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Publisher's Summary

"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Cannell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty - most of them in someone else's body." (USA Today)

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the stand-alone follow-up to the New York Times best-selling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent's head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are "threeps", robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden's Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real, and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators Chris Shane and Leslie Vann are called in to uncover the truth - and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

©2018 John Scalzi (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

THIS is why I read SciFi! Scalzi gets into your head (be it on or off)

I don't know if you can call this a non-bias review considering I pre-ordered the book, downloaded it at 12:01am on its release date, and then promptly put in a marathon listening session to complete the book. To say that I'm a John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton fanboy would be an understatement. With that said, I did fully enjoy the book. I felt it fell slightly short of "Locked In" (think the difference between an "A" and an "A-"). As with the pervious book, the supposedly intelligent individuals perpetrating the cover up/conspiracy do some awfully stupid things (not to mention how conveniently agent Shane just happens to be in the "right place at the right time") but that is not the point of "Head On". The point is the journey and the immersive everyday details that Scalzi incorporates into the fascinating alternative Haden reality. As with all of Scalzi's previous efforts, the book is filled with snarky quick witted characters that are maybe a bit too sarcastic for their own good, but add to the enjoyable atmosphere of the book. What I really found interesting was how Scalzi raised several thought provoking issues such fidelity in Haden culture, discrimination of "normals" in the Haden culture, and even why being a Haden doesn't preclude someone from being a crazy cat owner ;) The bottom line is simply this... This IS a John Scalzi book, if you have enjoyed any of his other works, then you will enjoy this further exploration into the Haden universe.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Every bit as good as Lock In

Very good futuristic detective novel. The world of Lock In was expanded in a very good way in this novel. I finished the book in a day and that never happens for me. I can’t wait for the next novel in the series.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

I loved this book, and I am sad that it isn't part of a stupidly long series, because I want more and I want it yesterday!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great, but expected more.

I was a big fan of Scalzis first novel in this universe "Lock In" and accompanying short stories about the rise of Hadens syndrome. Those 2 together made a convincing world of characters and purpose.

Head On definitely kept expanding on the universe but I don't feel like Chris and Vann got decent character growth. We got a little bit more insight to some of the minor characters around Chris, but felt like at the end the book had more of an "all in a day's work" feel to it than having tackled a huge case that with significance. But the crime and its resolution and motives were well thought out.

Well written and of course another great read by Wil Wheaton. I would still like more of Chris and Vann! Please!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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They pull the heads off!

This is fun and well plotted. A good continuation of the world and characters from the first book - hope we get some more. I love how the various options and quirks of the Threep based society keeps deepening. Including a game where decapitation is a key factor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great 2nd chapter

this was an awesome fallow up to a great book, so far i have "read" everything by John Scalzi. with the exception of the Old Man's War series. I really hope that Mr. Scalzi is planning on turning this line of story into a series. Even though I only listen to the Wil Wheaton version I love how the books were written to be unisex and therefore read by both a male and female narrator as to appeal to both men and woman, I do hope this continues if it does become a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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super good

I liked everything about it. especially agent Vans dialogue. a good story doesn't matter if you don't have characters that are interesting and enjoyable to follow. John does a good job creating those type of characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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non stop excitement

Loved the book, great story, great performance, and exciting from start to end, filled with humor and suspense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another great story

Really liked the first book so I was excited to see this show up for pre order. Another great story with modern touches like crypto currency cards and just enough tech for us geeks without going overboard. Love Vann and Shane's partnership. Finely crafted mystery. I enjoy the extra dimension of the integrators and threeps. You don't just have to figure out 'who' physically did something but the person actually committing it. I'm probably biased but think Wil Wheaton did a fine job. Counting the days till book 3.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Yes!

Another winner from Scalzi!
John's books are always on target.
Will always read any thing he puts out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bobble
  • 05-02-18

another great listen John Scalzi legend!

cannot fault any of what I have read and listened to when John writes it comes to life I stopped reading a very long time ago and he brought back a passion for listening and reading again I listen in work and pick up the book at home and continue to read

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian Goodban
  • 04-19-18

Depressingly believable future gladiators

Well plotted, well written, with the new world order and the consequences well realised. And it made me laugh. Recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 04-18-18

Heading in Anotner Direction

Not sure what happened here. Loved the premise, I have plenty of time for Wheaton's narrating and I've enjoyed previous books by the author. But from the moment this started I struggled to listen, felt it was trying to be too clever about the fictional sport and my head just couldn't take it in. I had several goes at it but no luck. In the end having made it to a couple of hours in I realised I wasn't paying attention.

Wrong book on the wrong day? Maybe, but I simply did not get on this one's wavelength for more than a minute or two at a time and even when I did I very soon slipped back under.

Sorry Wil, John, I genuinely like you as a combination but this one's going back.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura Brand
  • 05-09-18

Funny, original and fantastic narration

really enjoyable, the main characters are sarcastic and funny and Wil Wheaton is brilliant as ever ❤️

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 04-21-18

Großartig!

Man steigt in diesen SF Krimi ein und er ist spannend bis zum Ende! John Scalzi kann das hervorragend!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A
  • 05-22-18

A good if not great follow up

I loved the first book, it was a fast paced whodunit story built on strong characters and a great premise. This book has the same characters and premise but the plot is convoluted and ultimately disappointing because the outcome is an obvious one. I hope the inevitable third book goes a little further with the premise and is not just a borderline story tacked on to a good premise.

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  • Andrew Knighton
  • 05-13-18

Intriguing scifi thriller

An intriguing and we'll paced thriller built around an interesting scifi concept with some cool characters.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • paul allison
  • 05-16-18

Decent with the same old problems

This is the second in the “Locked in” series and is pretty much as good as the first.... but with the same problem.
The story is pretty standard once you get over the futuristic concept , two FBI agents searching for a killer... one a billionaire “play by the rules” nice guy, the other a complete walking caricature of every mean cop from the 60s, 70s and 80s... and this is where it gets annoying, the two agents act like teenagers, their interactions with suspects and witnesses are like something out of buggy the vampire .... we all know the FBI is über professional and the people who work for it are too.... to the point of being analy retentive... so why oh why do these two act like spotty little kids ??? It’s gets annoying ... the book is solid, it’s really a decent read/listen but it needs to grow up if the series continues.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey Anderson
  • 05-03-18

So good. So consistently good.

John Scalzi is just fun. He can write anything. I love how underneath his fast paced and humorous stories there are classic sci-fi and, therefore, sociological and philosophical themes. So smart but, at the same time, so accessible.