Los Angeles of 2039 is a baffling and bifurcated place. After the Collapse of 2028, a vast section of LA, the Disincorporated Zone, was disowned by the civil authorities and became essentially a third world country within the borders of the city. Navigating the boundaries between DZ and LA proper is a tricky task, and there's no one better suited than eccentric private investigator Erasmus Keane.
When a valuable genetically altered sheep mysteriously goes missing from Esper Corporation's labs, Keane is the one they call. But while the erratic Keane and his more grounded partner, Blake Fowler, are on the trail of the lost sheep, they land an even bigger case. Beautiful television star Priya Mistry suspects that someone is trying to kill her - and she wants Keane to find out who. When Priya vanishes and then reappears with no memory of having hired them, Keane and Fowler realize something very strange is going on.
As they unravel the threads of the mystery, it soon becomes clear that the two cases are connected - and both point to a sinister conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the city. Saving Priya and the sheep will take all of Keane's wits and Fowler's skills, but in the end they may discover that some secrets are better left hidden.
©2016 Robert Kroese (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
I loved some of the author's other books (Starship Grifters, Mercury Trilogy) so I thought I'd give this one a shot. I was blown away. Excellent from start to finish.
Former Executive Producer for Adventures in Scifi Publishing.
Robert Kroese is a shocking talent. His last book, Starship Grifters was a hilarious story that surprised me with its complexity in the end. While that was labeled as a space opera satire, it really had a strong mystery element. That had me very excited for this future noir mystery in The Big Sheep, and I was more than impressed with how he delivered.
The story is a sheep kidnapping turned into a sneak peak in how cloning and a civil collapse within America might change the face of the entertainment industry, not to mention the power structure of authority. Within this very unique plot Kroese delivers witty and lighthearted humor, but the main strength is that we hit a plot climax halfway through that would have been good enough for some people to end on. Kroese instead builds level by level of unraveling mystery into the people we've met and the darkness of their plans and past, while also showing issues of the heart that really drive home our empathy and desire for them to either survive or be thrown off a cliff. I kept wondering if I was going to figure out a clue ahead of time, but Kroese stayed one step ahead all the way to the end. Even now I'm shocked at what just happened.
The narrator, Fred Berman, was equally as superb. Every voice and the tension and humor delivered in every scene made him the perfect compliment to Kroese's authorial voice.
I hate to say it, since Starship Grifters was so hysterical, but this is my favorite Kroese book to date.
In the LA of 2039, 11 years after the crash of the economy, LA is split into 2 parts, the LA for everyone who wasnt broke enough to be stuck in what is now the Disincorporated Zone, or DZ (Basically, Compton and the rest of South Central LA), and the people stuck in the DZ. Erasmus Keane, and his partner Blake Fowler are paid investigators who handle a variety of cases. In the case at the start of the book, Esper Corp has hired them to find a stolen genetically altered sheep. This sheep leads to a series of improbable adventures, tying into another case with a world famous actress, and leads to shocking discoveries about Keane, the sheep, the actress, and the wold as they know it!
I have seen this book called a combo of Blade Runner and Dirk Gentley's Hollistic Detective Agency. I can see that, but I would further characterize Erasmus Keane's Character as a combo between the TV characters Monk and House, MD. If you can wrap your heads around that one, you should really enjoy the flowing dialogue and fast paced plot of this book. Lots of laughs too, with a characters that seem all too real.
Fred Berman is a revelation as a narrator. I had never heard him before, but wow, is he good. He really brings an already good story to life, giving each character a humanity that makes it seem like its happening right next to you, not just descriptions from a page.
If you are a fan of Rob's other work, such as his Mercury or Rex Nihilio books, then this is a must have for you.
I love big ideas where ever they come from. Science fiction is a favorite hobby, but I also explore history, memoirs and social science.
Science Fiction is at its best when it is a metaphor for something we face today. It just so happens when you make it funny and quirky and fill it with a bunch of plot twists, you get smart entertainment.
Robert Kroese, author of the very complex and witty and yet slapstick Starship Grifters, delivers a grand slam with Big Sheep. I really do not want to spoil the plot, so I won't. But let's just say that while you read this book, you might read (listen to) chapter one and think "ok, what's the big deal?". My dear reader, you don't know what you are in for. PAY ATTENTION. Like all great books, this one lays everything in plain sight, but you just can't see it. Let the book unfold and you will see all kinds of very interesting ethical dilemmas play out that leave you thinking, guessing and wondering what will happen next.
At no point after chapter 3 does the book ever drag. The stage is set quickly and the action begins. But instead of just being mindless action, the book engages you into a mystery that gradually gets bigger and bigger and bigger. By the end, the entire fate of Los Angeles in a post apocalyptic world is at stake and yet you will still be focused on THE BIG SHEEP.
Fred Bermans does a superb job reading the book. He uses a very quick voice for the protagonist that sounds a lot like Joe Pesci that makes you think you're in a futuristic My Cousin Vinny. He has a wide range of voice for the other characters and he reads with great expression and emotion. I thought his female voices were even well ranged. When he expresses the outrage of a body guard in chapter 31 (Something to the effect of 'I just want to love the damsel in distress, but you @hole detective keep bringing up this f'ing sheep!') you feel the rage and the hilarity at the same time. I laughed out loud.
Seriously, I've been wanted to find a great book for the summer and had not found one until I stumbled upon Big Sheep. Highly endorse. Hope you love it.
I was seriously afraid of getting this book due to it's constant association with Raymond Chandler style detective stories. I hate hard boiled detective stories. I'd rather be beaten with a half brick in a sock than read a story with Harry Dresden or Mike Hammer in it. Just the presence of a private investigator is usually enough to make me skip a book.
But, I really like Rob Kroese. So, I went in really wanting to like this novel and sure I would hate it. Now, I'm struggling to write a positive review on Audible because I was wrong for doubting him. This is a great book, only I'm struggling to think of ways to express it because I really, really want to gripe more about bloody hard boiled detective nonsense.
The book is great. Since the two author comparison are so popular, imagine taking Scalzi's "Android's Dream" and duct taping it together with a random Dresden Files novel, and then hitting Jim Butcher with it until he knew better. That really doesn't have much to do with The Big Sheep, but the image of Jim Butcher being bludgeoned always makes me smile.
Ok, ok, back on topic. Fred Berman's narration was okay. I'm giving it full marks because I'm not sure if anyone else will be quite as bothered about the voice used for Roy as I am. I will definitely not be seeking out anything else done by Fred Berman. If there's a follow-up Erasmus Keane novel, I hope it has a different narrator.
if you like crime mysteries with lots of twists and turns and thrills and chills with gun play and showdowns up to the very end you might enjoy this.
lots of misdirection at the same time lots of things that you can predict in this rather traditional crime drama with science fiction subplots.
personally the body count was too high and grotesque for me. too much talking exposition.
enjoyed star grifters much more.
I have read a lot of PI books set in southern CA and this is futuristic spin on that kind of book. At first I thought it would be silly - and it is a bit silly - but the characters were well developed and the story kept on moving.
Blake Fowler. You had to feel for him as he kept the various factions at bay and sorted out a wacky scenario.
Yes. His voice was a little scratchy sounding at first but he did a good job of reading with inflection and making the various characters sound different. He was a good choice for a PI story set in La.
It doesn't need a follow-up but I could see them solving other cases. I would read more books with these characters.
I loved this book. It has compelling characters with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. The plot is tight. No threads are left hanging, and they all tie together nicely. There are a few well-placed twists and turns that will surprise even the most experienced reader.
The world is well thought out and captivating. The suspension of disbelief is not really required.
Rob Kroese is a funny guy. There are many scenes where I laughed out loud! If you like his humor, you will want to check out his other books.
Fred Berman did an outstanding job bringing the various characters to life. His performance definitely added the prose.
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