Podcast Review #69: Bone Machines

Title: Bone Machines
Author: John Dodds
Genre: Psychological Murder Thriller
Released: 20 January 2011 – 15 February 2011
Located: PodiobooksiTunes
Formats Available: podcast, ebook, paperback
Rating: R for violence, adult situations, drug use

When I started these reviews a little over a year ago (yes, it really hasn’t been much more than that), my primary goal was to help people find a work of podfiction they would enjoy. People along the way have commented along the lines of ‘thank you for listening to that so I didn’t have to’. Regular readers of this blog know that from time to time I ask for recommendations. Recently however, I’ve had a few requests to listen to something that the requester hasn’t listened to in order to provide that “screen”. Not long after the first of the year, our friend Katharina Maimer asked if I would mind taking a listen to Bone Machines. Now, I suspect she had alternative motives as those of us who know her know she has a thing for Scottish accents. Be that as it may, I decided to give it a try, and since I don’t have an overabundance of reviews in the “crime novel” category, I felt it would provide a nice counterbalance to the rest of the reviews.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: They suffer for his art…

When a number of women are reported missing in Glasgow, the spectre of a previous spate of unsolved disappearances in the city rears its head.

Journalist Ray Bissett is drawn into the case when his daughter joins the ranks of the missing. And ambitious police detective Tom Kendrick won’t let Ray forget a terrible incident from his past which resulted in the death of a young boy.

Damaged lives and dark secrets…

The streets of Glasgow haunted by the ghosts of the missing…

And an artist driven by a deadly inspiration. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: The production of Bone Machines had the potential to rank in the A category. Unfortunately it failed. In some episodes there were multiple repeated lines. If there is one thing that can take me out of “the moment” in a story, it is repeated lines. Mr. Dodd did note that he had corrected these later on, and I will take his word for it that he did and not count them against him. One of the things an “early” listener must accept is that in some ways we are beta listeners. At least that is how I feel. If the author/producer cares enough about the product to go back and “fix” these errors even after release, I’m inclined to be a bit forgiving. At least I am today.

However, the mediocrity of the production doesn’t end there. There is an obvious audible difference in certain spots where lines have been edited in and other places where artifacts are plainly heard from the author’s recording environment.

Again, this production is far from “bad” and in most places it is good. Overall, with the areas noted above countered by the mostly good, induces me to score Bone Machines as average.

Grade: C

Cast: Bone Machines is a straight read by the author, Mr. Dodd. If you are not Scottish and have trouble understanding a Scottish accent, you might as well not even give Bone Machines a trial listen. Of course, I also don’t want to hear your complaints in this regard. We’re all products of the area we were raised. Personally, I found Mr. Dodd’s voice quite pleasant and as the story takes place in Scotland, his reading was entirely appropriate and added value. Mr. Dodd did not try to differentiate the voices overly much, and it was unnecessary as his written/read cues were quite sufficient to easily understand which character was speaking.

Grade: A-

Story: One of the reasons I haven’t reviewed a plethora of crime stories, is they’re not my favorite genre. I’ve read my share of Sherlock Holmes and other “great detectives”, but I classify those as mysteries, not necessarily crime novels. The first chapter of Bone Machines inclined me to believe it was going to be torture porn (i.e. The Saw franchise). I endeavored to listen to two more eps before I gave up, as I really detest torture porn. The second episode got away from the shock value of the first and allowed me to start enjoying the story so I followed it all the way through.

There were several areas of the story that I think suffered from continuity errors. Twice information was provided on the varying technique of stripping flesh from bone, and each time it was presented as if new. The “big reveal” I had figured out before hand, though I’m not entirely sure Mr. Dodd didn’t have it planned for the reader to do so.

Grade: C

Verdict: Though I might have seemed to have been a bit harsh here or there in the above, Bone Machines is one of the better examples of crime fiction I’ve heard on Podiobooks. It was graphic in places and probably isn’t for everyone. I suspect if your a fan of Silence of the Lambs, Bone Machines will be right up your alley.

Disclosure: I do not follow Mr. Dodds on Twitter and I don’t believe he follows me. I’ve never entered into a conversation with him and was provided with no incentive by the author to provide this review. Not even a picture of a highland coo.

Comment Pages

There are 6 Comments to "Podcast Review #69: Bone Machines"

  • MickB says:

    Thanks for the review, I’m not a big fan of crime novels either, but I might just check this out anyway to compare accent strength and impact on review scores. If need be I’ll start collecting those coo pictures in preparation for the day SOS is complete 😉

  • I was afraid Mick wouldn’t let me listen to it cause of the competition… 😀
    Thank you for the review and I might just check it out anyway.

    And rest assured, I already got tons of Coo pics, and if Mick steals one to bribe you he has to sleep on the couch!

  • John Dodds says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. I agree the audio could probably do with some more work, and well spotted on some continuity things, especially the flesh-stripping description. I will go back over that. However, I’ve got too many other projects on the go right now to spend more time on Bone Machines. But I hope to return to it sometime. I was pleased, though, that Bone Machines was listed 3 in the top ten most popular downloads (just below Scott Sigler’s latest books). If anyone wants to be a follower on twitter, I am @jakk54. My second novel, Kali’s Kiss, is written, being edited now, and a third book almost complete. An anthology of my short stories, Dr. North’s Wound and Other Stories is out from lulu.com and smashwords.com. People can also catch some of my short work on the podcasts starshipsofa.com, crimewav.com and pseudopod.org. Thanks again – John

    • odin1eye says:

      Hi John! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I always appreciate authors dropping by. Thanks for contributing to the Podiobooks and pod fiction communities. As a consumer, I say thanks. Hope I helped you gain a few new listeners!

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