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Dopamine

Narrated by: Daniel Casper
Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Have you lost your mind? They’ll kill you. Are you willing to literally bet your life on--"

"On my own technical expertise? Yes. Always."

It was supposed to be just another software job. It wasn't supposed to involve dodging bullets, igniting explosions, out-driving hit men, or bluffing his way through the dens of international crime lords. Danny's big brain has always served him well at a workstation or a soldering bench, but will he be smart enough to survive the engineering challenge of a lifetime?

Danny, a onetime computer whiz-kid now in his late 30s, is still lamenting his latest dot-com failure when tech investor Jason Tuttle offers him a special assignment: hack into Tungsten Medical Technologies and steal their pharmaceutical research.

At first, Danny and his team of semi-competent geeks relish the chance to play-act as cyber-criminals, but they soon discover they aren't the only ones interested in the secretive biotechnology firm. Their ill-timed computer shenanigans interrupt an armed break-in of the laboratory by the Russian mafia, and Danny lands squarely in the crosshairs of a local cocaine kingpin. He soon finds himself hunted by drug dealers and exploited by Machiavellian corporate moguls in a battle over a test tube of genetically engineered bacteria.

With the help of Tina, an amateur microbiologist desperate for professional recognition, Danny must use his technical skills to elude his powerful pursuers - and, with luck, maybe even beat them at their own game.

Dopamine is a present-day cyberpunk novel - and a celebration of the fact that such a thing as "a present-day cyberpunk novel" is even possible. Featuring some of the most accurate and accessible depictions of computer hacking and biotechnology ever to appear in a work of fiction, Dopamine is a wild ride for anyone who marvels at knowing that the real world we live in today was once strictly the realm of far-fetched fantasy.

©2016 Mikhail Voloshin (P)2019 Daniel Casper Media LLC

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than I thought possible!

I've been a fan of this book for a long time and was so excited when I heard this was coming. Simply put I'm blown away. The cast is incredible, and I feel like I'm experiencing the whole story again for the first time. You have to hear it, two thumbs up!!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Modern Techno-Thriller. Real Tech and Biololgy.

Story:
This excellent novel brings a cast of familiar, even archetypal nerds to bear with the forces of the mafia, and embroils them in a plot to take over the drug marketplace with a new high tech manufacturing method.
Great pacing and plot, Echoes of Michael Crichton's work infuse the adventurous and often humorous tale with a soul of realism and modernity that will thrill those knowledgeable about the subject matter, and deeply satisfy the curiosity of the rest.
There were many times that I had a huge grin knowing that the hero was using real world hacking techniques that I was familiar with, and then he passed beyond the threshold of my own skills and I was captivated to see how he would solve the problems at hand.
Characters are wonderful to get to know, By the end of the book, I felt like I knew them as friends, and would be happy to have called them such.

Narration:
The Narrator brings a cinematic quality to the story that I really appreciated, and he made the spaces between sections and paragraphs pop with a welcome tension. His rendition of the hero felt very natural to the dialogue as written and believable. Most of the guest characters bring individuality to the cast that enhances the moment to moment flow of the story and allow the tale to effuse charm and humor, or tension, as fits the scene. the cast is quite varied and although some of the characters had a cartoony vibe that I didn't like, it didn't hurt the experience too much.

I give it 4 stars in each category, to indicate that while there is room for improvement on many fronts, both author and narrator put out an excellent first outing.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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When is the movie being made?

This book was seriously good enough to be made into a blockbuster movie.

It felt like I was listening to a hacker movie like Sneakers or Swordfish. The main difference is that while these movies use a lot of technobabble Mikhail got all the tech stuff right. It was quite refreshing and sometimes funny when non-technical characters expected movie style miracles.

I was laughing within 30 minutes and on the edge of my seat throughout. There is a really interesting twist about halfway through. The action is top notch. It was very fun to listen to.

The narrator's voice for Danny sounds a lot like the voice of Thomas Middleditch (the actor who plays Richard on Silicon Valley). I double checked to make sure that he wasn't the narrator. I think that the resemblance may have been intentional because Danny and Richard are similar in a lot of ways and this set my expectations about the hacker crew. Each character was quite unique but this is to be expected from a full cast production. All the voice actors were excellent.

Warning: there is a great deal of violence, a bit of drug use, and a really steamy sex scene. If you are opposed to any of these then this story might not be for you.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great technical details with plenty of action

I have read two different versions of this book (A beta version off of the author’s website and then the Kindle version as well) and I have to say that listening to the audiobook version was the best yet! Mikhail put enough real world details in play to be believable but not so much as to be boring to a relative laymen. Plenty of action. I enjoyed this very much!!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gets hacking right

As an IT professional, I always cringe when books get into talking about hacking because it is always handled so poorly. It's presented as all-powerful, quick, and easy. Instead the author shows its limitations, the fact that usually it's done by hacking people rather than machines and that to do it right takes time, talent and skill. That said, some of the techno-jargon the author delivers is probably a lot less interesting to non-tech people and might be off-putting. I chalk that up to this being the first novel.

Daniel's delivery and narration is spectacular, breathing life and vitality into characters that could be cookie-cutter and bland from someone else. For a first-time narrator to have the breadth of voices available, accents, and emotion is truly wonderful and I look forward to following him to other projects he might work on.

I received a copy of this book at my request in exchange for a fair review.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!!

I really enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting. The narrator did a fantastic job of bringing the story and characters to life. I highly recommend it!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Thrilling (and scientifically accurate) Sci-Fi

I don't usually read light science fiction novels that try to rely heavily on verisimilitude. All too often, the facts and details about technical subjects in science fiction are glossed over in order to produce a more entertaining work. Ask anyone in the IT industry, or someone with a science degree, how often writers get it right. The answer is almost never. That certainly isn't the case with Dopamine. Every technical detail in this book is exhaustively researched and expertly communicated through its characters, though sometimes to the point of tedium. Nonetheless, if you're an information sponge like myself, you'll enjoy the short technical lectures by the plucky nerds as much as the action.

And boy, is there action. When I first heard about the premise of the book, I didn't expect it to be as much of a thriller as it was. But there are enough gun fights, car chases, and high-stakes standoffs to fill a Quentin Tarantino movie. Make no mistake, Dopamine packs a punch. I usually drag my feet when finishing books, but the pace of the action kept me hooked. Especially in the last couple of chapters. Definitely make sure to stick around until then.

While the story itself could stand on its own, the performance by the cast elevates it to entirely different level. Clearly, Daniel Casper and Mikhail Voloshin are way ahead of the curve when it comes to producing an enjoyable audio book. After listening to Dopamine, I question why anyone would ever produce an audio book without a full cast ever again. The amount of energy, emotion, and life each actor brings into this work cannot be overstated. Going back to a single-narrator style production will be very difficult after listening to this one.

All in all, this was an incredible achievement for a first-time author and producer. Congratulations, you two! I look forward to whatever comes next!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tour-de-force debut for both author and producer

The recording artist vividly brings this exciting story to life with a heartfelt narration and a delightful cast of voices. Casper's decision to use multiple performers, together with his arrangement of which voices play which parts, makes the characters easy to differentiate and the action easy to follow. The result is a fast, fun ride that delights the ear and excites the mind. Don't be scared to try a dose of "Dopamine"!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A mix of tech and a great story!

The story was fantastic and somehow believable all the same. Many of the places mentioned are real and are easily recalled from my memory.

Having been part of the dot com bubble of the late 90s and early 00s I recognize the main characters frustration with technology companies and the investors that chopped them up.

The author really has created a fun story that will make the technicaly inclined grin and also entertain all who partake.

Great work Mikhail!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A thriller for techies engineers and scienists

This recording ranks high in terms of quality.
There are never moments where I don't understand the plot or miss a detail.
I never had to rewind or do double takes. All voice actors have clean articulate voices.

Instead of one narrator, several other voice actors fill different roles. The females sound female, the Russians sound Russian. Danny sounds nerdy and intelligent. Julie sounds witty and bratty. Jason sounds like an old, experienced, and hardy tech-vc.

This Audio is enjoyable on the merits of not having to exert myself to listen. It flows freely and is incredibly effort free to consume. This gave me the mental space to pay closer attention to the story.

I recommend this to anyone new to audio books and is still trying to train themselves to pay attention and peice together stories using audio. I would also recommend this to people that listen to audio books to drive and constantly have to split their attention between the road and the book. Having a story told well makes it much easier.

Clean voices aside, the story stuck with me. I work as a software developer and have an active interest in science related topics. The technical details/jargon actually made sense. Both when it came to the hacking, and the general commentary about technology in general. The plot also uses things in multiple technical disciplines like biology, physics, or IT to advance the story.

The formula for those plot elements goes like this.

1. Keep elements/details of the plot hidden, or certain problems hard to solve.
2. Explain how something tech or science related works in simple terms.
3. Use that knowledge to solve a puzzle/mystery.
4. Either you guess how it's going to be used, or the author reveals it when it happens.

What's cool, and I need to re-iterate, is that technical subjects are approached realistically.

With the hacking sequences(there are several) It isn't the cliched seedy cyber-punk furiously typing on a a laptop in hacker runes. The hacking process was outlined in great detail. Easy to understand security vulnerabilities were searched for, eventually discovered , surreptitiously exploited, and finally leveraged to progress the story.

There is another technical side of this dips into electrical engineering, physics and biology. I didn't understand the biology, but core concepts and mechanics were explained several times rather clearly.

All in all, I've been recommending this to co-workers or devs is chat with through discord. Good listen.




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Profile Image for Norma Miles
  • Norma Miles
  • 11-20-19

Paranormal is was a viftus.

I was never a gamer and know nothing about hacking, nor , to my knowlsdge, have I met any nasty, drug dealing Russian criminals, but I thoroughly enjoyed this rather crazy novel which actually felt like it contained real, if very odd, characters. And it's funny as well as violent, as someone said, 'Bourne Identity starring the Three Stooges.'
Some great science fiction pictures drawn in the mind, like the HERF gun, cobbled together, which stops energy items like electro magnetic pumps from working, and the idea of three fairly incompetent hackers taking on the corporations and, almost by accident, sometimes succeeding: it really is a needs world delight. And gives total non tech idiots like myzelf, a delicious glimpse into the comedy of their world.

Exciting story, too.

Narration by Daniel Casper is good and the audio experience is made even more interesting by a full cAst taking on the voicing of all know the pritagonists. It gave a different t feel from the more traditional one person reading.
The whole was good, very enjoyable, chaotic fun, plus a little bit scary in it's implications. It is a book I can envisage myself rereading in the future. My thanks to the rights holder of Dopamine, who, at my request via Audiobook Boom, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. Recommended for all who enjoy not just S.F.stories but everyone who likes fast paced thrillers and a little bit of fun. Give it a try: I'm sure you'll enjoy it.