Dead Air: A Fictional Trip Into the World of True Crime Podcasting

“M is now for midnight, Mackenzie, and…murder. Welcome to Dead Air.” ~ Mackenzie Walker’s podcast introduction

In Brief:  Dead Aira mystery serial available on Serial Box, uses multiple platforms to tell its story. It is co-written by Gwenda Bond, Carrie Ryan, and Rachel Caine.

In Depth:   College student Mackenzie Walker is a fan of true crime, and she’s using her midnight slot on the University of Kentucky airwaves to dig into a local case: the murder of Peg Graham, a horse owner who vehemently opposed the casual custom of doping horses in horse racing and pushed for reform. A man confessed to her murder, but soon Mackenzie and her listeners are caught up in what ifs. What if he didn’t really do it? What if the murder wasn’t a crime of passion? What if there was a cover-up? And, what if the killer is still out there, listening to Mackenzie as she moves closer to uncovering the truth?



  • Each episode is released in two formats: text for readers and audio for listeners.
  • Each episode is accompanied by Mackenzie’s podcast, exactly as her listeners hear it.

There will be ten episodes in the series, released weekly; currently, seven episodes are available. A preview of the pilot episode is free. The remaining nine episodes have to be purchased, but the cost for entire season is less than the price of a hardback. Additionally, an omnibus of the series will be released at its conclusion on October 03, 2018, for any readers who’d prefer to wait until the story is complete.

Fans can further immerse themselves in Mackenzie’s world by downloading Mackenzie’s weekly podcast for each episode. The podcasts are free, and provide a journalistic summary of each chapter. However, the podcasts on their own don’t provide the whole story. What isn’t Mackenzie telling her listeners?

This was my first experience with Serial Box and I’ve enjoyed it. The audio version is well produced and, unlike a basic audiobook, is subtly layered with ambient sounds. Narrator Lynn Norris does an excellent job of bringing Mackenzie to life. The text version is handy to pull up when listening to the audio isn’t possible.

The mystery is twisty, the characters are compelling, the Kentucky setting is charming, and, whether you read it or listen to it, this is series is addictive. Hopefully, Gwenda Bond, Carrie Ryan, and Rachel Caine are having as much fun writing this mystery serial as I am listening to it, and a second season of Dead Air is on the horizon. Because, for me, M is for More Mackenzie.



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