An interesting premise combined with a great ending, 19 Nocturne Boulevard’s “The Rookie” captures and combines both humor and an emotional gut punch you won’t see coming until it’s too late. The idea of this story is similar to the John Wayne Cleaver series by Dan Wells. Both are trying to humanize the people with no empathy for others. Mr. Wells does it by putting you inside the head of a teenage sociopath who’s struggling with both inner and outer demons. Julie Hoverson, achieves the same effect, but her method is slightly different.
Instead Hoverson uses dark comedy to make us care about these kinds of people. Their sympathetic, not because of their actions, but due to the setting with which the story takes place. The basic setup of The Rookie follows a serial killer in training, who finds an old lady, who just so happens to be a big name serial killer. Interspersed throughout the story are news casts which help inform the listener understand the in between portions. The audio drama is almost an hour long and without this storytelling tool, it would be longer.
The elderly serial killer and the rookie form a special bond, which culminates in an ending that leaves you on the verge of tears. It’s penultimate scene gets you choked up and, by the finale, you’re right there with the main character. Whether the author intended it or not, she gave a twist that was surprising yet inevitable. Serial killers are incapable of empathy. The fact “Doorbell Mike” does something contrary most sociopaths at the end proves he’s not as heartless as he wanted himself and the audience to believe.
Although “The Rookie” didn’t give the same sort of real life revelation as the John Wayne Cleaver books did, it was a surprisingly enjoyable ride, seeing as how the first 19 Nocturne Boulevard audio drama didn’t leave a good impression.