The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

I was excited to see that John Scalzi had a new story coming out. I read his blog religiously (it’s one of the few places I enjoy the political writing, even in this horrible election cycle), and I try to get to all his new books. Everything I’ve read so far, I’ve enjoyed. So, when he announced he had a novella coming out that you could listen to for free off Audible, I was in, even if it wasn’t his typical genre. And, if you hurry, you can still get the audiobook for free through November 5th (I think). Just click on the cover to follow a link to the site!

Published: 2016

Genre: thriller

Length: 75 pages

Setting: Chicago, near future

Summary: Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, which creeps a lot of people out. It seems that something happened so that nearly everyone who is murdered will resurrect at home, in their bed. So, dispatchers were created to kill anyone in danger of accidentally dying so they will resurrect and probably be OK (the trauma of the past few hours before their death is eliminated after resurrection). Tony’s pretty happy with his life, but one of his colleague’s has disappeared. The cop on the job convinces Tony to help her track down the missing dispatcher. They’re pretty sure he’s still alive, since he hasn’t reappeared in his bed. Tony revisits some of the criminal underbelly of Chicago in order to find his missing colleague.

Final thoughts: An interesting premise to base a story off of. What would happen to society if you didn’t die if someone tried to kill you? You can still commit suicide, and you can still die accidentally, but if someone purposefully set out to kill you, you’d resurrect? The plot is a standard “solve the kidnapping case”, but it’s the details on the edges of the story that set it apart. What kind of bloodsports can you develop? As long as someone kills the competitors at the end, all the damage goes away. And of course, the bad guys still figure out how to knock someone off if they really want to – it just takes silence and time.

As a bonus, we get two POC main characters. Tony’s Hispanic and the cop he’s working with is a black woman. Always nice to see some variety in our characters, but Scalzi does tend to pay attention to such things.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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