Maria Lectrix Podcast: The Risk Profession by Donald E. Westlake

SFFaudio Online Audio

Maureen O’Brien, of the prolific Maria Lectrix podcast, has wrapped up her reading of Donald E. Westlake’s The Risk Profession. This tale was originally published in the March 1961 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. It was later collected in Tomorrow’s Crimes (a collection of Science Fiction by Westlake). I’m a big fan of all of Westlake’s writing, he’s prolific, and he never disappoints. Here’s the intro teaser for this solid tale…

The men who did dangerous work had a special kind of insurance policy. But when somebody wanted to collect on that policy, the claims investigator suddenly became a member of …

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Risk Profession by Donald E. WestlakeThe Risk Profession
By Donald E. Westlake; Read by Maureen O’Brien
4 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Maria Lectrix
Podcast: November 2008
Provider: Archive.org
In space, you still need insurance investigators. And anywhere there’s people, there’s fraud, theft, and murder. Donald E. Westlake is famous for his mysteries and thrillers. In this 1961 story, he shows us a future that’s got a little sense of wonder and a lot of human nature.
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #012 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #012 – Our sickest show yet. How sick? Well, I’d like Stanley Kubrick to direct the next Conan movie. We also talk about the SFFaudio Challenge #3, which is not as bad as Red Sonja (1985).

Talked about on today’s show:
Fallout 3 has a built-in radio drama (The Adventures Of Daring Dashwood), The Little Book, Selden Edwards, time travel, The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Nelson DeMille, The Border, The Third SFFaudio Challenge, Muureen O’Brien, Maria Lectrix Podcast, The Risk Profession, Donald E. Westlake, Spider Robinson, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee, John Varley, The Persistence Of Vision, Scott Brick, Aural Noir, The Case Of The Dancing Sandwiches, Frederic Brown, The Fabulous Clipjoint, H. Beam Piper, Murder In The Gunroom, Galaxy Press, Elantris, Brandon Sanderson, Dennis Stocks, LibriVox, Masters Of Space, E.E. “Doc” Smith, E. Everett Evans, R.J. Davis, BSAP’s Queen Of The Black Coast, Robert E. Howard, Bill Hollweg, Stevie Farnaby, Brian Murphy, The Silver Key, Brett Ratner’s new Conan movie, HBO’s new A Song Of Ice And Fire show.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #006

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #006 is here. Six is the loneliest number (after 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) dontchanknow. In this our 6th, and sixth loneliest, show we’re asking lonely questions like: ‘If you had to choose a universe without either Ray Bradbury or Neil Gaiman, which would you pick?’ And ‘Which is the worst audiobook recording ever made?’ Pod-in to find out the answers to these and many more exciting questions that nobody asked us.

Topics discussed include:

StarShipSofa’s Aural Delights
, Paul Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith, The Seventeenth Kind, Estalvin’s Legacy, Rebels Of The Red Planet, Charles L. Fontenay, The 2nd SFFaudio Challenge, Parallel Worlds, The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman, The Jungle Book, American Gods, The Fix Online, Audiobook Fix, author read audiobooks, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen King, Robert J. Sawyer, James Patrick Kelly, Good Omens, Terry Pratchett, Neverwhere, Gary Bakewell, if you had to pick…, Stardust, Douglas Adams, Roger Zelazny, The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul, radio drama, BBC Radio 4, BBC iplayer, Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer, The Supernaturalist, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy [the Ivory Coast edition], The Spanish Prisoner, Strange Horizons, Shaun Farrell, From iTunes to the Bookshelves: The First Wave of Podcast Novelists, Podiobooks.com, Nathan Lowell, Quarter Share, Evo Terra, Pavlovian experience, Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake, NPR, Driveway Moments,

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #003

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastGenerally, this is our third podcast. Furthermore, it is a podcast of deep functionality. It’s universal really. Long story short, we talked about stuff. Join us in our secret society [book readers] where I (Jesse) say things like: Dune shot Science Fiction in the head.” and “Why I don’t like Science Fiction movies anymore.” and “You don’t name a king Augustus.” and “I hope the Earth explodes.”

In other words, the podcast’s length is commensurate with a function of your desire to listen to it.

Topics discussed include:

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre, The Zombies Of Dr. Krell, Roger Gregg, The Sonic Society, Radio Drama Revival, Whipping Star, Frank Herbert, Tantor Media, Dune, The Road To Dune, Children Of Dune, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, MP3 to iPod Audiobook Converter, iTunes 8.0, zombies, StarShipSofa, SFSignal.com, Ian McDonald, The River Of Gods, Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake, Stephen King, John Scalzi, Old Man’s War, Anathem, Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, BBC Audiobooks America, Hard Case Crime, Ed McBain, The Lies Of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch, Dragon Page: Cover To Cover, Roger Zelazny, Locus, The Dead Man’s Brother, Robert McGinnis, Glen Orbik, Behind The Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed, Christa Faust, Money Shot, public libraries, secret societies, Podiobooks.com, Evo Terra, The Book Of The New Sun, Gene Wolfe, Grifter’s Game, Random House Audio, The Colorado Kid, Aural Noir, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, I, Robot, I Am Legend, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Fortress Draconis (a book with a king named Augustus), Robert Capa, John Searle, Brian Cox (physicist), IMDB.com

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

Commentary: Very Bad Deaths

Commentary

Science Fiction Audio - Very Bad Deaths by Spider RobinsonScott originally reviewed Very Bad Deaths in May – click here to see it. I finished it myself and wanted to comment:

I finally got a chance to listen to this one! I had a smile tattooed on my face while I listened to Spider spin his SF web. I knew I would be interested to hear this one especially because it is set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, where I live and it is chock full of local details. But after hearing it, and realizing that most people who don’t live in BC probably couldn’t care less about the setting what I really wanted to talk about is something a lot of listeners/readers might have missed that they should care about. Spider Robinson wrote this novel as homage to Crime Writers Of America Grandmaster Lawrence Block. Most SF readers probably don’t know who Block is but they should. Block is a prolific and talented author working in the crime genre. In VBD Robinson uses many turns of phrase that are ones Block uses almost unconsciously in his many stories. Other giveaways include the theme of a horrifically understandable serial killer and a deep and abiding love of coffee. Robinson has done this sort of thing before – his novel Callahan’s Con was an homage to Block’s contemporary – fellow Crime Writers Of America Grandmaster Donald Westlake and Callahan’s Key was inspired by the writings of Robert A. Heinlein. Another neat feature of Very Bad Deaths is that it contains the only reference in fiction to the philosophical writings of Daniel Dennett that I know of – he also manages to tie Dennett’s concepts into the book’s plot.

Spider is currently “collaborating” with Heinlein on a novel titled Variable Star, I hope Blackstone Audio acquires the audio rights to that one and that they get Spider to narrate! Oh and a sequel to Very Bad Deaths is also in the works.