Scamps & Scoundrels, book one of the Bad Guys series by Eric Ugland went by in a flash. At eleven and a half hours, I got sucked all the way and couldn’t stop listening. As soon as I reached the end, I dropped a credit on the second book just so I didn’t have to stop this fun tale of a thief trying to make heads and tails of this new world he finds himself in where he decides to… be a thief.
The story doesn’t spend a lot of time establishing the “why” of the whole thing. We get to see the hero, Ben, in his life, get a measure of the man, and then experience his transition after death into this new world of monsters and magic. All up, this takes maybe half an hour of the book.
Awaking in his new body in the new world, the newly named “Clyde Hatchet” stumbles into a murder taking place, and things get going from there. He is pulled from one place to the next, introduced to people he needs to know to help ease his transition, and generally just trying to work out what the hell is going on.
Unlike a lot of litRPG, we rarely get bogged down in the details. Sure, there is a very, very occasional sheet readout, but for most things, we just get the updates as they happen with little fanfare. EG – a line regarding a level upgrade or a new spell, but not masses of time spent going over old ground.
The humour is good, and the “system” behind the world is nicely snarky at times when Clyde learns a new skill in something useless. Overall, a lot of fun. If I had one complaint, it seemed that the story finished too early. I don’t know if it was because I was so enthralled by it, but it took me by surprise. I felt at the time that perhaps there should have been more.
The narration by Neil Hellegers is excellent, and no quality issues of note. Distinct voices, and great timing, all working together to make it easy to listen to.
So I’ve already bought the second in the series and am rather pleased to see book nine is on the horizon (for audio), and book ten was released on Kindle earlier this year. I’ll be listening to them all in the near future, they’re right in my sweet spot for what I like.