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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards - Original Work

Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.

One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher - a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death's crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.

It's a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it's too late...before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

©2016 John Scalzi (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The hero of this book is narrator Zachary Quinto, who makes a potentially confusing story simple and compelling. With a voice that sounds trained, he reaches right through the speakers and grabs listeners, making them want—no, need—to listen." (AudioFile)
"Quinto has a perfect hardboiled noir manner, which is exactly what you’d want for Valdez." (Locus Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Great short story

This was a great story. I was left wanting more and would definitely go for a sequel if there was one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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IT'S HARD TO GET MYSTICAL ABOUT YOUR JOB

IT'S JUST TAX MONEY
1. Those who love Scalzi's sense of humor, need to know that this has none of that.
2. This is dark and serious
3.This has none of the he said, she said, that seems to upset some people.
4. There is not an iota of science in this.
5. This is more of a paranormal, and seems to be a set up for a series similar to Harry Dresden.
5. Nothing is ever explained as far as the phenomenon that leads to dispatchers. Dispatchers kill people just before they die of other causes. This makes them come back alive 999 times out of 1000.
6. It is entertaining and worth your time.
7. narrator is top notch

156 of 173 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • Little Rock, AR, United States
  • 11-09-16

Good Grief This Was Good

Any additional comments?

A phenomenal book, such that I don't believe John Scalzi is the author. I quite like Scalzi's works, but I think of them as highly entertaining mediocrity. First with Lock In and now this, I think he has grown to a new level.<br/><br/>Scalzi's standard humor that he is known for is absent in this book, but do not let that scare you off. It may be short, but there is a solid and strong story here that kept me riveted to the end. Then after I had finished it, I kept thinking about it long after the last words were spoken.<br/><br/>And spoken they were! Zachary Quinto is phenomenal!<br/><br/>Truly this is an easy recommendation to anyone who wants a thriller or a mystery with a clever spin.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Great story

This story caught my attention right away. Enjoyed it very much. Great story line. Worth the read

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great premise to an engrossing story

Quick book to finish; great narration and entertaining story with an intriguing premise. Highly recommended.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 10-13-16

Mind blowing (in more ways than one)

This is my first outing for this author as sci-fi is a genre I visit only occasionally. This freebie from Audible was a very welcome surprise. The idea of the dead returning to life if their deaths were inflicted by another person is unique and just a bit mind blowing. The first scene in the hospital operating room was gripping, leading seamlessly into the primary action to come. Scalzi also shows that he has put a lot of thought into the social, psychological, ethical and religious ramifications of his concept, and where exploitation of the process can be used to illegally profitable purposes. The writing is crisp, the action moves quickly and the characters are vividly drawn. If this becomes a series I just hope Scalzi can maintain the freshness of his idea and his characters in a format longer than this short story gem.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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I want more!

Love the concept.
Scalzi made another masterpiece of a world.
And Zachary Quinto is amazing. Who knew he would be so awesome at narration.
As I said, I want more.

47 of 56 people found this review helpful

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sweet

Finally a good performance of female characters by a male performer. Almost every male performer gives females the most ridiculous falsetto and intonation. Quinto is calm and sounds like the voice in my head without the strain of most male actors. Plus it was a super fun story, although without Quinto I suspect it would have sucked.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Awesome!!!

This book was incredible! For a free book and a 2 hour ride this surely will fit perfectly for the part!! Only down side is there wasn't more!!!

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 10-27-17

Interesting short story worth experiencing

Nobody can explain why, but it has become almost impossible to murder anyone. 999 times out of 1000 when someone is murdered their body just disappears and they reappear alive and well at home. They have full memory of the events that led to their death and in all other ways they are in the state they were in 12-24 hours prior. Of course this fundamentally changes human society and this short novella tells the story of a &quot;missing person&quot; police investigation taking place within this interesting world.

Murder has gone from being only a crime to also being a tool used for good by licensed Dispatchers. If someone is about to undergo some risky surgery then a Dispatcher will be standing by just in case things don't go well. The Dispatcher's role is to intentionally murder the patient to prevent an accidental death because most likely that means saving their life. Tony Valdez is such a Dispatcher who suddenly finds himself involved in a missing person police case when one of his fellow DIspatchers goes missing.

Despite the fact that this short story lacks his usual sense of humor, John Scalzi is able to grab your attention and keep it as he explores the concept of using murder as a tool for good. Of course it does leave you wanting more but it is still one of the better novellas that I have listened to. Zachary Quinto does an excellent job as narrator and delivers this material quite well. If you need a quick filler listen then you can't go wrong with The Dispatcher.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • M O.
  • 10-24-16

grabs you instantly

interesting idea for a story, love the way the author takes an odd concept and then builds an interesting story around it. excellent narration to

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 10-23-16

really good story, unique perspective.

I picked this up as it was a free book but it totally delivered. great plot, concept & characters. I hope this will be pulled out in to other books

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr T C Court
  • 10-23-16

Great listen

Great story well read by Zachary, looking forward to listening to the work of more stories by John.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Karolina Mierzwiak
  • 10-22-16

Good story but Great narration

Zachary Quinto's performance made this short story amazing, he's a great actor and it shows. I will definitely listen to another story by John Scalzi as he's a good author and hope I can find something else read by Quinto.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • mr l z moore
  • 10-20-16

Very good, interesting story, well presented.

I got this as a freebie on Audible and thoroughly enjoyed it, would seek the author for further books!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Graham
  • 11-08-16

What a cracking story!

Terrific narration, super story. I laughed out loud at the lift shaft part. Read and you'll know the bit. Well worth a read

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Vidmantas
  • 11-08-16

Dark world even without murders

This was an interesting way to look at the world on it's kind. Short but long enough to fulfill the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • boni
  • 11-04-16

Great book....one can't get enough of.

Excellent stuff, an absolute unchartered minefield of overlapping ethics, science and spirituality. Outstanding narration by the voice artists, my only niche of a criticism is that the story could have been longer and more complex addressing the theology of life rather than just a speedy thrill fill. Much appreciated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • david
  • 04-25-17

different

it is a very short story. I was hoping for more. I did find the narrator a little mono tone

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ALP
  • 01-27-17

A lovely surprise!

I only grabbed this because it was free (why wouldn't you?), was highly sceptical and then had my expectations blown away! I loved the short story and immediately looked at the authors other works, I could quite happily listen to another book set in this world - it's very rare to come across an original idea handled so interestingly!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Stockwell
  • 02-08-17

Great sci fi thriller

The concept is great and it is explored in a variety of ways which I appreciated. Quinto is delightful to listen to. My only negative would be the book tends to be dialogue heavy but this is hardly affects the enjoyment. I wouldn't be surprised to see this adapted to film one day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Keegan
  • 11-08-16

A very original crime story

The story worked so well, it was perfectly cinematic. Download this, buy it, and indulge in all the wonders of this gritty, imaginative and thrilling crime drama.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephanie Kiem
  • 11-05-16

very interesting idea for a story

this was a very enjoyable story it wasn't predictable and looks like a great prelude to more stories about the same character

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ros H.
  • 11-05-16

Interesting Story

This was very much out of my comfort zone. But, I really enjoyed(not quite the right word) this book.
Such an interesting premise and then with a mystery thrown in. Made for a book that I really had to listen to till the end.
I think it would also make a good start for anotger book. I'd really love to know some more about the main characters Valdez (The Dispatcher) and the police lady .
If you want to listen to something different I would highly recommend this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • maf1974
  • 11-03-16

Great short story, brilliant narration!

Zachary Quinto has done an AMAZING job narrating this very good story. His ability to craft individual voices for each character is phenomenal.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 11-03-16

Very surprised by this one.

I downloaded this book because it was free. one of the best I've listened to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Reece
  • 11-02-16

Interesting ideas in a quick read

A good listen and quite an original thought.
Have to love Zachary Quinto impersonations and emotions as he reads.

Felt like the story could have used a bit more meat, but as a short story it flows great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie
  • 10-08-16

Wow

What made the experience of listening to FREE: The Dispatcher the most enjoyable?

Everything - <br/>It was free (tick)<br/>The storyline was terrific (tick)<br/>The narration was great (tick)<br/>What more could you want?

Any additional comments?

The short novella was really great - surprised me!! I am not really into "detective" style mystery books, but this was spot on. And what a different storyline!! Loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JK1
  • 05-09-17

Interesting

A nice, quick listen. Could probably be made into a longer story. Narration was ok.

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  • Emma
  • 03-14-17

Amazing story and concept

An absolutely amazing story and the concept us such a cool idea. It challenges your thinking and I would totally recommend to everyone. The narration is top notch. Suits the story so well