Decoder Ring Theatre (mp3)
Length: 25 minutes
Reader: Full cast
The story: Decoder Ring Theatre produces a modern take on old-time-style radio with their great superhero serial The Red Panda and their private detective series Black Jack Justice. The short radio plays are backed by music and sound effects in a way that draws listeners into the stories. They feature exciting plots, snappy dialogue and usually nothing more objectional than comic-book violence and mild innuendo.
This story, one from the first season, has a plot that was to my mind predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. The main joy in listening to these stories is from the banter between Jack Justice and his business partner, Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective. These witty insults and sly flirtations recall the better writing from the Golden Age of pulp detective writing and writers like Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Though the characters are not fully developed here, as the series goes along, they become deeper and more interesting. With forty-two episodes over six seasons, there's plenty of time to get to know these characters and hours of entertaining listening.
Rating: 8 / 10
The readers: Christopher Mott, as Jack, is perfect in his role as a hard-boiled detective. He's got a no-nonsense declamatory style with the right doses of hard-boiled and human. As Trixie, Andrea Lyons is sassy and smart. She's got a Chicago-ish accent, though the exact name of the city where the action takes place is never mentioned. The other characters are well-acted, particularly Detective Nick Sabin, who becomes a recurring character in the series. The music adds to drama and fits in well, giving the right amount of atmosphere without overdoing it. The sound effects likewise are professionally done and make the production a polished product.