Podcast Review #44: Jack Wakes Up

Title: Jack Wakes Up
Author: Seth Harwood
Genre: Detective
Released: 6 September 2006 – 14 December 2006
Located: iTunesPodiobooks, Author’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast, Dead Tree version, electronic version
Rating: R for sexual content, language and violence

I have mentioned several times during the course of these reviews that it was late 2007 that I became a huge fan of podiofiction. Before that, I was all ready listening to podcasts, including fiction magazines and OTR recycled serials, but I really didn’t make the jump to original novels until that winter. I originally found all of my content through iTunes (it’s just easier for my workflow) and only found out through Podiobooks through those author’s that cross posted through both iTunes and Podiobooks. (I am very glad that Evo and company now post to iTunes directly.)

Regardless, Jack Wakes Up is one of those works I found on my own and knew nothing about going into. I had recently been going through a detective phase in my reading and doing all the old Bogart detective flicks, so I took a chance.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: In the three years since Jack Palms went clean: no drugs, no drinking, no life, he’s added fourteen pounds of muscle, read 83 books, and played it as straight as anyone can ask him. Now, when an old friendfrom L.A. calls, he hits the streets of San Francisco to help a group of Czech drug buyers make one big score, a single drug deal that he hopes will set him up for life.

But when people start turning up dead, and an old nemesis on the police force calls, Jack finds himself with just 24 hours to track down San Francisco’s biggest drug supplier or face charges that will put him behind bars.

Only an Oscar-caliber performance will get him through this alive. (stolen from the author’s site)

Production: If it wasn’t for the fact that occasionally, someone really blows the production, I’d almost be tempted to leave this category out. However, since that rare occasion exists, I’ll continue to leave it in for now. Thankfully, Jack Wakes Up is not that exception. Mr. Harwood does a fine job of producing this podcast and creating a product that is easy to listen to.

Cast: Mr. Harwood sticks with the straight read for his Jack Palms Novels. He is a fairly effusive writer and imbues his characters with plenty of personality. His reading style is not going to be for everyone, and his voice my irritate some (on the other hand, I’m sure both are going to appeal to many). I was listening to several podcasts at the time and admit that I did intersperse episodes from several for that exact reason.

Story: This is not speculative fiction. The synopsis pretty much says it all. It is pretty much a murder mystery where the protagonist is Jean Claude Van Damme minus the accent, martial arts skills and physique. This is not a bad thing however, and the story gets right to the point and continues to move along at a good clip. Eastern European Drug Dealers? Check. Slimy friends? Check. Betrayal? Check. Lots of bullets? Check. Fast cars? Check. This is clearly an action story and it doesn’t really try to be anything else. I can appreciate that.

Verdict: I always review individual books. There have been several times when I’ve been tempted to review a series, but I’ve always decided that that isn’t fair to the listener, as a series always differs in some way over the course of the series. The author changes mics, or the music for one book is jarring. Something. Always something.

Jack Wakes Up is the first story in a series. It definitely stands alone, and for that I’m grateful. I hate it when I listen/read something that is the first in a series but can’t stand on it’s own. Of course, maybe that is just me. I enjoyed getting to know Jack in this story and it encouraged me to listen to the rest of the series. Of course, literary “friends” sometimes move away and you aren’t sad to see them go, but that’s for another review.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, action oriented, crime drama, you really couldn’t do much better than Jack Wakes Up. If you don’t like the author’s style or voice, feel free to purchase it as it was published by Three Rivers Press, a subsidiary of publishing giant Random House.

Disclosure: Mr. Harwood has never followed me on Twitter, nor do I follow him. I don’t believe I’ve ever tweeted with him at all. He did not offer me anything in return for this review and no hit squad has yet arrived at my door. However, if a 66 Mustang Fastback Coupe were offered, I admit, I would accept it. Gladly.

Comment Pages

There are 6 Comments to "Podcast Review #44: Jack Wakes Up"

  • Sterling Smith says:

    Considering that to date Seth Harwood is the only author/podcaster that has made me wish to destroy ALL copies of a particular work, I must admit that this makes me consider not completely writing him off and to give him a second chance. We’ll see. No promises.

  • Orion says:

    Another fine review. You are the sole reason I find myself shuffling my queue of podcasts to listen. For that I am torn between gratitude and displeasure. Keep up the good work. Oh, side note, for one who dislikes the use of “The Story So Far” as a vehicle you sure do enjoy recounting your entry into the world you now hold so dear.


    At any point will we see a “Top 10 for 2010” list? Might be interesting to see how you, a respected voice in the medium would rank the past year’s offerings.

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