The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

I have followed John Scalzi online in various forms for quite some time but I have never actually “read” any of his books (I am not a big reader of science fiction).  My only other interaction with his fiction is The God Engines, an audio-book and longish novella I picked up at Half Price Books.

Interestingly enough, The Dispatcher is also an audio-book (which is available for free on Audible during the month of October).  This novella, however was developed in collaboration with Audible, with Zachary Quinto as the narrator,  and was released before the print book (coming out in 2017).

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.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher – a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death’s crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.

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.

Once I downloaded it, I put in the rotation right away as it iwas just a couple of hours of listening. It was an entertaining and well done novella. Scalzi/Quinto drop you into the story and keep you interested from the start. It has an interesting hook and some well done twists. For such a short story, the characters were developed and seemed quite believable in their actions and motivations.  Quinto brings this cast of characters to life.

Part urban fantasy, part police procedural, part mystery.  Definitely worth a listen.  And if you hurry you can get it for free!

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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