Book Review: Jack Wakes Up

This book, originally a Podiobook, makes its debut in print this week.

"Jack Wakes Up" CoverJack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood


Washed-up movie star Jack Palms is knee-deep in a Bay Area drug war and it’ll take the performance of a lifetime to get him through it alive.

In the three years since Jack Palms left Hollywood and kicked his drug habit, he’s added fourteen pounds of muscle, read eighty-three books, and played it as straight as anyone could reasonably ask. But the residual checks are drying up, and the ascetic lifestyle’s starting to wear thin, so Jack’s happy to cash in on his former celebrity by showing some out-of-town high rollers around San Francisco’s club scene.

Then people start turning up dead, and Jack realizes he’s been playing tour guide to a pack of former KGB agents turned coke dealers. Soon he’s got too many gunmen after him to count–including a South American drug cartel, a mountain-sized Samoan enforcer, and a mobbed-up strip-club owner with an army of thugs. That’s not to mention the gorgeous bartender who may be planning on shooting him in the back and the homicide cop who’s just given Jack twenty-four hours to bring down the Bay Area’s biggest drug dealer.

But the thing that scares Jack the most? He’s starting to enjoy himself.

High Point

  • The Czechs. They crack me up. “Would you care for some of the blow?”
  • Jack’s a believable character.

Low Point

  • The plot tends to drag a little in the middle.
  • Maxine’s storyline seemed a little schizophrenic.

The Scores

Originality: The juxtaposition of an action movie actor in a real-life drug war is a very interesting concept and is well done. 4/6

Story: A good crime yarn with some interesting characters along the way. 4/6

Imagery: Well done. He describes everything from action and gore to clothing and faces. 5/6

Characterization: The story really is about the supporting cast, as it is with most good crime dramas. 4/6

Emotional Response: It’s a fun romp, but you don’t get really attached to Jack along the way. 3/6

Production: The original podiobook is well done. About the only improvement would be Harwood’s voice style. Sounds like his a native Bostonian, so his range of  “ethnic” characters is a little limited. But that may just be my ear. Sound quality and editing is great. 4/6

Overall: A good story with some fun characters. I haven’t picked up the sequel yet, but plan on it. 4/6

Total Score: 28 out of 42

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