Podcast Review #112: Compensating Controls

Title: Compensating Controls
Author: James Keeling
Genre: Action Thriller
Released: completed 17 December 2011
Located: PodiobooksiTunes, Author’s Site
Formats Available: podcast only
Rating: R for violence and adult language

I have no idea how long I’ve followed Mr. Keeling on Twitter (@synapticjam), but it has been quite a while. I don’t listen to every story that I know the author of. Not even close. However, I usually read the synopsis, and if the story looks like it might interest me, I’ll give it a try. Having a background in technology, and as a network administrator, Compensating Controls piqued my interest.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Nicholas Edgwood rides a wave of good karma–a job he excels at, a new girlfriend, and a bright future. When he gets framed for a cyber-crime he did not commit, he must run for his life while his entire world crumbles around him.

Betrayal and murder replace peace and hope as he finds himself in unfamiliar territory. He may not be the biggest and baddest guy out there, but he has skills, the kind garnered from a career steeped in computers and code. Now he must leverage these skills to their fullest to stay above ground and breathing. It will take all of his talent, and courage he may not have, just to survive. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: I subscribed to Compensating Controls through Mr. Keeling’s own site. I do this quite often because I am not a patient person, and when an author posts to their own site, it often goes up more quickly. That being said, I know that when I subscribe through an author’s site, I might get a bit of chatter or other things that I might or might not want. This is definitely true with Mr. Keeling’s site. I didn’t mind the chatter, but it is definitely there.

Of much more notice is the change around episode seven or eight where Mr. Keeling begins using sound effects to a much greater extent. Truthfully, I don’t remember them at all before Pons makes .. well, that would be a spoiler, but when you hear what I’m talking about, believe me you’ll know. I would recommend all authors try to decide whether they will be using sound effects or not before they begin a podcast. I appreciate consistency.

That being said, Mr. Keeling does a nice job of constructing his episodes, and overall I think most listeners would feel the soundtrack enhanced the story.

*possible spoiler – However, there are several scenes of brutality that I really could have done with fewer effects.

Grade: B-

Cast: Compensating Controls is done as a self read, and Mr. Keeling does a decent job with it. All of the characters were given unique voices and characteristics and Mr. Keeling did a good job in keeping each one unique.

Grade: B+

Story: Compensating Controls is a geek story written for an audience needing a minimal (to no) geek background. The characters were pretty believable and the plot, well, I’m afraid things like this happen much to often. And no, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Grade: B

Verdict: I enjoyed Compensating Controls. I think Mr. Keeling did an excellent job for his first podcast and, I believe, first novel. Would a solid external editor improve it? Of course. Will you receive many hours of enjoyable entertainment the way it is? I did.

Disclosure: As I mentioned previously, I do following Mr. Keeling on Twitter and count him one of the “good guys” out there. However, I was not paid, bribed, or prodded to provide this review.

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