Monday, January 16, 2017

The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi (author), Zachary Quinto (narrator)

Audible Studios, October 2016

One day, the world changed, in a simple but far-reaching way. It's now nearly impossible to intentionally kill anyone.

If you kill yourself, you're dead. If you die in an accident, or of natural causes, you're dead. Butif someone intentionally kills you, 999 out of a thousand, you come back. You wake up alive, naked, and in what you consider a safe place.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher, a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch someone in immediate danger of death so that they have (999 times out of 1,000) a second chance at beating the cause of death. Dispatchers are, for instance, required to be present for all surgical operations by both the patient's and the hospital's insurance.

But dispatchers can also take private jobs, some more legitimate than others. Tony doesn't like the "unofficial" work and doesn't do it.. He only does "official" jobs and some very select, wholly above-board private jobs now. An old friend of his, though, continued doing private jobs routinely--and has now disappeared.

The police are looking for him. The missing friend's wife blames Tony. A rich, powerful old man who was the missing man's last client before he disappeared asks Tony whether it has ever happened that a dispatcher has "failed," i.e., had the dispatched person not return twice in succession.

And a mobster who has supposedly gone legit has a lot of questions about Tony's interest in the case.

I really like Tony, even though it gradually becomes clear he hasn't been entirely honest with us. The police detective on the case is also quite likable, though she and Tony find each other a pain in the posterior.

Recommended.

I got this on Audible while it was being offered free.