As the memory of September fades away along with deciduous autumn leaves, I find that it is the right time to review an old favourite audio program of mine. For under beautifully hued October evening skies, with whistling winds and frigid pockets of rain, the mood for a dark, mysterious and thrilling tale is finally here. From the gifted writer, Joseph Fink, comes an audio production that is equal parts addictive and repulsive: Alice isn't Dead.
"Alice isn‘t Dead" is a serialized audio drama akin to the format of radio shows in the 1970s and 1980s. It's well-written and gory, and the plot steams ahead. Who is Alice? What happened to her? These questions haunt the storyline. In the first episode, as well as every episode that follows, we listen to Alice’s wife, who is a truck driver working for a mysterious shipping company, speaking into the recorder. As she drives along the vast, empty roads of the USA, we hear about her past, her anger and ultimately her staunch belief that although Alice went missing years ago, she might not be dead. Our narrator sounds slightly deranged and therefore is a perfectly unreliable storyteller. We get snapshots of her journey across North America either with too much detail or with too much emotion. Yet, this strangely empowers the narrative and results in compelling 30-minute episodes of the podcast.
The intro theme is as powerful as any popular show on Netflix
As we follow the narrator's (the name is a mystery too) road trip, strange things begin to happen. She drives her truck out of a town only to find that she has driven into the same town yet again despite taking no turns. As our tortured truck driver panics, she crosses paths with devious, old men who tail her relentlessly. She befriends unusual diner staff and hears sudden noises from her empty truck. In the old, tucked away towns on the road, she slowly realizes, with growing terror, that she has accidentally stumbled upon a secret that the isolated, deserted roads of America have harbored for a very long time...
Joseph Fink is no stranger to paranormal or supernatural storytelling, as his resume boasts of other such shows. His expertise is reflected in the quality and content of this show as well. Even the intro theme is as powerful as any popular show on Netflix and sets the tone for a promising horror fiction story. At the end of the first season, the show successfully emerges as a bone-chilling treat for lovers of all things nocturnal and creepy. If Stephen King delighted you as a young adult, add this to your binge list.
P.S: This podcast is explicit. Listener discretion is advised.
Pooja Ramakrishnan, Master student Environmental Engineering, is a science student during the day and a poet by night. She balances the two with her curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.