New gangland crime podcast Gripped: Second Son from LiSTNR

LiSTNR’s new six-part immersive gangland crime audio fiction series Gripped: Second Son takes the audience on an adventure full of cliff-hangers and didn’t-see-it-coming double-crosses. It is adapted from the award-winning novel The Second Son by Australian crime writer Loraine Peck by former gang-member-turned-investigative-journalist, writer and reporter, Mahmood Fazal.

Gripped: Second Son is told from a variety of perspectives; from the protagonists Jamil, his wife Amy and their son Salim, as well as the antagonist Knox. Jamil and Amy are voiced respectively by Lincoln Younes (Jamil) who played John Ibrahim in the Paramount miniseries Last King of the Cross, and actor and daughter of INXS member Kirk Pengilly, April Rose Pengilly (Amy). Australian actress Zoe Carides voices Detective MacPherson.

LiSTNR’s Head of Factual and Drama Jennifer Goggin said the podcast is the story of a man having to choose between family and loyalty to his gang.

“We chose The Second Son book for LiSTNR to adapt as an audio drama because it explores social, racial, and familial themes that were as interesting as the action that drove the thriller element of the story. Although the audio series adaptation is wrapped up in a different gangland era and setting from the book, the characters grapple with, and discuss, social issues at the forefront of public discourse in Australia today, like the migrant experience, racism in Australia, being torn between your duty as a parent and your responsibilities to your own parents, the allure of gang culture, and police racial-profiling.”

Fazal adapted Peck’s book with a team of consultants to represent the nationalities, faiths, languages and communities in Gripped: Second SonHe said:

“I wanted to create this underworld, on the margins of society, that shows what happens when everyone misunderstands one another and overrides the truth with their own interests, prejudices and egos. I imagined how real people from the criminal milieu, that I know personally, might fit into the story and used their thought patterns and motivations as instigators of the plot. The story has come to life in a terrifyingly immersive way.”

The podcast looks likely to get a sequel with Peck saying:

“My book is about a Croatian crime family: the Novaks. To see their story from the point of view of the Haqqs, a Lebanese family, is to consider why some immigrant families—regardless of nationality—can feel and act like outliers during those first generations in a new country.

The casting of Lincoln Younes as Johnny/Jamil, April Rose Pengilly as Amy, and Zoe Carides as Detective MacPherson are all inspired moves, their voices ringing true for me regardless of the change in nationality and storyline. It is amazing to see which direction an interpretation of a book will go. Newness, innovation and change are at the centre of all great art. This gives listeners a chance to delve deeper into this story and receive a fresh take by reading—or listening to—the original book The Second Son and its sequel The Double Blind.” 

Original music was commisioned from Western Sydney artist, Vincent Assaf.

Gripped: Second Son has released Episode 1 & 2 on LiSTNR. New episodes are out each Wednesday at 6am until March 13 2024. The series then will be available on other platforms from March 20.

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