Podcast Review #75: Vatican Assassin

originally published April 4, 2011

Title: Vatican Assassin
Author: Mike Luoma
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 31 July 2009
Located: PodiobooksiTunesAuthor’s Site
Formats Available: podcast, ebook
Rating: R for violence and strong language

This is another story that had been recommended to me. Again, for one reason or another, I’ve lost the link between the book and the person that recommended. I have had this one sitting on my phone for ages and finally had a chance to sit down and listen.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Bernard Campion, aka “BC”, is an assassin for the Pope, struggling with his work’s inherent contradictions while trying to take care of “business” during an out of control interplanetary religious war in 2109. BC is a killer disguised as a priest of the New catholic Church. His current assignment? Eliminate the Governor of Lunar Prime, the free state on the Moon. BC has no idea this latest assignment will change everything… (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Mr. Luoma does a decent job of the production on Vatican Assassin. As noted in the title, I am reviewing the remastered addition. I have no idea why it was remastered or what issues might have been present in the first. I’ll restate however that the production of the remastered version is pretty good. I think I caught a repeated line or two, but it is hard to tell as the speaking patterns of certain individuals might include a certain repetitiveness. In cases like that, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the author.

However, in a disturbing trend, I’m finding several episode lengths to be much too short. I’ve discussed this before and won’t go in depth here, but I think podcast eps should be at least 20 minutes long. Of course, that is just me.

Grade: A-

Cast: Vatican Assassin is an author read story. Mr. Luoma does his best to read the story with gusto. Perhaps too much. I personally found the continued ebullient voices grating after a while, but your opinion may differ. (If so, you know where the comment section is, right?) The character list for a podcast story was just right and I had no difficulty remembering or tracking characters.

Grade: B-

Story: Mr. Luoma states at the beginning of each episode that Vatican Assassin is the beginning of a trilogy. In his world, this must mean that the first book is basically meant to create multiple open threads and close very few of them. This is exactly what Vatican Assassin does. We follow B.C. around for thirty eps watching him blunder from one storyline to the next without closing any of them along the way.

Grade: C-

Verdict: I personally can not recommend Vatican Assassin. I found the premise of the concept of a unified “Christian” church under the auspices of the New catholic church (small “c” on catholic intentional) to be implausible but very interesting. I also found corruption in the church to the extent where they include a branch of assassins to be novel and clever. (Yes, I know there is probably historical precedent, but that is not what I’m talking about.) In implementation though, I found the story lacking. From the reading to the slapdash antics of the protagonist, I just never grokked this book. One of the things that probably annoyed me the most about this story was the fact that it was written in 3rd person present narrative. “B.C. looks out the door. He turns and looks out the window. He sees nothing and sits in a chair.” (NO, that is not out of the book, it is an EXAMPLE of 3rd person present.) I hated this writing style as it felt to me more like a screen treatment than a book. Again, this might be just me. But it annoyed me badly enough I almost discontinued listening.

I know that many of the story lines will be concluded in the next two books (or believe they would have to be), but this will happen without me. I believe that in any series, at least the first book should be self contained. If the author chooses to make further books mandatory to receive closure, I’d prefer they just roll it into the original book, even if it makes that several hundred thousand words long.

Someone recommended this book to me. What did I miss that would make you recommend it? Give me your side in the comments. Please.

Disclosure: I’ve never tweeted with Mr. Luoma or conversed with him in any other way. I’ve seen him continually putting up new works at podiobooks.com, and for that I thank him.

~ by odin1eye on 13 January, 2020.

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