Friday, September 16, 2016
There is a short story I like a lot called "Second Game Counts" where the con man always loses the first game and bets low to see how the guy played, only to bet more once he can 'really' play the game. I thought I had read and enjoyed and reviewed High Midnight before.
Boy was I wrong.
I got SO much more out of the audio book it wasn't even funny. The characters are so much richer, the voices make the characters come alive, and the prose is majestic and beautiful. Let's start with the first delta here, award nominated Bernard Setaro Clark really makes this thing sing. He knows the characters, and makes each of them have a distinct narrative voice while maintaining the third person limited view point that is fictional standard these days. His voice is clear, nuanced and interesting; except when it needs to be something else. The timing is perfect, and the mixing (done by Grayson Bergman) is perfect because the mixing never gets in the way.
But there is just as many props to be given to Rob Mosca here. It paints visual pictures that paint an urban legend that becomes a grind house seventies Texarcana Majesterium of the absurd. Chimps, Clowns, Zombies (well....ghouls), Carnies, Drunkards, Mexican Wrestlers, Ghost Hookers....hell...the only thing he didn't cram in were Robots, Pirates and Ninjas...and those are likely waiting for the sequel. The action is highly interesting, realistic but also cinematic at the same time. You can feel yourself walking amongst the dilapidated dump that is Unity Texas and empathize with how completely over matched and fucked they are.
The story follows tropes of the "grade B" action genre; something you might see on the Syfy night movie (ala 'Sharknado') but manages to go all Hemingway with depth and thematic richness at the same time. It's carnival sideshow circus with Tolstoy ground into the chili so you don't even know you're tasting it until its done.
In short, if you get a chance, listen to the damn thing. Better, read it, then listen to it and get the '3-D Imax Directors Direct Neural Link' cut that I got the second time around.