” trope. You often end up with a fair amount of confusion in the characters’ efforts to either set the future or past right or prevent a paradox from happening. The listeners are treated with a little more information on how it works in this world, but since Ness isn’t an expert and the only real expert died in the first book, it remains something of a mystery. What’s important to know is that at one point Ness is chasing himself through time and helps himself to save himself more than once.

The drawback to this is the deus ex machina of the PDA is used too often. Ness gets in trouble? So long as he can reach the device he’s okay. The final confrontation in the book is a good example of this and of the confusion that can result. That served to rob some of the tension that the story could have had.

So what helped me to overcome that? Angie. I really enjoyed watching her deal with her husband’s adventures in time from the first book (something she wasn’t privy to) and I like watching her get a little bloodthirsty. I’m a sucker for women who kick butt. Ness wasn’t as well developed of a character in this one as he was in the first book. Maybe the inclusion of Angie as a more active character in the book contributed to that.

Grade: B-

Verdict: There were some definite weaknesses in Stolen Time, but I did enjoy it. If you want some lighter fare with a good dose of action then this might be the podcast for you. It gets moving quickly and if time travel is your bread and butter then add it to your MP3 player today.

Grade: B


Review – Enemy Lines (Podcast)

enemylinescover2 Today I’m reviewing Enemy Lines, an audiobook/podcast novel by John Mierau. His site can be found at http://johnmierau.wordpress.com/ or follow him on Twitter at JohnMierau. This is an EPIC bit of science fiction, both in terms of scope and length.

Synopsis: In the near future, an alliance forged by powerful men will challenge the US government for control of secret technology. As their machinations gear up, the true owners of that technology will face a challenge of their own, deep in the asteroid belt. At stake? The future of the human race. ENEMY LINES is a science fiction adventure about conspiracies, spies…and aliens… in a future where the lines aren’t as clear as you think.

Production: The recording quality is good. I noticed more than a few repeated lines. The intro music is a bit louder than the narration.

Grade: B-

Cast: John does the narration and character voices.

Grade: B

Story: I mentioned that this is a huge story. He’s released the first half of it in ebook form with Subversion and Infiltration. I believe that the final two books will be out sometime this year. It logs in at forty-five episodes that are somewhere around thirty minutes each. It’s packed with political intrigue, action, thought provoking characters, action, thrills, and have I mentioned action? All of that serves (mostly) to keep the story from getting bogged down with its multiple plot lines and points of view. I found John’s take on the typical gray alien tropes to be fascinating. I also enjoyed the concept of the Wrights, human’s who are using alien tech to help humanity.

There were a few character actions and incidents that made me raise an eyebrow. The didn’t interfere with my enjoyment. I say mostly above because there’s a lot going on here. As a result it may be easy to get lost. There were also a few things I was unclear on, particularly towards the end. That could easily be because my listening was broken up by other podcasts I listen to, so that may not be the books fault entirely.

Grade: A-

Verdict: This gets a solid recommendation from me, as do the rest of John’s podcast stories. His strength’s lie in building tension and creating interesting characters. There were also a few chuckles along the way.

Grade: B+

A Thrilling Giveaway

7th son deceit JC Hutchins — mentor, friend, and author — is doing something awesome. He’s giving away a signed print copy of his book 7th Son: Descent if you buy either of its sequels in e-book form. I’ve got my copy of the print book from its first run. So I’m here to do a giveaway of my own.

Drop a comment here. I will choose two people from the comments and buy them a copy of 7th Son: Deceit, the second book in the series. JC will then send you the print copy of the first book. You’ll then have more than enough reason (I hope) to buy the third book. This opportunity evaporates at the close of the old year, 12/31/12 at 11:59:59 PM.

Need a teaser? Here’s the skinny on what the series is about!

As America reels from the bizarre presidential assassination committed by a child, seven men are abducted from their normal lives and delivered to a secret government facility. Each man has his own career, his own specialty. All are identical in appearance. The seven strangers were not born, but grown — unwitting human clones — as part of a project called 7th Son.

The government now wants something from these “John Michael Smiths.” They share the flesh as well as the implanted memories of the psychopath responsible for the president’s murder. The killer has bigger plans, and only these seven have the unique qualifications to track and stop him. But when their progenitor makes the battle personal, it becomes clear John Alpha may know the seven better than they know themselves…

Review – One Way (Podcast)

OneWayCover_Plain_Half Today I’m reviewing One Way, an audiobook/podcast novel by Jeff Lane. You can go to his site here or follow him on Twitter at WriterJeffLane. This book falls into the thriller/sci fi genre, though more the former and less the latter. It deals with time travel but in a way that’s, to my mind, more fantasy than SF.

Synopsis: Barry Griffith doesn’t know it yet, but tonight is the night fate has chosen to be the night of his death… his murder.
At a gas station in the middle of nowhere, late at night, his wife Jenny appears… no car… no coat and looking older than when he saw her last. That’s because this is not the woman he received a good-bye kiss from this morning. This woman has been a widow for over four years and has made an impossible journey back in time to try to stop her husband’s murder.
Will they be able to escape the killers or does fate only have one plan… one possible outcome… ONE WAY?

Production: I listened to most of this over my car stereo (as I’m doing increasingly these days, but it was also in the ear buds. In both cases the audio is clean. I don’t recall any repeats. He uses music that’s appropriate to set mood. Occasionally the volume of the music is much louder than the spoken parts. That made me have to fiddle with volume a bit.

Grade: B+

Cast: Jeff did this as what I think I’ll call a dramatized read. Each character got their own voice, but it was all done by Jeff. Overall he did a good job, though he did an Indian accent that was a little too stereotypical.

Grade: B

Story: There’s a lot of jumping around in this. The story is told from multiple points of view, which for some can be off putting (and not just two or three POV characters). It’s also takes place in multiple timelines. The chapters more or less alternate between Barry in the “now” and Jenny in his future as she prepares to make the trip back in time. That jarred me a little at first, but as both timelines built to their climax, I kinda dug it. As we approached the end, there was one other thing that w rankled me a little. It suffers from the LOTR ending. Jeff ties up every single last loose end. This results in the end chapters being a little choppy and the overall feeling that it drug on. He also plays hard on the “is he dead YET?!?!” thing that you see in more than one slasher flick.

So was it any good? Yes. These few problems aside (and YMMV as to how problematic those problems are), this was a solid story, well told. I do like his vision of time travel, it being a more natural phenomenon. The most fun he has is with the “can you change the past?” question. I won’t give away his answer, but it left me satisfied.

Grade: B-

Verdict: I believe this is Jeff’s first podcast novel. He’s got two more: This Paper World and Crush Depth. I’ll be checking them out in that order. One Way and Crush Depth are available at Podiobooks. I didn’t stray from it once I started listening, though other podcasts beckoned. Well worth checking out.

Grade: B