Audiobook mini-review: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi


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.


What a treat! This brand-new audiobook is currently available FREE from Audible. How can you resist?

Narrated by actor Zachary Quinto, The Dispatcher is a brief novella that has an immediate hook. The intrigue starts with the opening scene — why is the main character insisting on being allowed into an operating room, and why is the surgeon so angry about it?

As the story unfolds, we learn about the new normal, in which anyone who dies via murder comes back — so that someone deemed irreversibly ill or injured requires the services of a Dispatcher, someone who will intentionally kill the near-death person so they can resume their lives. It’s a totally legal and licensed profession, except when a Dispatcher pick up a little gray-area work on the side.

As the mystery of Tony’s missing friend unfolds, we follow his work with a detective to uncover the seamier side of Dispatching and their race against time to find the missing man before he dies a permanent death. Meanwhile, while the story has many of the tropes of a noir detective story, we’re treated to one odd scenario after another in which we learn just how much our world changes when death is no longer final.

I won’t give away anything further. The Dispatcher is an absolutely glorious audiobook experience. The pacing and plot are fabulous, and Quinto’s narration is pretty much spot on (although his voice for a goonish bodyguard is perhaps too goofy, and his women tend to the breathy end of the vocal spectrum). Still, his reading of the story is terrifically enjoyable, with just the right emphases and pauses and intonations to make it fun and suspenseful.

What are you waiting for? It’s FREE. And it’s great. If sci-fi/speculative fiction is at all your thing, you owe it to yourself to check out The Dispatcher.

And oh yeah.



The details:

Title: The Dispatcher
Author: John Scalzi
Narrator: Zachary Quinto
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication date: October 4, 2016
Audiobook length: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Printed book length: n/a – not available in print format
Genre: Science fiction/speculative fiction
Source: Download via Audible

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