Title: Matters of Mortology
Author: T.M. Camp
Genre: classic thriller
Released: 22 June 2008 – 9 August 2008
Formats Available: Podcast, Dead Tree, Ebook, Matters of Mortology [Free PDF] (click the link to download)
Rating: PG13 for mature thriller content
I am always looking for good stories to listen to. I admit, like many of you, I’m more inclined to listen to something from an author I’ve previously enjoyed than I might be to listen to something from an unknown. I recently did a call for new material on Twitter and T.M. Camp (@tmcamp) dm’d me wondering if I’d heard Matter of Mortology. I hadn’t, but I do own the novella, and was eager to hear it.
So, on to the review.
Synopsis: When a village falls under the spell of a mysterious creature, the local undertaker is called upon to defeat the monster — even if it means sacrificing his family and his faith. Written and read by the author, with music composed by Devin Anderson.
Production: Mr. Camp does a great job with the self read. At least in my opinion. He might be a little too calm for some listeners taste, but it suits his stories perfectly. His recording studio is a bit echo-y as well. Which, depending on what I was listening to, might also bother me some. However, with the type of reading Mr. Camp does, it puts me in the frame of mind of listening to an author in an auditorium reading, or telling, their story from the stage. Suffice it to say, I liked this allusion and the production worked for me.
Cast: Mr. Camp does a straight read, and he does a stellar job at it. I have a feeling he has spent many an hour sitting beside a child’s bed and has probably heard, “No daddy, say it like you did LAST time.” He doesn’t go crazy with voices, but he does do a good job and I once again find myself luxuriating in a straight read well done. (To be honest, this was written for a previous review for Mr. Camp’s previous story (see review 34: Assam and Darjeeling), but it is still the truth and I doubt I could say it much better now than I did then.)
Story: Matters of Mortology struck a note with me. Let me just say that from the beginning. It is a novella, and is only four episodes long. However, the first two eps are over an hour and the third and fourth come close, so it isn’t too short to really enjoy the characters that Mr. Camp crafts. And crafts he does. The style of this book might not be for those that like a fast moving dialogue driven story. One of the reasons I liked this story so much is that it put me in mind of many of the Russian stories I’ve read. Mr. Camp made me feel like I was once again pouring over the words of Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov where the story is told by the author with minimal dialogue rounding out the scenes. Mr. Camp didn’t have to do many voices in his reading, because there is little dialogue in this book. Not something I would encourage many authors to try, but Mr. Camp pulls it off with aplomb.
Verdict: Again, I really enjoyed this story. It is a simple tale, and the big reveal is not even treated as such, with the author expecting his readers/listeners to have figured it out ahead of the protagonist. The story is told in the first person and it works very well for this type of tale. While I know that the rule of 4 is often quoted in figuring out whether you will like a story, I think you’ll be able to tell within the first 30 minutes. If for some reason you’re not a fan of Mr. Camp’s voice, he has provided the .pdf for free, and you can download it from above.
Disclosure: I’ve no idea how long I’ve followed Mr. Camp on Twitter. He is a quiet fellow that doesn’t blather on in my stream. Which is unfortunate, because I feel his tweets add much to that stream. I strongly believe his stories deserve more notice than they have received to date.