Hey Want To Watch A Movie? Brick

Aural Noir: Online Audio

Brick‘s the first Hey Want To Watch A Movie? podcast commentary track that would fit no-where but squarely in the Aural Noir category. Brick is the 2005 indie film noir flick like no other. This is one of the quietest commentary tracks ever recorded for HWTWAM, we spend a whole lot of the film just watching every scene – still, there is probably some fun to be had in listening to it – if not throw a brick at your TV, not at me.

Hey Want To Watch A Movie? - Brick (2005)Hey, Want To Watch A Movie?Brick
Commentators Christiana Ellis, Mike Meitin, Jesse Willis, Brandon Hill, Mae and Scott Brakeall
1 |MP3| – 2 Hours 12 Minutes [FILM COMMENTARY]
Podcaster: Hey, Want To Watch A Movie?
Podcast: September 11th 2008

Subscribe to the podcast feed via this link:

http://watchamovie.libsyn.com/rss

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake

Aural Noir: Review

Somebody Owes Me Money is book number 044 in the Hard Case Crime library.

Audible.com and BBC Audiobooks America audiobook - Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. WestlakeSFFaudio EssentialHard Case CrimeSomebody Owes Me Money
By Donald E. Westlake; Read by Stephen Thorne
Audible Download (or 6 CDs) – 6 Hours 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America / Audible.com
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780792754534
Themes: / Mystery / Crime / Murder / Humor / Gambling / The Mob / New York /
SAMPLE: |MP3|
Cab driver Chet Conway was hoping for a good tip from his latest fare, the sort he could spend. But what he got was a tip on a horse race; which might have turned out okay, except that when he went to collect his winnings, Chet found his bookie lying dead on the living room floor. Chet knows he had nothing to do with it – but just try explaining that to the cops, to the two rival criminal gangs who each think Chet’s working for the other, and to the dead man’s beautiful sister, who has flown in from Las Vegas to avenge her brother’s murder.

If I’m looking for a fun read, something that entertains on every single page, I can always rely on Donald Westlake. The folks at Hard Case Crime know it too. The only author they’ve published more of than Westlake is Lawrence Block. Like Block, Westlake is a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master – and, they’ve both been writing steadily since the 1950s. This particular novel was first published in 1969, and was released in June 2008 by Hard Case Crime, with it’s awesome new cover art. BBC Audiobooks America, as they’ve are doing with far too few of the Hard Case lineup, has released it as an audiobook.

Westlake says he’s “always had a soft spot” for Somebody Owes Me Money, the novel came to him out of the common introductory phrase, “I bet…” – Westlake figured if a guy was going to say that as the opening lines of a novel, he’d be a gambler, and being a gambler, he’d have a tale of woe. Somebody Owes Me Money is the result. And what a result! This is another classic Westlake “nephew” story.

The hero, Chet, is a poker playing New York cab driver who lives with his retired father. Chet’s a little short of cash right now, so when he’s fairly pissed when an uptown fare stiffs him on the tip. The customer instead only drops him a ‘line on a horse.’ Frustrated, but thinking about it on his way home, Chet decides to give his bookie a call and the horse a shot. The next day, to Chet’s surprise, he ends up winning a bundle on the longshot horse! But, when he goes to collect from his bookie, he finds the guy dead, himself without the cash he’d won, and inches away from being charged with the murder. To clear his good name, collect his winnings and recover his money he’ll not only have to find the murderer, but also keep the cops from knowing he’d been illegally gambling. As the mystery progresses Chet finds himself mixed up with a gun toting moll named Abbie, getting shot in the head by persons unknown and playing a few more hands of poker. This is a fast paced, cleverly plotted mystery with an old time New York ambiance. I loved it.

Narrator Stephen Thorne has a voice and range like that of audiobook hero William Dufris. They share an amiable, lighthearted, voice that makes perfect the narration of first-person light comedy mysteries. In other words, this book. This is a letter prefect reading, bright, shiny, fun, solid. SFFaudio Essential listening.

Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake
Somebody Owes Me Money - Doug Johnson illustration from Playboy, July and August 1969

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favorites #6

Aural Noir: Online Audio

Some of my favorite science fiction freebies have already been picked for the Five Free Favorites feature. Since SFFaudio has recently added Aural Noir reviews, I decided to choose favorites from that genre instead. So, I reached back into the archive of reviews at Free Listens for the best free stories and books from the noir/crime/mystery genres.

Five Free Favourites

1.
Whose BodyWhose Body?
By Dorothy L. Sayers; Read by Kristin Hughes and Kara Shallenberg
Publisher: LibriVox | 13 Zipped MP3s, 6 hr, 31 min [UNABRIDGED]
Lord Peter Wimsey’s mother has telephoned him to get her son to help out her friend Mr. Thipp. Thipp is apparently in trouble with the police over a dead body wearing nothing but a pince-nez who was found in the bathtub of Thipp’s upper-floor apartment. Meanwhile, the family of Sir Reuben Levy has reported Sir Reuben to be missing. Are the two events connected? Is the body Sir Reuben’s? If not, whose body is it?

2.
Bullet in the Brain“Bullet in the Brain”
By Tobias Wolff; Read by T. Coraghessan Boyle
Publisher: New Yorker Fiction Podcast | 1 MP3, 19 min [UNABRIDGED]
The story, in the beginning, is a harsh portrait of a book critic who has lost the joy of literature and instead sees cliches in every novel he reviews. The man is such an ass, in fact, that he can’t help but smirk and heckle in the middle of a bank robbery, exactly when he should keep his mouth shut. In the second part of the story, the plot takes a major turn and we get to see the humanity of the critic. This contrast of putting a comic figure into a serious situation makes the story both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply profound.

3.
A Jury of Her Peers“A Jury of Her Peers”
By Susan Glaspell; read by Cori Samuels
Publisher: LibriVox | 1 MP3, 53 min [UNABRIDGED]
Most mysteries focus on the “who” or sometimes the “how” of a crime. In this story both who and how seem to be apparent from the beginning. The real question is why Minnie Wright would strangle her husband. While the county attorney, the sheriff, and a neighbor search the house for clues, the wives of the sheriff and neighbor are left alone in the kitchen.

4.
The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Read by John Telfer
Publisher: Audiobooksforfree.com
Distributed by Project Gutenberg | 25 MP3’s (download page) 6 hr, 15 min [UNABRIDGED]
This collection includes some of the best Sherlock Holmes stories. A Scandal in Bohemia offers a tantalizing glimpse into what Holmes in love might look like. The Red-Headed League appears in many anthologies and is a great example of an archetypal Sherlock Holmes mystery. While the solution of The Adventure of the Speckled Band appears improbable, the suspenseful storytelling and spooky atmosphere make it easy to see why this was one of Doyle’s favorites.

5.
Thriller“Jack Penny’s New Identity”
By Lee Child; Read by Dick Hill
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Distributed by AudiobookStand | 1 MP3, 37 min [UNABRIDGED]
This story, from the James Patterson-edited collection Thriller, follows factory worker James Penny as he is laid off from his job. Penny rather emphatically cuts off his ties to his old life, catching unfavorable attention from the local police in the process. The direct style of Child’s prose reminds me of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, No Country for Old Men, probably now better known from the movie adaptation. Like that novel, the protagonist is a basically good person who has done something illegal, though without malice.

Posted by Seth

Aural Noir Review of Grifter’s Game by Lawrence Block

Aural Noir: Review

Grifter’s Game is book number 001 in the Hard Case Crime library.

Crime Fiction Audiobook - Grifter’s Game by Lawrence BlockSFFaudio EssentialHard Case CrimeGrifter’s Game
By Lawrence Block; Read by Alan Sklar
5 CDs – 5 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781602834538
Themes: / Crime / Noir / Femme Fatale / Drugs / Murder / Atlantic City /

Con man Joe Marlin was used to scoring easy cash off of gullible women. But that was before he met Mona Brassard — and found himself holding a stolen stash of raw heroin. Now that Joe has fallen hard for Mona, he’s got to pull off the most dangerous con of his career: one that will leave him either a killer — or a corpse.

Before he settled into the comfortable (and profitable) serial novels, starring the characters you love to love, Lawrence Block was writing crime novels. With every turn of the page, you could almost hear the peeling the wallpaper off of even the swankiest of hotel room walls. These are the gritty, acidic, abrasive early novels of Lawrence Block. The characters in these fifty-thousand worders were hardened criminals. Unrepentant, unlovable, more disposable, but ultimately just as magnetic as those who would come later. Block’s first novel (under his own name) featured just one such criminal. Joe Marlin is smooth and hungry. He’s no ageless, cuddly Bernie Rhodenbarr, solving murders between burglaries. He can’t relate the moral greyness that comes from too many years as a cop, like Matt Scudder. And he doesn’t contemplate the American lifestyle whilst planning murder for hire, like Keller. He’s just one low-down and dirty sonofabitch, telling as compelling a crime tale as you’ll ever likely to hear. Marlin’s story was first published by Gold Medal in 1961 under the title Mona. In 1986, it was released as Sweet Slow Death. And most recently it was republished with a third title: Grifter’s Game, this time by Hard Case Crime. Block himself fancied The Girl on the Beach, as the novel’s title. But no matter what name the novel goes by, it’s a fast and dirty, and shoots a strong enough curve to throw even the most hardened of modern readers off their game. At 47 years old it’s still one of Block’s strongest novels.

Reader Alan Sklar grows into the voice of the narrator as Marlin’s plans turn darker. We like his Joe Marlin, he’s clever and slick, he lingers on the details and teases us. The only thing is that Sklar sees it all coming – he knows, he tells us he knows, but doesn’t telegraph, and so, when the killing blow ultimately comes, it doesn’t hit us until we’re too close, until we can really feel it, until we own it. Until we live it.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of Fever by Sean Rowe

Aural Noir: Review

As part of our revival of the Aural Noir label, we’ll be re-running some of our classic (offline) Aural Noir posts, including this “vintage” audiobook review which was first posted in December 2005…

Tantor crime audiobook - Fever by Sean RoweFever
By Sean Rowe; Read by William Dufris
5 CDs – Approx 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1400101778
Sample: |MP3|
Themes: / Crime / Heist / Noir / Thriller / Terrorism / Florida / Cuba / Nautical / Family /

Raw, is probably the best one-word sum up of Sean Rowe’s first novel Fever. Rowe’s prose lacks the polish found in novelists like Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard, but he doesn’t lack what it takes to eventually become worthy of hanging out with these masters, especially if he keeps writing like this!

Fever follows a tight knit group of fuck-ups through their attempt to rob thirty million dollars of stashed drug money from an aging cruise ship plying the waters between Miami and Cuba. The crew, on paper at least, looks like it should be able to handle anything. It consists of an ex-FBI agent Matt Shannon, his step brother (an ex-DEA agent named Jack Fontana), an emergency room nurse named Julia, a former Black Panther, and a South American soldier of fortune. Despite their collective skill set these are all losers in almost every way. Shannon’s past is slowly revealed, working backwards we know that he’s an in-debt alcoholic, with a dead wife, missing an index finger and has a step-brother who is a recently paroled felon. When the step-brother frames Shannon in the sinking of a freighter Matt is half-blackmailed into going along, with a vague desire to somehow help his brother. The rest of the crew are nearly as sad, Julia was an orphan who was sexually abused from a young age. And Jack Fontana is dying after serving his sentence. Even the minor characters have their share of problems…. one passage detailing the last job the mercenary took killing Indians in the jungles of South America is brutal, funny and illustrative of just how unlikely this string will be of pulling off this or any job. The malformed love triangle between Shannon, his brother, and Julia pays off in a tasty neo-noir style. In fact love, brotherly and the other kind is probably at the heart of this story. Fever is extremely enjoyable, the dialogue is crisp and fun, the scenes are imaginative and original. A constant surprise awaits in every chapter. None of it goes exactly according to plan and that makes it all the better to follow. The novel’s few problems seem mostly structural, scene transitions aren’t handled as well as I’d like and despite it being a first person perspective we never really get an idea of what’s going on inside the narrator’s head. This could be a deliberate style on the part of Rowe, as both flaws could be thought to pay off in certain ways later in on the book, but I’m thinking a more seasoned novelist might have been better able to give us everything. I eagerly look forward to reading the next Sean Rowe novel!

Read by the always reliable William Dufris, the first person perspective plays into such classics as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Dufris’ natural timbre doesn’t exactly embody the gravelly voiced loser we imagine as the narrator but his voicing of the rest of the crew is spot on. Men, women, a Colombian drug lord, the string and even minor characters like an aging boxer all sound just like you’d want them to. Tantor Media, an exciting new player in unabridged audiobooks has packaged Fever in a clamshell CD case with leaved pages. The cover is the same as the Little Brown & Co. original and the sound quality is phenomenal. The pricing is extremely reasonable too. I think Tantor is probably the most exciting new big little publisher of the decade!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Transmissions From Beyond – podcasting Interzone, Black Static and Crimewave stories

SFFaudio Online Audio

Transmissions From Beyond - the TTA Press podcastLongtime friend of SFFaudio, Paul S. Jenkins, alters us to the existence of the new TTA Press fiction podcast: Transmissions From Beyond. This podcast gets its stories from the pages of three TTA Press magazines:

Interzone (Science Fiction and Fantasy), Black Static (Horror), and Crimewave (Crime and Mystery). Their launch this month includes one story from each magazine! Check em out…

A Handful Of Dust by Ian R. FaulknerA Handful of Dust
By Ian R. Faulkner; Read by John Berlyne
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Transmissions From Beyond
Podcast: August 2nd 2008
From Crimewave #9: Transgressions.


Lady Of The Crows by Tim CassonLady Of The Crows
By Tim Casson; Read by Paul S. Jenkins
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Transmissions From Beyond
Podcast: August 2nd 2008
This story was published in Black Static #1.


The Algorithm by Tim AkersThe Algorithm
By Tim Akers; Read by John Berlyne
1 |MP3| – 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Transmissions From Beyond
Podcast: August 2nd 2008
From Interzone #212.

And, upcoming podcasts will include stories from authors: Greg Egan, Marion Arnott and Mercurio D. Rivera. Subscribe to the podcast via this feed:

http://www.transmissionsfrombeyond.com/feed

Posted by Jesse Willis