A supernatural thriller with a vigilante twist.
They say suicides are damned for eternity. But if possessing the bodies of violent criminals is Hell, then Dan Jenkins will take it. And he does every time a portal arrives to whisk him from his ghostly exile.
Dan rides the living like a supernatural jockey, pushing out their consciousness and taking over. He doesn't know where their minds go while he's in charge, and for the most part doesn't care. He's just happy to live again.
Normally, before the villain returns to kick him out, Dan dishes out a final serving of justice and leaves the world a safer place. It's one of the rules if he wants more rides, and he's happy to oblige. For a part-time dead guy, it's a pretty good gig.
And then he meets her.
©2013 John L. Monk (P)2016 John L. Monk
Riveting story by a great writer, naturally that is where my Amazon review was focused…the remainder of this review will be an attempt to describe how picture-perfect narration and near flawless audio production brought the story and characters in this novel to life.
I have 70+ audiobooks and I never write reviews, but this performance is unquestionably one of the greatest narrations I have ever heard…with the likes of Frank Muller, Barbara Rosenblat and Stephen Fry. The vocal performance transformed spoken work into a movie reel playing inside my head. I have read books I couldn’t put down, but this is the first audiobook that engrossed me enough to lose sleep over until I was finished…at 2:45 AM to be exact.
I am eager to discover more of Steve Phelan's narration work online, or for his next audiobook release. Right now I do not see other audiobooks under Steve Phelan’s hyperlink (on Audible at least). For me, narration really is what makes all the difference. You need the story AND the storyteller to create a masterpiece…this audiobook has both. Truly a work of art.
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
When Dan was a confused college kid having issues with his girlfriend, he committed suicide. Since then he's been in - what he calls - "the Great Wherever" but regularly gets sent by "the Great Whomever" into the bodies of living humans - usually violent criminals - to dispense justice. Typically, he has about 3 weeks to figure out what the person, or his "ride" as Dan calls it, has done and what vigilante action is required. Then he is kicked out of the body again by the original owner's consciousness.
It took me a little while to become fully invested in this story, as it started off with a couple of episodes showing the usual cycle Dan goes through. At that stage, the story seemed to lack continuity. It was almost like listening to a string of short stories, but I can appreciate why the author structured it in this manner. Then Dan enters the body of Nate, who seems to be totally different from his usual rides, and by that stage, I was hooked. Dan was a very likable character, remorseful, generous and a bit of a nerd, and in spite of the fantastical nature of the story, he felt like a very authentic person. The story was well-paced and delivered in a snappy, lighthearted style with plenty of wit and some very funny remarks, although the plot was obviously quite dark and at times violent.
Steve Phelan did a great job portraying the protagonist Dan in exactly the way you would imagine him. His normal voice, pacing, and rhythm were very pleasant for listening and the male characters were portrayed well and with distinct voices. The female characters, however, not so much. It was the common case of a male voice artist making females sound like Minnie Mouse or worse. Because of the type of story it was, it wasn't too frustrating and I would definitely listen to Mr. Phelan again, as the rest of his performance was excellent. There were no problems with the quality of the production, which contained some nice sound effects.
I'm hoping John L. Monk's sequel, Fool's Ride, will also be made available on audio.
Creative, well-written and enjoyable, I would certainly recommend this if you like supernatural thrillers or remember Quantum Leap and Dexter with fondness.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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Mother of 8, grandmother of 12, RN and book nerd
Love the story! What a great idea. This is a series I'll be following for sure. Can't wait until the next one is out. Narration by Steve Phelan is perfect! He brought this character to life! Worth the credit or the price. You won't be disappointed!
Dan Jenkins suicide didn't get him out of his so called cruddy life, well I guess it did get him out of his life, but not the lives of those he gets dropped into. Some were really bad guys that deserve to die, others just need a push in the right direction, either way, in time Dan would get kicked out of the body and dropped into another. But these lives are always a living hell for Dan until he gets the assignment of a lifetime.
John Monk took a really interesting turn on a old subject and wow how did he add so much action and humor. This book is really good and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens to Dan next. I had the audiobook narrated by Steve Phelan who did a great job with all the different characters and made the story awesome to listen too. The characters in the book are very realistic and the story moves at a great pace that will keep you page turning or in your car (or on the treadmill) listening. So whichever way you choose to enjoy this book it won't let you down.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
Usually, I am writing that I didn't like a book as much as I expected to. Not this one. It really took me by surprise and was such a fun, easy listen.
The plot has been well-described above and in others' reviews. It is what I like to call magical realism. Briefly, Dan Jenkins is in a limbo-like state (for a reason), where he is thrust into the bodies of random people for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. He calls these episodes "rides". During that time, he must interact with that person's family and acquaintances, masquerading as the other person as best he can. He also must find out the purpose for his "ride" and make a resolution before the person inevitably reclaims their body and kicks Dan out. Quite often, his "rides" are very unpleasant, criminal types. Not always, though.
Dan is a truly likable fellow. You can't help but enjoy his first person narrative. Sure, this story requires lots of leaps of imagination and really could have deteriorated into silliness or stupidity, but it didn't.
The narration was superb and greatly added to the enjoyability factor. Steve Phelan is a master of voices. His female voices were SO funny and great, they always brought a smile to my face!
I will definitely check out John L. Monk's next book in this series. Highly recommended if you are looking for a fun listen.
Justin Sloan is a video game writer, novelist, and screenwriter. He studied writing at the Johns Hopkins University MA in writing and UCLA.
Kick is a well-written book that brings to mind Quantum Leap and Dexter in a way that keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. It is fun, terrifying, and can at times be quite emotional. Enjoy!
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, novelist.
In the humorous irreverence, flippant narrative style, inventive use of metaphor, contemporary cultural touchstones, and wacky concept, John L. Monk's writing will remind you of Christopher Moore. At times he seems to be channeling Moore. The concept was novel (pun intended), though the picaresque nature of the narrative began to rub it little thin by the end. Nonetheless, Monk brought it all to a satisfactory conclusion. Steve Phelan did a decent job differentiating the male characters, though several of the female characters sound like Minnie Mouse which, given the underlying humor of the first-person narrator, worked well enough.
"Good fun and a different type of story."
Likable and yet flawed main character with a refreshingly different type of book. Funny in places and thought provoking in others, I found myself relating to Dan. Good fun to read!
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