The Seventh Key

This was a wonderful story with an ending that didn’t quite bring it home. Without going into too much detail, the “what really happened” ending felt overly complex for the sake of being complex, rather than to enhance the story. Twists are a great tool for short stories, but audio seems to hardest medium to tell this kind of story. It can be done well, as in Alone in the Night.

The ending aside, this story hooks you right from the beginning. If you’re a writer, then hearing the protagonist struggle with trying not to rehash the same old stories will hit a cord deep inside and give you immediate rooting interest. Even if you’re not a romance author, like Ms. Applegate in the story, the problems she’s going through are ones which ring true for all fiction writers. If you aren’t a writer, it still gives an interesting insight into the thought process of the average writer.

That alone is worth the price of admission: time.

4/5 Stars

Trophy Case

A tale from 19 Nocturne Boulevard, “Trophy Case” is a story of extremely dark and graphic detail. Depending on who you ask, it’s a bit too graphic. That’s the camp I considered myself to be in while listening to this story. I’m all for a dark tone, but this just pushed it over the line. On the subject of dark tones in stories, this one takes the prize. I suppose it’s a good thing, because I did cringe a lot while listening. Again, it depends on who you ask.

One of the few positives about this story is that the pacing kept me interested in what was going to happen next. However at the end, I felt let down and that I’d been dragged over nails and broken glass to reach an unsatisfactory conclusion.

The characters in the story, aside from the american, are total misogynists. The characteristics border on stereotypes. The german and italian will do anything to win. However in order to win, they have to keep a women alive and the story and the characters treat them like objects—trophies if you will. They’re expendable. If one dies, simply get another seems to be a common theme in the story. I know this is based on a story written a while back, but I don’t see why anyone would want to retell this tale in our current society.

I’m usually not one for giving negative reviews, but when the cons are the ones that stand out the most, it’s hard to ignore them.