Well, as I start my fourth podcast review, I am beginning to believe one of two things: I am always right and nail every single review the same as you would if you had reviewed them yourself, or I haven’t aimed for enough controversy. Knowing that controversy is my middle name, I guess I’ll have to go with the former.
Soon after I found and devoured Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword, I began vigorously hunting down podcast fiction in all shapes and forms. My favorite genre in dead tree format has always been fantasy and science fiction (yes, there IS a difference). In this hunt I stumbled upon Phil Rossi. At the time, he was in the midst of his original fiction podcast Crescent. As soon as I began Crescent, I knew Rossi would be scaring people for years to come.
So, on to the review.
Synopsis (Stolen from the author’s site): Television singing sensation Calvin Hubbard has been caught with his hand in cookie jar. An illicit affair with a contest judge costs him not only the competition crown, but his musical credibility as well. Fleeing the media fallout, Calvin exiles himself to the backwoods town of Harvey, Virginia. With a little solitude and a lot of cheap beer, he plans to write the next great rock and roll album and resurrect his career. But Calvin doesn’t know that a man has just been buried alive in the woods outside of town, and that this quiet murder is just the first in a string of macabre events. As the town goes silently mad around him, Calvin is unable to abandon the record of his dreams. Drunk on inspiration and blinded by an inexplicable lust, he careens headlong into the maelstrom, only to discover that he may be the town’s only salvation. Something is alive in the trees—an ageless, nameless evil—and it’s coming for everyone in Harvey. Now Calvin has to decide whether to run or to stay and fight… if it isn’t already too late.
Production: I have to admit something now. I am jealous of every single podcaster I have reviewed. Each one has shown mad production skills. I might have the skill, but I don’t have the equipment or a single quiet place in my house. Rossi is no different from the other three I have reviewed in this regard. Perhaps his skills as a more than competent musician come into play, or perhaps he has friends that gave great advice, or maybe even he is just a genius. Seriously, I don’t know, but I do know that the production of Harvey would be hard to beat. If you find yourself being convinced to listen to Harvey, the production quality will be a great experience. And before I end the production section, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Zeus Legion. Perfect voice, sets the perfect tone. “Caveat: audieeeence…”
Oh… HARVEY HAS NO “THE STORY SO FAR” …. Just saying. (Yippeee!)
Cast: The cast for Harvey is PERFECT. Of course that could be because it consists of only Mr. Rossi. He has a great speaking voice that is perfect for the narration of this type of story. When listening to Rossi, his voice always reminds me of a mix of Christian Slater and Jack Nicholson. Like I said, perfect for these kinds of stories.
Story: Rossi currently has three fiction podcasts complete. Crescent, a short work called Eden, and Harvey. Of the three, Harvey is by far and away my favorite. Not that I didn’t enjoy Crescent and Eden. I did. However, Harvey provided me with something I’ve never experienced before while listening to a podcast. He truly spooked me. Yeah, I might have been tired. It might even have been because of the noise canceling earphones. I don’t care. Shivers and goosebumps.
“Hey, wait. Never been spooked by a podcast before? Don’t you listen to Scott Sigler?” Yes, I do. I think I’ve listened to every podcast he has ever written/produced and I own the print edition of The Rookie. I enjoy Mr. Sigler’s writing very much, but for me, Harvey is way creepier.
Like any good horror story, I can’t place my finger on the one element that pushed Harvey over the top for me. The characters are solid. The tone of the book constantly works towards placing you in a dark room without the benefit of your security blanket. The reading would raise goosebumps on a slab of marble. Roll these, and many things that I haven’t mentioned, into the equation, and if you like being unnerved, Phil Rossi has a story for you.
Verdict: I don’t think it should surprise anyone when i say Harvey is not minivan friendly. There is sex, violence, attempted rape, murder and a psychotic teenager named Tee (truly scary). There is a palpable malevolence as well. I really wouldn’t recommend this for anyone that doesn’t enjoy being frightened. Harvey isn’t gruesome, blood and guts horror. Harvey plays on your fears of the dark, and the monsters that still live there, no matter how old you are. Keeping that in mind, if you enjoy your horror based on the things that go bump in the night and are better not looked at by light of day, subscribe to Harvey now. They don’t get any better than this.
NEXT: Weather Child by Philippa J. Ballantine