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Crime, Entertainment

Gangland Crime Thriller Podcast GRIPPED: SECOND SON Releases TODAY on LiSTNR

Listnr 5 mins read
LiSTNR's new six-part gangland-crime audio fiction series Gripped: Second Son, adapted from the award-winning novel The Second Son by Australian crime writer Loraine Peck begins today




Gang leader Harun Haqq is murdered, triggering a turf-war on the streets of Sydney.

Bloodshed seems inevitable, but Harun’s younger brother Jamil doesn’t want to take on his new role as ruthless crime boss. Jamil’s father and crew insist he must avenge his brother’s death, but after one too many close calls, Jamil’s wife Amy is adamant that enough is enough – it’s time for them to leave this life of danger and protect their impressionable teenage son, Salim.

The question is, what will Jamil have to do to escape this life for good?


This is the explosive setting for LiSTNR’s new six-part gangland-crime audio fiction series Gripped: Second Son, a dark and action-packed thriller full of unseen twists and cliff-hangers, adapted from the award-winning novel The Second Son by Australian crime writer Loraine Peck. The first two episodes drop today, listen here


The adaption was written by former gang-member-turned-investigative-journalist, writer and reporter, Mahmood Fazal. It’s compulsive, immersive listening full of gripping cliff-hangers, high-octane action-packed episodes  and didn’t-see-it-coming double-crosses. Unease and suspense blankets every episode, as listeners become fully immersed in the drama.


Gripped: Second Son is told through 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 model and daughter of INXS member Kirk Pengilly April Rose Pengilly (Amy) with AFI-nominated Australian actress Zoe Carides of Death in Brunswick, Janet King, Top of the Lake fame as Detective MacPherson.


LiSTNR’s Head of Factual and Drama Jennifer Goggin said at its core Gripped: Second Son is the story of a man torn between family honour, his duty as a parent and husband, and his 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,” she said.


Jennifer and her team worked with acclaimed investigative journalist and former gang member Mahmood Fazal writing the adaptation, and a team of consultants representing the nationalities, faiths, languages and communities that are represented in Gripped: Second Son.


“Mahmood Fazal’s role was to take the great source material in Loraine Peck’s novel, and adapt the story-format, its structure, and dialogue into a modern, audio-first drama series,” said Jennifer.


“Mahmood is an investigative journalist, and has produced many stories on gang culture, police brutality, prison life and abuses in juvenile detention systems in Australis for ABC, VICE, The Guardian and others. We wanted him to bring his experiences researching and reporting these stories to the script-writing process, to give depth, truth and complexity to the characters and the world represented in the series.”


Mahmood Fazal said he was excited to build The Second Son into a fast-paced story that felt like a reflection of contemporary gang culture in Western Sydney.


“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,” he said. “The story has come to life in a terrifyingly immersive way.”


The LiSTNR team hired a cast that, for the majority, fit the cultural background of their character by reaching out to local Sydney artist collectives and community acting groups, and only turning to larger casting agents when needed.


“We encouraged cast members to be vocal about any changes they felt were necessary from a representation or realism perspective during both the scripting stage and in the studio,” continued LiSTNR’s Jennfer Goggin.


“This was a fantastic process and the quality of show benefitted from it greatly; we gained a greater insight into things like Islamic funeral practices, Lebanese familial naming conventions and Iraqi slang.”


“Our organized crime consultants shared insights into police surveillance techniques, encrypted communication devices, and branding techniques for different gangs to distinguish their drug shipments from each other. All these insights were built into the series to increase the accuracy and realism and help the listener to do what all great drama should do, to immerse you and help you step into the experience of someone else.”


“We also commissioned original music from Western Sydney artist, Vincent Assaf, which you can hear throughout the series foreshadowing the action. The entire production process on this series took close to a year to complete, so it is very exciting to finally be able to release the series for everyone to hear.”


Author of The Second Son Loraine Peck said she was excited that this story, inspired by her characters, was getting another life in a different medium.


“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,” she said. 


“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.” 


GRIPPED: SECOND SON – Episode 1 & 2 releases TODAY 14 February on the LiSTNR App

New episodes drop each Wednesday at 6am until March 13

The series will begin to roll out on all other platforms from March 20 onwards




Series Writer: Mahmood Fazal                                    

Director and Senior Producer: Zlatina Matolov

Drama Producer: Stephanie Van Schilt                        

Executive Producer: Jennifer Goggin

Audio Production, Sound Design, Foley, Mix & Original Music: Matt Nikolic

Original Music: Vincent Assaf


About LiSTNR:

LiSTNR is a curated and personalised, free app offering radio, podcasts, music, and news, creating a new audio destination for all Australians. Featuring a fun and intuitive onboarding process, LiSTNR delivers an audio destination that is built for individual listeners’ routines and preferences. Highly personalised, it provides listeners a new world of audio entertainment, with their own daily feed of audio and easy discovery of new content through curated recommendations. Available across a large array of devices including both iOS and Android, CarPlay and Android Auto, Google Assistant and Alexa and Android TV, LiSTNR enables a fantastic listening experience, anytime and anywhere. Open your Ears to a new world of audio – download the free app today.



Contact details:

Kath Rose on 0416 291 493 or  


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