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Unlicensed (2022)

by Joseph Fink

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215,281,508 (4)1
Recently added byBookmarque, RobinJewell

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If you followed the Welcome to Nightvale podcast, you’ll recognize the name Joseph Fink. Back when people still listened to Podcasts on actual iPods, I tried listening to it, but wasn’t for me and I had no idea until I read the details that this series is by the same person. It being one of the freebies with my Audible subscription, I gave it a go and I’m glad I did.

Mostly it’s a radio drama, but is relatively light on foley and music. There is a bit of both, but they are subdued parts of the fabric of sound. In addition to the two main characters, there is also a narrator who fills in detail as it relates to off stage doings and general information about the California of the time. It reminds me strongly of the way Chandler gave Philip Marlowe similar thoughts as an internal monologue. Sometimes they are a bit too editorial, but they serve a purpose.

Our two main “detectives” are fun and suit each other in an odd way. Molly’s voice is so high pitched that I had a hard time picturing her as a recovering alcoholic and divorcee - she just sounds so young and idealistic as opposed to older and jaded. That’s the voice Lu has for sure. Old and jaded and although beaten up by life, still full of purpose and hope. I liked the way the investigation unfolded and the women’s relationship cemented itself. The mystery is many-layered and everything connects, a thing I quite enjoy about mysteries. What I didn’t love so much is the ending - it’s a bit of a cliff hanger and if there isn’t at least one more season, it’s going to be a bummer. I’d prefer the ending to be finished and leaving me with some sort of completion. ( )
  Bookmarque | Dec 4, 2022 |
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Unlicensed follows Molly Hatch (Quinn), recently divorced, two years sober, and completely lost on where to go next in her life. On a whim she answers an ad for an assistant to a PI, traveling to an unpromising strip mall on Citrus Avenue in Azusa, CA, where she meets Lou Rosen (Strus). Lou is a brilliant detective, but she’s also a completely disorganized mess, both in her physical space and within her own mind. She loses evidence, forgets what she’s already figured out, and she hasn’t even gotten it together to get her PI license. Working illegally in the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the cul-de-sacs and strip malls sprawl into the desert, the only clients she can get are those who either can't afford anyone else or have cases that are too marginal for licensed PIs or the police to bother with.

When a teenage girl pleads for Lou and Molly to take the strangest case of their career, they find themselves involved in something much bigger than they were prepared for. This unlikely pair, with no resources and no back-up, follow a trail of seemingly unconnected cases, which leads them to a ransom, a murder, a mysterious wellness center, and a conspiracy that might go all the way to the governor.
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