Stranger Than Truth
by David Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was very happy to see Big Finish return to the Judge Dredd universe - their previous Judge Dredd full-cast audios were excellent plays that never really seemed to find an audience.
I wasn't entirely certain how Judge Dredd would adapt to the new "Crime Chronicles" format. Based on Big Finish's successful Doctor Who
Companion Chronicles range, the format is kind of a hybrid of a conventional audiobook and a full-cast drama. There are two actors, and the bulk of the story is covered in narration, with sound-effects and dramatized sequences fleshing out the story. It works well for Doctor Who
, particularly when written with awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the format, but how would it work for an action-packed series like Judge Dredd, with a hero who is infamously a man of few words?
It works brilliantly. Big Finish's Judge Dredd plays have always flirted with parody and pastiche, and with the stronger narrative voice allowed by this format, they indulge that to the fullest. In addition, with one of the two actors being the vocally versatile Toby Longworth, you get more than two distinct voices in the story.
The story itself follows Eliza Blunt, an academic who specializes in the pulp-crime novels of author Truman Kaput, which feature anti-hero Slick Dickens taking on and defeating his nemesis Judge Dredd. Blunt has arrived in Megacity One hoping to write an article on a rumored new Slick Dickens novel, only to discover that the fictional Slick Dickens has apparently come to life and started committing murders. Dredd thinks Blunt is involved, and the two of them have to make their way through the world of publishers, literary critics, slash fiction writers (the reaction of Dredd to being told that people writer Slick Dickens/Judge Dredd slash is priceless), and author Truman Kaput himself to catch the killer.
Well worth checking out, even if you've never read the comic (I've still never done more than glance at a few Judge Dredd comics) or heard any of the previous audios. View all my reviews >>