Archive for the Pendant Category

Red Sands Investigations : Pendant’s New Original Series!

Posted in Pendant with tags , on October 20, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

Detective shows always make me feel like an idiot.

Same thing goes for mystery novels; when the plot is unfolding, I think I know exactly what’s going on, and I feel so very clever, but then the resolution comes and everything is revealed and the answer always, always, always ends up in a completely different zip code from my original prediction. Everything seems so simple, too, once they explain it…

Despite my long-lasting petty feud with detective stories, Red Sands Investigations, the promising new mystery series from Pendant audio, was actually a great listen.

The story follows Carla Marley, niece and heir of private detective Jim Marley, who comes to the city of Red Sands to put her uncle’s affairs in order after his death. Instead of selling the property as she had planned, however, she ends up following in her uncle’s footsteps and decides to take over his business. There’s no shortage of opposition, however, especially from Jim Marley’s old competitor, Nick Flint. Interestingly enough, the series is narrated by… Jim Marley, which is strange, considering the fact that he’s dead. Whether this is just a plot device or if its hinting at some supernatural element is yet to be determined.

While the first case covered in the series was a relatively simple matter of suspected infidelity, the writers still managed to throw in a convincing plot twist to keep things interesting. There was plenty of excitement even though the case wasn’t high-profile. I’m looking forward to following future cases, despite my gradually lessening dislike for the genre.

Red Sands Investigations had another aspect which endeared it to me; In most detective shows/novels that I’ve watched/read, it seems like whenever there’s a problem, someone pulls out the Whatever Device or turns on the Magic Problem-Solving Computer Program of Win. Well, this detective agency doesn’t have any of that. Their office doesn’t have a computer, and all of their files are stored on hard copy. When a problem arises, they solve it the old-fashioned way. That made me happy, because while a little technobabble is good for the soul, sometimes it can seem like Convenient Device X is pulled out to solve writer’s block, not the actual case. I’ve done it more than once. So, props to writer/director Fiona Thraille for eschewing the gadgets and going for the good old-fashioned approach.

The first episode, “The End of the Pier Show”, was released on October 12th, and the release date for Episode 2, entitled “Keep it Hidden”, is listed as November 9th. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this show is headed in the future.  

Download Episode 1 of Red Sands Investigations  here , or from iTunes, etc., and enjoy.

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Once Upon a Time in Vegas – Not Your Average Fairytale

Posted in Pendant with tags , on September 26, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

CAUTION: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS. It’s nothing major, nothing you wouldn’t have figured out anyway after a few episodes, but still. Consider yourself warned.

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I want to start out by saying that I hate fairytales…especially the Disneyfied ones. The beautiful princess is rescued from her unfortunate circumstances by a handsome prince, who sweeps her off her feet and carries her away to a happily ever after. Roll credits. Gag me with a fork. My problem with fairy tales is that they’re formulaic. We know how they’re going to end every time. Also, they’re cheesy and largely misogynistic.

That’s why I like Once Upon a Time in Vegas so much. Its different. Its my kind of fairytale…

If I had to describe Vegas in a nice, concise statement, I’d probably say that it takes a few of the classic fairy tales, sticks ’em in the middle of modern Las Vegas, and adds werewolves. And sex. Lots of sex.

There are no fewer than three beautiful princesses, a wicked witch, a fairy godmother (or godfather), seven dwarves, a handsome prince, and a big, bad wolf. Well, several big, bad wolves. In short, Vegas has all the standard elements of a classic fairytale, but the way the story plays out is anything but ordinary. The handsome prince is a famous actor, the evil witch is the boss from hell, the seven dwarves are college students, and the big bad wolf is… ok, the big bad wolf is literally a big bad wolf.

Vegas tells the story of Chloe Ashton, Teri Snowdon, and Tessa Woodsman. (Yes, note the names. Names are significant here. I’ll get back to it later.) They all work for a Vegas ad agency called Premier Advertising, and their boss is an evil witch named Ginger. Chloe, one of Ginger’s secretaries, is engaged to be married to a first-class bastard named Jason, who has an accent but no common courtesy. She dreams of finding someone ‘real’ and having a permanent relationship, but is very shy and has low self-esteem. Teri is definently the oddest of the three; her position in the company is more or less equal to Ginger’s, so she’s less afraid of her and therefore takes more chances… for example, having a crush on and ultimately dating Danny, one of Ginger’s boy-toys. Then there’s Tessa, who has a cynical view of the world and a worse than cynical additude towards men and relationships.

I mentioned werewolves.

Even though the word has never actually been said in the show (so far), the truth becomes extremely evident in the first few episodes or so. I’d like to go on a great big rant here, but instead, I’ll say that in my opinion every fairytale would be improved by the addition of werewolves, and pretty much anything in general would be improved by the addition of David Ault. That is all. In short, yes, there are werewolves in Vegas, and at first, it might be difficult for the listener to determine which one of them is actually bad news.

That brings me to my next point. Nothing in Vegas is what it seems. A character might appear one way, but have a motive or personality that is completely different to the one they display at first glance. Or, they might actually be just as evil/nice as they appear. Also, everyone is connected. All the character are either working together, sleeping together, hating eachother, or all three. It’s all twisty, like Charles Dickens’ novels.

Speaking of which, (this is a brilliant segue, just watch), Vegas has one more thing in common with the works of Dickens: The names of the characters reflect, to some extent, their personalities…or at least the fairytales they’re influenced by. For example, theres Chloe Ashton (the Cinderella character), Teri Snowdon (the Snow White character), and last but not least, Tessa Woodsman. (the Red Riding Hood character.) Also, I’m pretty sure that Phillip, the Handsome Prince character in Vegas, shares a name with the prince from Sleeping Beauty. But I’ve never seen that movie, so I wouldn’t know.

Ok, I think I’ve covered just about everything now. Oh, one last thing: the music. I love Vegas’ main theme… and it’s very catchy. My question of the day is: Can I download it, and where?

So, that’s the long delayed (sorry!) review of Pendant Audio’s Once Upon a Time in Vegas. It has an amazing cast, a compelling, addicting storyline. Forget the saying “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”, because this is definently a podcast to tell your friends about… just, not your younger, impressionable friends, because it is R-rated.

My final words of advice: Listen after the credits on Episode 5. I can’t tell you why, because it would spoil the surprise. Just do it.

Click here to enjoy Once Upon a Time in Vegas, or, as usual, get it from iTunes!

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Next Up: Review of Lost Frontier Episode 15: The Valiant, Part 2!