I like to listen to moody, noirish mysery novels while driving around in the Southern California sunshine. It's a sweet-and-sour thing. Never gets stale for me.
Which is why I was intrigued recently when I stumbled upon BMW Audio Books. The company has commissioned original fiction by some unexpected authors, and to judge by a first listen, they've done it right.
This weekend I downloaded and listened to James Flint's Outer Limits-ish Master of the Storm this weekend while winding up the Pacific Coast Highway. The production was impeccable, far better quality than most of the books I've purchased on Audible.com, the story performed (rather than merely read) by Forbes Masson, a Shakespeare-trained Scotsman with an intoxicating, single-malt voice. Flint's work has a distinctive style, and like the other authors BMW has engaged, he has enough edge-dwelling credibility that there's precious little chance anyone will mistake him for a shill... even though the story does take place in a car--a BMW.
The presence of the car in the Storm has a nudge-nudge, wink-wink quality to it, and little to do with the story itself. But any expectation that the story would be advertorial in nature is quickly dispelled as the protagonist gets behind the wheel after one champagne too many and plows into an innocent bystander. Not a particularly safe plot point for a car company, but a turn that had the effect of instantly earning my trust and attention.
I wonder if I could get my brother Din to sponsor a literary fiction contest, in which the best short-story to feature Ristretto Roasters as an exotic locale could be published on the Ristretto blog, and the author could win, I dunno, let's see... some coffee? I'll have to ask him.... and I'll get to work on the first entry (even if family members are not eligible for prizes).