Friday, December 30, 2011

#123 The Three Musketeers (BBC)

Athos, Porthos, Aramis are sworn to protect the King and Queen of France. As musketeers, bodyguards of the royalty, it's their duty. Young D'Artagnan has come to Paris to join the musketeers. No sooner does he arrive and he finds himself in a series of duels. First with the sinister Comte de Rochefort then with Athos, Porthos and Aramis.  However, what seems to be ill fated luck turns out to be good fortune for D'Artagnan as he quickly becomes a close friend to The Three Musketeers. Soon the four of them find themselves caught up in the adventure of a life time. It's up to these four brave men to upset the plans of the scheming and villainous Cardinal Richelieu, his evil agent the stunningly beautiful and equally deadly Milady de Winter and the sinister Comte de Rochefort. If they fail the Queen will be dead and perhaps the King with her, the country will be at war and the Cardinal will rule the country with an iron hand.

"Come d'Artagnan, we're off to save the Queen!" It's "All for one and one for all" in this remarkable full-cast audio production of Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers. This is no doubt one of the best audio adaptations in the BBC archives. This three hours of swashbuckling fun will not disappoint.

Jamie Glover, Robert Glenister, Timothy Spall, Anton Lesser, Nicholas Boulton, Julian Glover, Malcom Ward, Imelda Staunton, Michael Cochrane, Helen Abreck, Dominic Letz, Tom Bevin, Theresa Gallagher, Gerth Armstrong, Lyndon Greggory, Frances Jeter, Stewart Organ, Michael Onslow, John Roe.

From the BBC:

'All for one and one for all' ...

17th Century France. Dashing young swordsman D'Artagnan heads for Paris, dreaming of serving the King as a member of his elite guard. On arrival, he meets the three musketeers - Athos, Porthos and Aramis - and the four men soon become fast friends.Together, they strive to outwit the murderous schemes of power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu, and save the Queen from a plot to dishonour her. Their adventures take them on a perilous journey through the French countryside and across the Channel to England...

#122 The Count of Monte Cristo (BBC)

Alexander Dumas classic tale The Count of Monte Cristo is splendidly played out in this BBC production. As Edmond Dantes returns from sea to the girl and job of his dreams his meddling "friends" become jealous and have him unjustly imprisoned. He later escapes, acquires a fortune and sets out to exact revenge on the men who destroyed his life. Originally aired in 1987 this nearly 7 hour long production stars  Andrew Sachs, Nigel Anthony, Steve Hodson, Paul Gregory, Geoffrey Matthews, Melinda Walker and Leslie Sands. Unfortunately this program has not yet been released for purchase by the BBC. If you didn't catch the re-airing of it in 2011 on BBC 7 it might be awhile before it's available to hear again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#121 The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Vol 1

Hammer's back. The hard nosed smash 'em in the mouth detective from the mind of Mickey Spillane returns in full-cast audio splendor. Featuring Stacey Keach from the Mike Hammer TV series that aired on CBS in the 1980s, stories written by the original staff and music from the series. It's hard boiled detective fun in these two presentations.

From Blackstone:

Everybody loves a mystery, and nobody solves them like Mike Hammer. While other detectives bend and manipulate the law, Hammer holds it in total contempt, seeing it as nothing more than an impediment to justice, the one virtue he holds in absolute esteem. Now, the no-holds-barred private eye returns, along with his gorgeous secretary, Velda, and a collection of New York City characters, in two fully dramatized “theater-of-the-mind” audio adventures. “Dangerous Days” and “Oil and Water.”
Narrated by Stacy Keach, the acclaimed actor who starred in the original Mike Hammer TV series, these new mysteries are written by the writers of that show and enhanced with a full supporting cast, sound effects, and music. Even the show’s jazzy theme song is back to set the gritty tone for each episode.

For more Mike Hammer see the other two posts on this blog.

Encore For Murder

The Little Death

#120 Instead of Evidence - Nero Wolfe (CBC)

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are back in Instead of Evidence. When Eugene Poor suspects his business partner is out to kill him he turns to Nero Wolfe. Not to protect him but to make sure his killer is caught after the fact. It's murder and mayhem in this mystery full of twists and turns. Mavor Moore and Don Francks star in this CBC production. Though the series is not available for purchase it can be found online.

From Nero Wolfe:

Eugene Poor suspected his partner Conroy Balney of planning to kill him. He’ll pay Wolfe $5000 — not to keep Blaney from murdering him, but to be sure that he doesn’t get away with it.
Eugene’s premonition of death was right on the money. The ink was hardly dry on the receipt when Poor was killed . . . by an exploding cigar! Naturally, though the client is dead, Wolfe is determined to solve the murder and earn the fee.
Conroy Blaney claims his innocence. Helen Vardis claims that the newly widowed Martha Poor had killed her husband because she was jealous of their relationship, but Joe Groll was also very interested in Helen. A brutal hit-and-run claims Arthur Howell. All these people had connections with Blaney and Poor.

#119 Riding For the Brand (Louis L'Amour)

Louis L'Amour brings you Riding For The Brand for a second time. This time produced by son Beau L'Amour along with David Rapkin and Charles Potter. It's the story of drifter Jed Asbury. After discovering the dead body of Michael Latch on the prairie Asbury assumes his identity and heads for California to claim a large ranch left as Latch's inheritance.  Upon arriving at Casa Grande the new Michael Latch has to contend with not only the ranch's foremost residents, foreman Toni Costa and Carol Arden, but also the villainous Walt Seaver who believes the ranch is his to have.

This version of Riding For The Brand is significantly different from the one produced by Soundelux which featured Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. Both are well produced with music and sound effects and fun to listen to. If you enjoy tales of the old west then you'll find both versions to be a real treat.

From Louis L'Amour:
The open West was a land where wanderers could find themselves a home--a home to fight for, to be changed by, sometimes to die for. Jed Ashbury was one such journeyman, taking on the identity of a dead man. Allen Ring was another: he'd won his plot of land in a card game only to find he had to win again with a gun. From a has-been boxer to a ranch hand taking on his bosses' troubles, the characters in these classic Louis L'Amour short stories are all "riding for the brand"-staying loyal to what matters, staking the West with their courage and their blood.

Riding For the Brand featuring The Highwaymen.

#118 Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight is the third and final installment of the Dark Forces audio drama trilogy. Again the acting and sound design in this production are excellent. Unfortunately the storyline in this episode begins to crumble. What started out to be such a promising trilogy ends up being a bit of a disappointment. Definitely a let down for those looking for an adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Certain elements, particularly the ending, don't live up to Lucas' original versions of Star Wars.

Kyle Katarn is now a Jedi Knight and it's his duty to stop the Dark Jedi Jerec from reaching the Valley of the Jedi and taking control of aa incredible amount of force energy that lies underneath the Valley. An ancient prophecy says that someone will come and release this power but will Katarn be the one to full those words or will it be the evil Jerec who desires the power to rule the galaxy with his twisted intent.

The cast assembled for the production of Star Wars Dark Forces was exceptional. There were numerous great performance but the performance by Mo Collins as Jan Ors was especially delightful. 

Featured in the cast:

Mark Benninghofen as Luke Skywalker
Randal Berger as Kyle Katarn
Christopher Bloch as Lt. Aagon and Bouncer
James Cada as Screamer and Imperial Pilot
Mo Collins as Jan Ors
Patrick Coyle as Nathan Donar, Speeder Pilot and Imperial Co-Pilot
David Chase as Morgan Katarn
Nancy Crocker as Sariss
Stephen D'Ambrose as Boc and Weapons Officer
Susanne Egli as Leia Organa
Louise Enyeart as Lasko and Peeno
Bob Davis as Skorg Jameson and Lando Calrissian
Chris Forth as Mon Mothma
James Gaulke as Han Solo
Gary Groomes as Major Vig
Allen Hamilton as Jerec
Gary Groomes as Governor Donar and Major Horst
Peter Moore as Meck Odom and Slyder
Tim Russell as Captain Thrawn, A-Cee and General Mohc 
Emil Herrera as Obata
Ken Hiller as Narrator
Jay Hornbacher as Grif
Virginia Burke as Norley
Tom Keith as Sergeant and Imperial Pilot
Timothy Kuhlmann as Yun
Peter Moore as Officer and Floater
Martin Ruben as Battle Droid and Maw
Sue Scott as Carole
Michael Tezla as Rahn
Jack Walsh as Mayor Devo and Pardy
John Wehrmann as Captain Trico
Stephen Yoakam as Dinko, Executive and Captain Tola

For more Star Wars see also:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

#117 Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

 Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent. The second in the Dark Forces trilogy. Great acting and outstanding sound design are the highlights of this production. The story though strong dips a bit below that of Soldier For The Empire. A fun story and good audio drama that will probably appeal mostly to Star Wars fans.

From Star Wars:
In Soldier for the Empire, Kyle Katarn, having graduated from the Imperial Military Academy, learns of his father's murder. On his way home he meets a Rebel agent, learns the ugly truth about the way in which his father died, and swears revenge.

Now, in Rebel Agent, Kyle learns more about what his father found in the Valley of the Jedi that ultimately led to his death. Kyle finally earns his Knighthood as a Jedi, and the stage is set for him to avenge his father's death and stop the Dark Jedi from taking control of the source of energy that lies underneath the valley.

Introductions From Star Wars: Dark Forces Rebel Agent:
The fight for galactic freedom rages on, the past and the present collide. In the present, the Emperor has been destroyed, and the weakened Empire has shrunk to a fraction of it's former size, while the Rebel Alliance continues to grow. For a young mercenary named Kyle Katarn, it has been five years since he'd betrayed the Empire. Five years since he abandoned his life as an Imperial office and delivered the Death Star Plans to the Rebels. Five years since the death of his father, Morgan Katarn. But Kyle cannot escape the memory of the past. Five years ago he swore to avenge his father's death. But for all that time, his oath has gone unfulfilled. As he continues to search for the unknown Imperial murderers, Kyle under the watchful eyes of Jan Ors has become a Rebel agent. But like Kyle himself, the Alliance cannot forget Katarn's Imperial past. And the Alliance views him with suspicion. So Kyle Katarn and the Rebel Alliance hurdle together to an unknown future. But as so-often happens, the future will be determined by the past. For his own sake, and for the sake of the Alliance Kyle must unlock the secret to an ancient prophecy, and uncover the heroic deeds of his father that took places back in the early days of the Rebellion.…

It has been five years since the destruction of the first Death Star and months since the defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Endor. Since the Emperor's fall the fledgling Alliance has struggled to drive the Empire further and further back from the worlds it's conquered. But now, a new threat has emerged. The Dark Jedi known as Jerec has uncovered an ancient prophecy and a source of unbelievable power. Somewhere among the stars, lies an uncharted planet and a mysterious place called the Valley of the Jedi. Only the murdered Rebel leader Morgan Katarn knew its whereabouts. Recording the secret on a
datadisk for his son Kyle. Unfortunately for the young Rebel, a scheming droid called 8t88
obtained the disk. The droid was able to decipher some of its information and deliver it to Jerec just before Kyle caught up with it. Tracking the droid to Nar Shaddaa, Kyle recovered the disc but was wounded in the ensuing battle. Recovering from his wounds, Kyle receives a vision from the murdered Jedi Master Rahn. Warning him of the task he must complete…

For More Star Wars see also:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mark of Zorro Nominated For A Grammy!

Congratulations to Mr. Yuri Rasovsky, producer for Hollywood Theater of the Ear, for 2 Grammy nominations in the Spoken Word category.

Nominated for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books and Story Telling):

The Mark of Zorro (from Blackstone Audio) starring Val Kilmer, Ruth Livier, Armin Shimerman, Elizabeth Peña, Meshach Taylor, Keith Szarabajka, Ned Schmidtke, Scott Brick, Stefan Rudnicki, Kristoffer Tabori, Philip Proctor, John Sloan, Gordo Panza and Lorna Raver (the announcer).

Congratulations also to Josh Stanton (Blackstone Audio), John Gertz (Zorro Productions Inc.) and Daryl McCullough associate producers on The Mark of Zorro.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet (from Blackstone Audio) featuring Dan Donohue & Various Artists - Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Saturday, November 26, 2011

#116 Dead Man's Folly - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

Dead Man's Folly again features John Moffatt as Hercule Poirot in another of the BBC's oustanding productions of Agatha Christies famous Belgian detective. This time Poirot's friend Ariadne Oliver (Julia McKenzie) has been asked to create a murder mystery game for a party. Fearing that somehow the game may become a reality she calls on Poirot to help her. Dead Man's Folly has been selected as one of Audio File Magazines 10 best in the "voices of 2011 full-cast category" along with another production spotlighted on this post, The Mark of Zorro. This is one of Christie's best written Poirot stories and a wonderful audio production.

From the BBC:
Ariadne Oliver, Queen of Crime Fiction, has been asked to devise a Murder Hunt for a fete at Nasse House, the home of Sir George Stubbs. But she begins to suspect that someone is manipulating the scenario of her game and fears that something very sinister is being planned. She sends for her old friend Hercule Poirot. At first he is not inclined to take her very seriously but soon a series of events propels him to change his mind. Then suddenly all Ariadne's worst fears are realised when the girl playing the part of the murder victim is found strangled in the boat-house. For Hercule Poirot, the Murder Hunt has become a grim reality. This is a BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation starring John Moffatt as the great Belgian detective, with Julia McKenzie as Ariadne Oliver.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Old Time Radio Westerns That Are Still Great Today

1. Doc Holliday = Gunsmoke Season 1 -Episode 13. Broadcast July 19, 1952. 
    Starring Williams Conrad as U.S. Marshall Matt Dillion and Harry Bartell as Doc Holliday.
    Pictured: Howard McNear (as Doc), William Conrad (as U.S. Marshall Matt Dillion)
    Parley Baer (as Chester), and Georgia Ellis (as Kitty).

2. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon = Lux Radio Theater. Broadcast 3-12-1951
    Starring John Wayne and Mel Ferrer.

3. Red River = Lux Radio Theater. Broadcast 3-7-1949
    Starring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan.

4. My Darling Clementine = Lux Radio Theater. Broadcast 04-28-1947
    Starring Henry Fonda, Cathy Downs, Richard Conte, Walter Brennan.
    Pictured: Henry Fonda and Cathy Downs

5. No Visitors = Have Gun Will Travel. Broadcast 12-28-1958
    The Return of Dr. Thackery = Have Gun Will Travel 02-15-1959
    Photo: John Dehner (on left) Have Gun Will Travel's Paladin on radio
    with Richard Boone, Have Gun's Paladin on TV

The Golden Age of Radio produced numerous great radio shows. Among them you'll find some of the best westerns ever created. From radio remakes of great movies such as She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Red River, Shane, and Broken Arrow to the great serials like Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Fort Laramie, The Six Shooter and Frontier Gentleman, old time radio gives listeners the best of the western genre.

Find these shows and more at the Times Past Old Time Radio Archives.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#115 The Collected Memoirs of Sherlock (BBC)

The Collected Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The next in the series of the Conan Doyle canon of Sherlock Holmes stories dramatized for radio by the BBC. They feature Clive Merrison and Michael Williams as Holmes and Watson in 12 more great full-cast audio dramas. Merrison and Willliams make a dynamic-duo that make the characters come to life before your every ears.

1. Silver Blaze
2. The Yellow Face
3. The Stockbroker's Clerk
4. The Gloria Scott
5. The Musgrave Ritual
6. The Reigate Squires
7. The Crooked Man
8. The Resident Patient
9. The Greek Interpreter
10. The Naval Treaty
11. The Second Stain
12. The Final Problem

#114 The Collected Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (BBC)

Twelve of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes short stories come to vivid sonic life in The Collected Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This magnificently produced BBC series features Clive Merrison as Sherlock Holmes and Michael Williams as Dr. Watson. The combination of great writing and acting make this entire series a true masterpiece. Fans of Holmes and fans of great mystery are sure to enjoy these wonderful shows.

1. A Scandal in Bohemia
2. The Redheaded League
3. A Case of Identity
4. The Boscombe Valley Mystery
5. The Five Orange Pips
6. The Man with the Twisted Lip
7. The Blue Carbuncle
8. The Speckled Band
9. The Engineers Thumb
10. The Noble Bachelor
11. The Beryl Coronet
12. The Cooper Beeches

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#113 Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls

Hollywood Theater of the Ear's Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls converges somewhere between horror and comedy. Extremely well written (but what else would you expect from Yuri Rasovsky) and well acted. Based on the original "penny dreadful" this production tells the tale of Sweeney Todd (sometimes called the demon barber) who robs and kills his customers in his barber shop. He then carries them  into an underground tunnel that connects to Mrs. Lovett's bakery which is just a few blocks away. Mrs. Lovett is of course his accomplice, helping him dispose of the bodies. You see she makes the best meat pies in the entire city. Customers, having no idea that the secret ingredient she uses for the stuffing in her pies is supplied by Sweeney Todd, are always raving about the flavor and coming back for more. If you have a flare for the horror type genre then you won't find this "audio melodrama in three despicable acts" hard to swallow.
Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls is nothing less than an exceptional production!

From HTE:
According to legend, Sweeney Todd had his barber shop at number 186 Fleet Street, London, next door to St Dunstan's Church, just a few blocks from the Royal Courts of Justice. On this site, they say, he robbed and murdered more than 150 customers. To dispose of their remains, he carried them through underground tunnels to the bakery of one Mrs. Lovett a few blocks away, where they supplied the stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite mid-day repast of the lawyers who worked nearby and who got their shaves from Sweeney Todd. The man you lunched with yesterday could be your lunch today!
The story first appeared in 1846 as A String of Pearls: A Romance, a best-selling "penny dreadful," or sensational thriller published in weekly installments. Before the final chapters even had a chance to hit the stands, the first stage version was packing them in at a London playhouse. Since then there have been numerous stage and literary versions of the story, most notably, of course, Stephen Sondheim's now classic musical.

Fred Greenhalgh recently featured a segment of Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls on his Radio Drama Revival program. Follow the link to the Radio Drama Revival website ot hear a preview of this production.

#112 Five Little Pigs - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

Carla Lemarchant is engaged to be married. But before she does she feels it is of the utmost importance to clear up a very disconcerting point in her family history. Sixteen years ago her mother, Caroline Crale, was convicted of murdering her husband Amyas Crale. The facts presented to the jury said her mother was a murderess. Yet shortly before her death her mother, from her jail cell, penned a letter proclaiming her innocence. Now afraid that she may inherit this murderous tendency and not wanting to lose her soon to be husband's love for her, Carla approaches Poirot asking him to investigate the case. 

Poirot conducts his investigation through a series of interviews with the five persons who were there at the time the events of Amyas Crale's death took place. Labeling them the five little pigs, for each one was supposedly doing something different at the time of the murder, the great detective sets out to reconstruct the crime. However, his "little grey cells" will be put to the test in order to solve this mystery. For without access to the scene of the crime he must solve the case purely by reflecting upon the testimony of the participants.

John Moffatt once again stars as Poirot in the well made, thoroughly entertaining BBC full-cast audio drama production.

From the BBC:

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home. Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

#111 Nemesis - Miss Marple (BBC)

June Whitfield reprises the role of the delightful Miss Jane Marple in Nemesis. The sharp-witted spinster sleuth receives a letter from Jason Rafiel, a recently deceased millionaire, asking her to investigate a compelling murder mystery. However, Mr. Rafiel has left her with very few clues, failing to even tell her where or when the crime that was committed took place. He has not even furnished her with the knowledge of who was involved in the matter only that if she succeeds in solving the crime she will inherit £20,000. Her only real starting point for investigation is is a tour of famous houses and gardens of Great Britain, arranged for her by Mr. Rafiel prior to his death. On the tour she is accompanied by fourteen other people who may have had some connection to the deceased millionaire. One of the fourteen people in the group Miss Marple suspects may be her nemesis.

Agatha Christie's Nemesis is classic BBC radio drama at its best. 

From the BBC:

Miss Marple is totally shocked to receive a letter from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel, an acquaintance she had met briefly on her travels. The letter leaves instructions for Miss Marple, whom Mr Rafiel had recognised as a natural detective, to investigate a crime after his death. There are absolutely no details about the crime, however, nothing about who is involved, or where or when it had been committed. Miss Marple, of course is thoroughly intrigued and sets out to solve a compelling murder mystery.

Friday, November 11, 2011

#110 Merrano of the Dry Country (Louis L'Amour)

Merrano of the Dry Country is a classic gritty western that pits a young Mexican rancher named Miguel Merrano against Mirror Valley, New Mexico's three most powerful ranchers: Tom Drake, Joe Stangel and Jim Hill. Drought has come to the valley and the once magnificent ranches of these three men have wilted under the harsh heat and blowing winds. The water has dried up. Their cattle are gaunt, dying of thirst. And now their fortunes have dwindled away to nothing along with their prospects for the future. Pride, desperation, and prejudice create strong emotions leading to accusations of rustling followed by a heated confrontation between the three leading citizens of the area and Merrano. As tensions heighten Tom Drake's daughter Candy and local store owner Clouse Mayer hope to find a way to restore reason with these men before things get so far out of hand they can't be repaired.

This is one of L'Amour's best. A superb western tale that evokes strong emotions.

From Louis L'Amour:
When Miguel Merrano first came to Mirror Valley, the land was green and lush . . . and off limits to Mexicans. Ranchers such as Tom Drake and Joe Stangle tried to drive Merrano out, to fence him out; and when he warned them that greed and overgrazing would ruin their land, they refused to listen.

Now Merrano's predictions have come true. Mirror Valley is so dry it's about to blow away. The cattle are hollow-ribbed and dying. And the ranchers are broke . . . flat broke. Only Merrano's ranch is still thriving. As the ranchers watch him pay for goods in gold and sell his cattle at a mighty profit, their hatred grows and festers . . . until they draw their guns in a desperate act that will pit daughter against father, friend against friend - an act that could tear the valley apart... forever.

#109 Powder River (CRT)

Powder River is a western audio drama series produced by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air. Currently there are four seasons available with a fifth and possibly as sixth on the way. The series starts off a bit shaky. Many of season one's episodes are mediocre at best. However, season one does offer glimmers of developing into a decent western and if you can get past the first season the series begins to take shape after that. 

Powder River follows the lives of retired U.S. Marshall Britt MacMasters (Jerry Robbins), his son Chad MacMasters (Derek Aalerud), Doc (Lincoln Clark), Dawes (Joseph Zamparelli), Millie (Diane Lund), Jacob (James McLean), Etta (Marcia Friedman), Matt (Isaac Bean), Sheriff Wilkins (Sam Donato), Clay (Deniz Cordell) and the other citizens of Clearmont, Wyoming.

If you're searching for a show with that rugged John Wayne feel to it or that tough gritty feeling the radio versions of Gunsmoke or Have Gun Will Travel had, this isn't it.  This series is more along the lines of the classic old time western radio series The Six Shooter or Fort Laramie with it's easy going family friendly action-adventure stories. Powder River plays out more like an audio version of The Big Valley, Bonanza or High Chaparral (which by the way were great western television series.) Though the series is pleasant and enjoyable it lacks that authentic western ambiance. The stories more often than not feel like they were written by an eastern greenhorn and the voice work doesn't quite corral that western sound. If we were using the five star rating system we'd give Powder River three stars.

Powder River offers fans of the western genre 75 half hour episodes and two 2 hour full-length features. The series is available on CD. It can also be heard on XM satellite radio as well as on Jim French's Imagination Theater.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Legendary Radio Dramatist Norman Corwin Has Died

Legendary radio dramatist Norman Corwin died Oct. 18 at his home in Los Angeles, California at the age of 101.  Mr. Corwin who wrote, directed and produced scores of award-winning radio dramas for CBS throughout the 1930s and 1940s was known as the “poet laureate of radio.”

Corwin's honors included two Peabody Awards and an induction into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. His work has received praise from such artists as Hollywood director Robert Altman and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who once called him “the greatest director, the greatest writer and the greatest producer in the history of radio.” He wrote more than a dozen books and plays and received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay  “Lust for Life” (1956), which starred Kirk Douglas as the tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh.

In recent years Norman Corwin worked with California Artists Radio Theatre along side fellow radio dramatist and radio legend Peggy Webber. He was also part of Hollywood Theater of the Ear's board of directors along with noted award winning radio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky.

Norman Corwin was not only a legend in the field of radio drama he was an icon. His presence, spirit and vision will be missed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sherlock Holmes

Who is the world's greatest consulting detective? It's elementary my dear Watson..... Sherlock Holmes. Basil Rathbone was not the first to portray Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective but his performance on screen and radio established him as the quintessential Holmes. Undoubtedly he set the standard for all other actors who would follow. Unfortunately most of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio drama series which starred Rathbone and Nigel Bruce no longer exist. Though a few can still be purchased online, in book stores or downloaded through various OTR websites. This great radio drama series not only captured the imagination but the heart as well.

In the modern era Holmes continues to live on in the world of audio drama. In the past couple of decades or so there have been a number of outstanding Sherlock Holmes productions. If you're a Holmes aficionado then here are some great shows worth looking into.

The BBC produced the entire Conan Doyle Holmes canon featuring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. As Holmes and Watson, Merrison and Williams are dynamic. Each episode is absolutely stellar. For authenticity and quality it's impossible to top this wonderful series.

The Sherlock Holmes Theatre produced by Hollywood Theatre of the Ear (Yuri Rasovsky) features Martin Jarvis as Holmes and Kristoffer Tabori as Watson. In this edition William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes play is brought to life along with the Conan Doyle story The Speckled Band. As a side point Star Trek and A-Team fans will recognize Dwight Schultz as Dr. Roylott in The Speckled Band. Conan Doyle would have loved this production and so will Holmes fans.

Jim French Productions (Imagination Theater) has produced a half hour Holmes series for several years. Originally this series starred John Gilbert as Holmes and later John Patrick Lowrie. Larry Albert plays Dr. John H. Watson. This show faithfully portrays the great detective along with his friend and helper with pinpoint accuracy and the finest quality. 

If you have a challenging case and need the assistance of the great detective you can call on him at his lodgings located at 221B Baker Street London, England. Perhaps you can persuade him to take on your endeavor. Or if you have no mystery for Holmes to solve but still wish to be kept abreast of his cases you could pick up a copy of The Strand. Dr. Watson is sure to detail every adventure for readers of this periodical. Or you could listen to one of his exceptionally dramatized audio adventures by any of these wonderful production groups.

The game is afoot!

Imagination Theater Sample Shows

Imagination Theater offers radio drama fans the opportunity to hear two of their productions free every week. You can access their "Listen Now" feature by simply going to the Jim French Productions website.

Among the shows you'll hear on the listen now feature are Sherlock Holmes, Harry Nile, Raffles the Gentleman Thief, Hilary Cane Mysteries, Kincaid the Strange Seeker and more. The Sherlock Holmes series is one of the best ever made. From time to time you will also hear an episode of CRT's western series Powder River.

You're sure to enjoy the works of Imagination Theater so don't miss out. Check out their "Listen Now" feature on the website. Also check their radio station listing and schedule to find how to tune into each weeks broadcast episodes as well.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bit Torrent Downloading - File Sharing

If you enjoy high quality audio drama (and/or audiobooks) then you're not alone. Millions of people worldwide love this form of entertainment and appreciate the hard work that goes into making it. For those who don't know, it takes months of pain staking work to create a great recorded work. Countless hours are spent writing the script - which is no easy task. Then a cast must be assembled. Casting takes great effort and can be an incredible challenge. It may take up to a year to fill the necessary roles. Once the cast is assembled rehearsal takes time. Recording an audio dramas can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Mixing and Editing are exhaustively long processes taking weeks or months to complete. The road to a great full-cast audio drama is an extensively long one to say the least.

It is not cheap to produce a full-cast audio drama! A professionally produced audio drama can cost several thousand dollars to make. A three hour show can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $50,000 (U.S. dollars) or more to produce.

Some professional radio theater groups have an audio publisher that makes their shows available to purchase. Some self publish selling them through places like itunes or (Many amateur radio theater groups kindly make their programs available as a free download available from their websites.)

There are those who work in the radio/audio drama field who actually depend on the sales of radio dramas. Making and selling radio dramas is their livelihood. This is how they feed and cloth their families. This is what puts a roof over their head. They don't live luxuriant life styles and they're not rich. The fact is creating and selling radio dramas is how they make an honest living. There are those who work in the field of radio drama who write, direct, produce or mix and edit that do so on a percentage of sales basis. That means if the radio drama sells they get a small percentage of the sales. And they only get paid if the radio drama sells.

Selling radio dramas is also how many radio theater groups keep up and running. By selling their shows they are able to have the funds to continue producing more wonderful shows for our entertainment. File sharing puts them out of business. That means eventually there will come a time when there will be no new radio dramas. If you think it's no big deal to file share a radio drama  because it's published by an audiobook publisher (or the BBC) then think again. Publishers who don't make money on the shows they produce stop making shows. Once again the result of bittorrent file sharing is the end of great radio drama being produced.

The bottom-line is this: it takes thousands of dollars and months of hard work and effort to bring you a single full-cast audio (radio) drama. But it only takes a couple of minutes for all that hard work and effort to be stolen away when it is uploaded onto a file sharing website. Bit torrent (or bittorrent) website file sharing is nothing less than theft. When you upload or download audiobooks and audio dramas using bit torrent websites you steal people's hard work and their livelihood (their means of making a living.) If you think it's no big deal to download for free then consider this example: Do you work hard at your job then expect to get a paycheck at the end of each pay period? Let's suppose you have direct deposit. How would you feel if you checked your bank balance and your money wasn't in your account? Would you call the bank and ask them why the money wasn't in your account? How would you like this answer? We liked what you do so much that we decided to give your money away. We decided to deposit your paycheck into the account of someone else.

For those who still don't get it... Bit torrent file sharing copyrighted material is stealing, if you do it you are stealing. Consider this: Ever had anything stolen from you? Computer, car, wallet, purse, stereo, camera? Ever had you home broken into? Ever had someone charge an unauthorized amount on your credit card? Did you like it? Did it make you feel good? No? That's how the people who work hard to make radio dramas feel when someone uploads their hard work onto a bit torrent website for everyone in the world to download for free.

If you think you're doing the world a favor by uploading your radio drama collection (audio books, music, movies or anything else) onto a bittorrent file sharing website for people to share on the internet you really need to pull your head out of your A$$. You're not beating the system. You're not defeating big business. You're not sticking to the man. You're screwing the hard working little people out of their hard work and their pittance of an income. So if you're file sharing, uploading or downloading, think about someone besides yourself. If you want it then go buy it. Get off your lazy A$$, get a job, earn the money and buy it.

If you appreciate having professional radio theater groups who make great audio dramas then don't file share copyrighted audio/radio dramas (or audiobooks). Boycott bit torrent websites.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#108 The Valley of Fear - Sherlock Holmes (BBC)

Sherlock Holmes is pitted against Professor Moriarty, the world's greatest criminal mastermind, when a coded warning of imminent danger sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to the fortress-like country house of the reclusive Jack Douglas. When they arrive too late to prevent a tragic death, the great detective and his chronicler must follow a series of bewildering clues to find a murderer who has vanished into thin air. Only then will they solve the mystery of the dead man's desperate plea: 'Am I never going to get out of the valley of fear?'

From the BBC:
What is the connection between a corpse with a missing face and a ruthless secret society which once terrorized a desolate region of the United States? With the aid of a local guidebook, a missing dumb-bell and Dr Watson's umbrella, Holmes unravels a tangled web which stretches over fifteen years and two continents; and in the center of that web lurks the sinister presence of the most brilliant criminal mind in all England - Professor James Moriarty. Clive Merrison stars as Holmes with Michael Williams as Watson in this adventure, part of the unique fully dramatized BBC canon of Conan Doyle's short stories and novels featuring the world-famous sleuth.

#107 A Study in Scarlet - Sherlock Holmes (BBC)

Clive Merrison and Michael Williams are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this classic tale of mystery. If you've never heard how Holmes and Watson came to be a team then it's time to tune in to this great detective story and learn how it all began. Excellent dramatization of the Holmes chronology by the BBC as always.

From the BBC:
The story in which Conan Doyle first unleashed the most famous partnership in the history of criminal detection. An unmarked corpse, a wedding ring and a mysterious message scrawled in blood are Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson's only clues as they follow the trail of a man driven to fulfill a terrible oath he swore more than twenty years before. Clive Merrison stars as Holmes with Michael Williams as Watson in this adventure, part of the unique fully dramatised BBC canon of Conan Doyle's short stories and novels featuring the world-famous sleuth.

#106 At Bertram's Hotel - Miss Marple (BBC)

When Jane Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she’s looking for at Bertram’s: a restored London hotel with traditional decor, impeccable service -- and an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer. Yet not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong day.

From the BBC:
Miss Marple, Agatha Christie s deceptively mild spinster sleuth, is being treated to a few days holiday by her niece, staying at Bertram s Hotel, a dignified, unostentatious establishment tucked away in a back street of busy Mayfair. Here is a place where sedate upper class ladies, retired military gentlemen and the higher echelons of the clergy can indulge in the comforts of a bygone age. But Miss Marple begins to feel uneasy. Something sinister lurks beneath the polished veneer. Why are so many major crimes associated in some way with the hotel or somehow implicate eminently respectable people staying there? June Whitfield stars as Miss Marple in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of a classic brain-teaser from the Queen of Crime.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

#105 Bill Carey Rides West - Louis L'Amour

Great acting, sound effects and music make this highly entertaining story come to life. Louis L'Amour is a master of transporting the reader, in this case the listener, back to the days of the old west. Bill Carey Rides West once again shows why Louis L'Amour is the best selling western novelist of all-time.

A note about Louis L'Amour - Unlike other writers who sometimes fictionalize locations, customs and other details of the western era L'Amour was a tireless researcher. He would search out old newspapers, diaries and maps to learn not only about the people of the western era but also the topography and geography of the area. He talked to those who knew the land and many times knew figures of historical significance to those areas. L'Amour eagerly learned about landmarks, waterholes and other points of interest found in the regions he was writing about. He learned how the Indians and settlers identified these landmarks. In order to further accurately convey the lay of the land he would traverse the landscape sometimes even taking an aerial view by plane. His tireless pursuit of details certainly shines through in his storytelling.

Bill Carey robbed the bank in Churchfield making off with two bags of gold. But not before getting himself shot up. With the law hot on his trail Bill stumbles half dead onto a ranch run by Jess Conway and his daughter Jane. Jane patches up him up but he quickly learns that this is no safe haven. The ruthless outlaw Tabat Ryerson and his gang have the Conway's mercilessly doing their bidding. As Bill starts to mend he must decide what to do, get out of the territory or stay and help the sweet young woman and her father.

From Louis L'Amour:
Life on an Ohio farm couldn't hold young Bill Carey.  He wanted the adventure he knew waited in the territories to the west.  He'd drifted into the outlaw life, and now he found himself shot up, a lawman on his trail, holed up on a small farm near the lair of Tabat Ryerson.  Ryerson, the man who'd introduced him to cattle rustling and bank robbery, a cold-blooded killer.  The man who'd turned the sweet young woman who'd saved Carey's life into an unwilling accomplice.  On a remote little farm, Carey's caught between both sides of the law, and he finds a reason for staying alive in a rancher's pretty daughter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#104 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (BBC)

One of Jane Austen's most beloved novels and a must have for fans of her work. This dramatization doesn't disappoint.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, he must leave the bulk of his estate to the son by his first marriage, which leaves his second wife and three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) in straitened circumstances. They are taken in by a kindly cousin, but their lack of fortune affects the marriageability of both practical Elinor and romantic Marianne. When Elinor forms an attachment for the wealthy Edward Ferrars, his family disapproves and separates them. And though Mrs. Jennings tries to match the worthy (and rich) Colonel Brandon to her, Marianne finds the dashing and fiery Willoughby more to her taste. Both relationships are sorely tried. But this is a romance, and through the hardships and heartbreak, true love and a happy ending will find their way for both the sister who is all sense and the one who is all sensibility.

Post #103 Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Post #53 Emma by Jane Austen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

#103 Mansfield Park - Jane Austen (BBC)

Extremely difficult to find but a real treasure for fans of Jane Austen. This BBC full-cast radio drama features Hannah Gordon and Amanda Root.

Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price: the earnest, gentle girl of humble origins sent to live with Sir Thomas Bertram and his family in Mansfield Park. There she discovers a world of flirtation, betrayal and prejudice; her quiet, serious nature hides a loyal and loving heart, and her patient devotion is ultimately rewarded.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#102 Voyage (BBC)

Stephen Baxter's Voyage is an alternate history telling of events in the United States space race. Surviving the 1963 assassination attempt a wheelchair bound John F. Kennedy along side President Richard Nixon congratulate Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew for their successful moon landing. Taking things a step further Kennedy not only offers word of congratulation but also a challenge to move forward with the idea of the U.S. taking strides to reach Mars in the future. Voyage is the story of NASA's struggle to send a manned mission to Mars. Dirk Maggs produced and directed this incredible production.

From the BBC:
A BBC dramatization of a science-fiction adventure set in a world that almost existed but never did - a world in which John F. Kennedy survived the Dallas assassination attempt and, from his wheelchair, exhorted NASA to continue the building of space ships, and to fly them onward to Mars.

#101 Towards Zero (BBC)

This BBC production of Agatha Christie's murder mystery Towards Zero starts out a bit slowly but builds into a fine story with a classic Christie twist at the end.

Lady Tresselian invites several guests to stay at her seaside house at Gull's Point. Against her better judgment she has allowed her late husband's ward, handsome and dashing tennis ace Neville Strange, and his wife Kay to come at the same time as Neville's ex-wife Audrey. Other guests include Mary, Lady Tresselian's companion; Ted, Kay's ever-present friend; Thomas, a family friend who has just returned from spending the war in Africa and Lady Tresselian's old friend Lord Justice Treves. When death visits Gull's Point the house party is thrown into turmoil. It is left to Scotland Yard's Detective Inspector Leach and Mr MacWhirter, an ex-detective who is also house guest, to solve the case.

Dramatized by Joy Wilkinson.
Directed by Mary Peate.

Featured in the cast:
Nevile............Hugh Bonneville
Lady Tresselian.......Marcia Warren
MacWhirter.........Tom Mannion
Audrey............Claire Rushbrook
Mary.............Julia Ford
Kay............Lizzy Watts
Latimer...........Joseph Kloska
Royde............Stephen Hogan
Treves...........David Hargreaves
Inspector Leach .......Philip Fox
Receptionist...........Annabelle Dowler
Sergeant...........Matt Addis
Umpire/Butler........Philip Fox
Receptionist...........Annabelle Dowler
Porter............Benjamin Askew

Sunday, August 28, 2011

#100 The Posion Belt - Professor Challenger (American Radio Theater)

American Radio Theater presents the second of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger stories with The Poison Belt. This production, especially the acting, is very reminiscent of a BBC production. It feels like a sequel to the BBC's production of Conan Doyle's The Lost World which of course was the first and most famous in this series of stories.

Also available from American Radio Theater When The World Screamed (a Professor Challenger story.)

From ART:
THE POISON BELT - written by Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted by Cole Hornaday. The world swims through a belt of poison ether. Can Professor Challenger and his companions survive? 61 minutes (2008)

Featured in the cast:
  • Ivan Cury as Ted Malone
  • Kim Turner as Mr. McCardle
  • Cole Hornaday as Professor Challenger
  • Gregg Porter as Professor Summerlee
  • Reynaud LeBoeuf as Lord John Roxton
  • Bryan Hendrickson as Austin, the Chauffeur
  • Melinda Mains as Mrs. Challenger
  • Joan Parker as Mrs. Burston
  • Pat McNally as Telegraph Boy
  • Live Sound Effects by Penny Swanberg

See also The Lost World by the BBC post #16:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#99 Star Wars Rebel Mission To Ord Mantell

Most probably don't know that Brian Daley produced another Star Wars radio drama after the original trilogy. Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell doesn't feature any of the actors from the original trilogy but the voice acting is still quite good. The sound effects are awesome and it's a short but good story.

For more Star Wars see:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

#98 Star Wars Dark Empire

Dark Empire is the first of a three part story arc (Dark Empire II and Empire's End). This episode is well written and features a good cast of voice actors. The story and sound effects in this production take you to a galaxy far, far away. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the other 2 sequels. They're terrible.

Six years after the battle of Endor, the fight for freedom rages on. Han Solo and Princess Leia, now married, struggle to protect their twin children from danger. Darth Vader is dead, but a reborn Empire strikes back against the Rebel Alliance, and the Rebels discover that their greatest foe may be their closest friend: Luke Skywalker!

For More Star Wars see also:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Crimson Empire

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

#97 Star Wars Crimson Empire

Loaded with action this very well written Star Wars story will keep you tuned in. Good voice acting and sound effects make this adventure a fun one.

The explosive Star Wars saga continues! Crimson Empire introduces you to a new generation of space heroes and thrilling adventures!

As the story opens, the Empire's in turmoil; Luke Skywalker has destroyed the last of Emperor Palpatine's clones, and the Dark Lord Carnor Jax plans to seize the throne. But he has a formidable opponent to contend with: the brave Kir Kanos. The only survivor of the elite Crimson Guard, he alone stands between Jax and universal domination.

On the run and fighting for his life in a world of disloyalty and deceit, Kanos takes refuge on the planet Phaeda, joining forces with the fierce, beautiful New Republic leader Mirith Sinn and her underground warriors. Soon, the Empire holds Mirith's band under siege, and none other than Kanos comes to their rescue. Why is he fighting with them? Is he on their side?

Finally, the stage is set for the clash between the last of the Royal Guard: Kir Kanos vs. Carnor Jax. Only one can walk away. Who dies? What happens to the New Republic?

Listen and find out as the suspense and action of this galactic story reaches its compelling conclusion to the first part of the Crimson Empire series.
Cast and Crew

Written by: Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley

Produced by: Tom Voegeli

Directed by: Peter Moore

Main Cast:
    Patrick Coyle as Kir Kanos
    Robert Downing Davis as Carnor Jax
    Nichole Pelerine as Mirith Sinn
    Martin Ruben as Sish Sadeet
    David Anthony Brinkley as General Wessel
    Gary Groomes as Colonel Shev and Emperor Palpatine
    Jim Cada as Darth Vader
    Wayne A. Evenson as Tem Merkon
    Jeff Gadbois as the Taskmaster
    Peter Thoemke as Massimo

Additional Voices:

    Bill Slichter
    Michael Tezla
    J.C. Cutler
    Christopher Denton
    Matt Guidry
    Allen Hamilton
    Jeremy Jackson
    Johar Husain
    Tom Keith
    Michael Paul Levin
    Bill McCallum
    Peter Moore
    Cliff Rakerd

For more Star Wars see:

Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama (aka Star Wars: A New Hope)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

Star Wars: Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#96 Evil Under The Sun - Hercule Poirot (BBC)

Agatha Christie's classic tale of murder and intrigue comes to life in the BBC's production of Evil Under the Sun. Well produced and acted this whodunnit is sure to please any mystery lover.

From the BBC:
An exclusive hotel on a tiny picturesque island seems to be the ideal retreat for Hercule Poirot from the stresses of criminal detection. But with the appearance of the beautiful Arlena Stuart, the quiet and peaceful atmosphere becomes charged with an indefinable erotic tension. And, when she is found viciously strangled in a secluded cove, there are few, especially among the women, who seem to feel either surprise or regret. As Poirot follows a twisting path of bizarre and bewildering clues, his only certainties are that the solution lies within Arlena herself, and that there is evil under the sun. John Moffat is Hercule Poirot in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatization with an all-star cast which includes Iain Glen, Fiona Fullerton, Robin Ellis, Wendy Craig, George Baker and Joan Littlewood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#95 Get Out Of Town - Louis L'Amour

Growing up to the point of being viewed as a man wasn't always an easy thing in the west. Neither was re-establishing yourself after having been convicted of a crime. In this story Tom Fairchild, a teenager yearning to be looked upon as a man, hires a just released from prison saddle bum named Riley. Everyone in the town except the boy's mother objects. Riley's served his time but the town's people seem to figure once a man's been in prison that makes him a criminal for life. Together Mrs. Fairchild, Tom and Riley face tough choices and challenging situations that will alter all their lives. Louis L'Amour brings you yet another wonder tale of the old west in Get Out Of Town. 

From Louis L'Amour:
Ever since his father died, fourteen-year-old Tom Fairchild has helped his mother keep the ranch going. Soon it would be time to gather the cattle to market, and Tom was sent to ride into town to hire a hand. When he chose a stranger named Riley, the townspeople, the former hands, and the local law didn't approve. Worse yet, the sheriff said Riley was a former convict. But Tom didn't care. It was the first real decision Tom ever made on his own. Now he must face a threat closer to home, a danger he never expected. Tom Fairchild isn't about to back down—but he's in more trouble than he can handle by himself.