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The Automatic Detective | [A. Lee Martinez]

The Automatic Detective

Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it's hard for a robot to make his way. It's even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack's not interested in world domination. He's just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn't just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just cant catch a break.
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Publisher's Summary

Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it's hard for a robot to make his way. It's even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack's not interested in world domination. He's just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn't just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just can't catch a break.

When Mack's neighbors are kidnapped, Mack sets off on a journey through the dark alleys and gleaming skyscrapers of Empire City. Along the way, he runs afoul of a talking gorilla, a brainy dame, a mutant lowlife, a little green mob boss, and the secret conspiracy at the heart of Empire's founders - not to mention more trouble than he bargained for. What started out as one missing family becomes a battle for the future of Empire and every citizen that calls her home.

©2008 A. Lee Martinez (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Martinez tickles the funny bone in this delightful, fast-paced mishmash of SF and hard-boiled detective story.... Eccentric characters, all of whom are clever twists on stereotypes, populate a smart, rocket-fast read with a clever, twisty plot that comes to a satisfying conclusion." (Publishers Weekly)

“This combination sci-fi/hard-boiled detective story is a hoot….Narrator Marc Vietor approaches the story with a classic noir tone that is hilarious.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (606 )
5 star
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4.2 (496 )
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4.4 (494 )
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4 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Windy Mid Coast Maine 04-19-11
    Windy Mid Coast Maine 04-19-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
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    7
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    "Wonderful Narration performance"

    A good story mixing the genre of hard boiled detective yarn with solid Science fiction with a deft touch of humor this was the first by this author I have listened too it will not be the last.

    But major kudos for the performance by the narrator. I have listened to Mr. Vietor before and found him to be one of the better artists here on Audible but this performance moves him up to the top rank. his work catches all the best notes of a classic Dragnet and has just the right deadpan "just the Facts, ma m" tone and is to be praised.
    I have bought over 230 books here and other than the works of the masters of classic Science fiction (you know who they are) and Terry Pratchett's works this is the first 5 star I have given to a 'new' author

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer the High Desert 09-29-11
    Amazon Customer the High Desert 09-29-11 Member Since 2005

    patroo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    155
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    "A charming hard-boiled, hardware detective story"

    A bot's gotta' do what a bot's gotta' do. Automated citizen candidate (pending full citizenship) Mack Megabot drives a cab and scratches out a scanty living, barely able to pay for his electrical recharges and his rent. He enjoys a higher status than other robots, and has been deemed eligible for potential citizenship after he completes a probationary period.

    Marc Vietor does a superb job of reading this wondrous tale - I would not have loved it nearly as much if it had been read in a traditional manner. Vietor does the hardboiled detective to perfection, giving Mack a voice and a personality beyond what Martinez gave him in words.

    Mack stumbles into a kidnapping of a biological (human) family that he knows. He doesn't really feel affection, and doesn't have friends in the traditional sense, but he's a learning robot, and he's learning to care. He cares about this family, and after reading a note written on the back of a child's drawing, he realizes that they truly have been kidnapped and are in danger.

    As Mack begins to understand and look into the missing family, his apartment blows up. The only thing he salvages is the battered drawing from the refrigerator - isn't that where all art is posted?

    He needs a place to stay, so he heads for the apartment of a fellow cabbie, an intelligent gorilla named Jung. Jung is well spoken, educated, and a good friend, even if Mack doesn't really get the friend concept. Mack has lost all of his clothes in the explosion, so Jung lends him some attire. High status robots are allowed to wear clothes, and Mack doesn't feel right without something to wear.

    After a recharge, courtesy of Jung, Mack hits the streets in search of info, and meets another biological, a wealthy woman who is a researcher and inventor of robotic upgrades and various high tech devices. He's wary of her friendly overtures until the house robot butler points out that the lady is being nice to him, and that he oughta' be nice back (the butler has a Brooklyn accent).

    The streets of his city are full of strange mutant beings and chimeras created by science, including a fuzzball, a cross between a dachsund and a pill bug that rolls up into a hairy, yapping ball for play.

    Mack realizes that he needs help from his friends, or he'll get nowhere. WIth his own heavy duty construction and killer design (literally - he was built for battle), he takes on the pilgrims who are changing the citizens of the city into monsters, seeking the lost family.

    He finds a lot more than he ever bargained for, and then some.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonsen Greenville, SC, United States 09-19-11
    Anonsen Greenville, SC, United States 09-19-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Surprise"

    I bought this book on a whim having never heard of the author. Partly because it was on sale and partly because I had recently immersed myself in old time radio detective shows. This book was a hit from the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-17-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Unexpected!"

    I wasn't sure about listening to this book, but after reading the other reviews I decided to give it a try. I was unexpectedly surprised by the "old detective" feel to this sci-fi book. It was a joy to listen to and I expect it will be on my "repeat listen" list in the future.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Columbus, MS, United States 06-29-11
    Sharon Columbus, MS, United States 06-29-11 Member Since 2006

    sharonfosterart

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    "Blast from the er.. Past, Future? or a combo"

    Fresh inventive work here. Mack is my hero! Hope to see much more from this author.

    Martinez gives character development a whole new meaning.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wildmon az 05-03-11
    wildmon az 05-03-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    82
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    "fun and nostalgic"

    at first i wondered if it had been written in the 70's, it had that kind of good old sci-fi feel. I was surprised to see how recent it had been written. It was a fun and entertaining story and well read. Loved the classic gum shoe style.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 04-22-11
    Dan El Paso, TX, United States 04-22-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    342
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    "Good New Author"

    I've never read any of Martinez's books before, but I definitely will be doing so more in the future.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara Highgate Hill, Australia 09-10-11
    Tamara Highgate Hill, Australia 09-10-11
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    "Fantastic narration and an entertaining story"

    Possibly one of the most entertaining audiobooks I've bought in the last year. I'd never heard of this author before, and this was an impulse purchase based on the strength of some of the other reviews. It's a quirky new take on the classic noir genre.

    Marc Vietor brings the story to life in a fantastic first person narration that captures the essence of the characters. I'll definitely be checking out other books by both the author and narrator.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-29-11
    David Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-29-11 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great read..."

    Fun, light and a quick read. This was a very enjoyable experience with a romance full of twists and turns coupled with a wonderful futuristic setting. This was my first Lee Martinez book and I will be checking him out soon.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew roselle park, NJ, United States 06-24-11
    Matthew roselle park, NJ, United States 06-24-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely Wonderful Book."

    I've never listened/read a book by A. Lee Martinez, but I will surely be looking into his other releases after this listen. Marc Vietor did a glorious job with the subject matter, I mean I guess he is the go to guy when it comes to "robot crime noir".

    One of the best I've listened to so far in 2011.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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