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Book Review

The Dispatcher

 

Written by: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Zachary Quinto
Series: The Dispatcher
Genres: Science Fiction | Short Stories
Published: 4th of October, 2016
Length: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

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Description
From master storyteller and Hugo Award-winner John Scalzi comes this Audible Original novella, winner of the 2017 Audie Award for Best Original Work. Emmy-nominated actor Zachary Quinto—best known for his roles as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer Sylar in Heroes—brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this genre-bending thriller.

One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone—999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.

Enter Tony Valdez, professional Dispatcher. True to their name, these licensed assassins are tasked with humanely disposing of people in death’s crosshairs to offer them a second chance at avoiding the reaper. When a friend and fellow Dispatcher goes missing, Valdez is plunged into a web of intrigue both professional and personal.

It's a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it's too late...before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

 

Morgan Hobbes
Morgan Hobbes

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Reviewed: 2020-10-02

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Interesting Premise, Dark, and Delivers
I've not read much of Scalzi, never really followed his work. I've read Lock In and I think that's the sum total... until this came along. I was poking my way through Audible lists when I found this one trending, and it's premise sounded too interesting to pass by.

A world where murder is effectively impossible. If you're killed, deliberately then you have a 99.9% chance of disappearing, then reappearing safe and sound in bed with nothing of the murder but the memory.

Our protagonist Tony Valdez is a "dispatcher", someone bonded and licenced by the city and insurance companies to kill people if it'll give them a better shot a living. Confused? The scenario the book opens with hashes this out pretty well, where Valdez is waiting patiently as doctors perform open-heart surgery on an elderly man. When it goes wrong, and the man is moments from death, then the dispatch steps in for the "kill". Since the man was killed and didn't die naturally, he had a 99.9% chance of being resurrected.

What follows on from there is a plot that follows this premise that Phillip K Dick could have imagined.

Narrated by the enormously talented Zachary Quinto (Heros, Star Trek, etc) the plot is intriguing all the way to the end. As I was nearing the end of this rather short tale, I stumbled upon the reason it was trending. Scalzi had released a book 2, so this made my night! I was itching to hear more of this world and got it right away.

I listened to one after another, only not quite finishing book 2 because it was too late at night. I've since finished it, so I'll be reviewing that one next!

 

 

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