Title: The Adventures of Alibi Jones
Author: Mike Luoma
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 16 October 2009 – 6 February 2010
Located: Podiobooks, iTunes
Formats Available: podcast
Rating: R for violence, extreme language, adult content
Quite a while back I reviewed Mike Luoma’s Vatican Assassin. I can’t say I really enjoyed it, though I understood why the many that disagreed with me did. Recently, Mr. Luoma queried whether I’d be willing to give his follow up series a shot. Will it do any better?
On to the review.
Synopsis: Science Fiction Adventure in the year 2135! Alibi Jones, a Mediator for the Solar Alliance, is on the trail of alien kidnappers. He’ll soon discover that dangers thought long-dead are still very much ALIVE!
This stand-alone sequel (of sorts) to The VATICAN ASSASSIN Trilogy takes place 23 years after the events in VATICAN ABDICATOR. New readers will have no trouble jumping in, while those who enjoyed the first trilogy will meet old friends, new characters, and new alien races and civilizations! Alibi Jones is the son of BC- Bernard Campion – the Vatican Assassin. He may be a “chip off the old block”, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it… (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)
Production: Mr. Luoma does a fine job with the production of his stories. The sound isn’t too hot, but still has plenty of volume. I don’t notice any artifacts in his recording environment and his sound isn’t overly compressed. There was a repeated line or two (which is disturbingly common), but nothing that should bother the subscribed listener.
Cast: Mr. Luoma continues to do his stories as self reads. If you’re a fan of over the top, ebullient, extremely enthusiastic co-workers at 8:00 on a Monday morning, you’re sure to enjoy his readings. That being said, in my memory of Vatican Assassin holds true, he has actually toned it down a notch. I will not grade any author or reader too harshly because I’m not a fan of the “style” of the presentation, however, and Mr. Luoma does a fair job of differentiating his characters by using vocal cues.
Story: Maybe I’m maturing as a listener/reader. Maybe Mr. Luoma is maturing as a writer. Maybe both. Maybe something else. However, I did enjoy this story quite a bit more than his previous effort. That doesn’t mean I have no issues, but I did find the story tight and all of the many pieces fit in their (respective) slots well.
Verdict: Let me state from the outset, I still hate 3rd person present narrative. If I’d wanted to read a screenplay, I’d have read a screenplay (and no, I don’t know if screenplays are written in 3rd person present, it just feels that way). It came as an epiphany to me that the main reason I dislike this style so, is it continually makes me feel like i’m being “told, not shown” what is going on. I literally do not visualize these stories like I do every other style. I realize that probably makes me unique (read that as weird).
Now, setting that gripe aside, well, I’m still not through complaining. Mr. Luoma doesn’t tell one story in The Adventures of Alibi Jones. He tells two. And really, they seem to be two mostly unconnected stories. One is a love story, the other a traditional scifi action adventure. The good news is, I really enjoyed them both. I kept waiting for them to draw together, but surprisingly (to me), they never did. I recommend that you don’t let this stop you from listening to this one if you haven’t yet. If you can get around 3rd person present, and like an ebullient reading, this is a pretty straight forward enjoyable story.
Disclosure: I do follow Mr. Luoma on Twitter and have had a very few conversations with him. I was asked to consider listening to more of his work. I am not hesitant to say that I stick by my first review, but feel that The Adventures of Alibi Jones deserves to be listened to on its own merits. If you can get by the 3rd person present (I really do hate it).