Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Murder by Other Means (The Dispatcher#2), by John Scalzi (author), Zachary Quinto (narrator)

Audible Originals, September 2020

Tony Valdez is serious and professional about his work as a Dispatcher, and normally tries to stick strictly to the legal and ethical side of the business. Times have gotten hard with the declining economy, though, and to keep paying the bills, he's had to take a few jobs that are a little shady.

The latest, for a Chinese businessman who says he needs to get back to Beijing very quickly or lose out on a business deal, is about as close to the line as he's willing to go. He charges a premium for that, and is paid in cash.

These, seemingly coincidentally, after a series of stops to pay some bills, leads him to be in the lobby of his bank just as a bank robbery happens. There are some very odd features to this bank robbery, but that's nothing to the series of deaths that happen afterward.
None of these deaths can possibly be Tony's fault. They're suicides, not murders. But they're suicides that, at best, make no sense. The first is a cop who was sure, for not entirely crazy reasons, that Tony was somehow involved in the bank robbery. Another is the bank manager, whose own behavior was strange after the robbery. Tony talks to him a couple of times; after the second time, he throws himself in front of a train.

The suicides are adding up, and Tony is connected to all of them, and has no good alibi for any of them.

It's a nasty little puzzle, and he's going to need some unlikely allies to solve it.

I like Tony, and some of his friends, and the basic decency with which he pursues his very odd profession. Recommended.

I got this audiobook as part of Audibile's Audible Originals program, and I'm reviewing it voluntarily.

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