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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Big Sheep unravels into an incredible mystery

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun, inventive, hilarious

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Clever, Engaging, What Sci-Fi Should Be

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 01-18-18

Do Cloned Sheep Dream of Electric People?

There is no mistaking what Robert Kroese set out to do here. Raymond Chandler's famous pulp detective novel The Big Sleep meets Phillip K. Dick's renowned science fiction novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Sleep became a Bogie-Bacall film noir classic, Sheep became Blade Runner, a retro-noir near-future techno-dystopian sci-fi classic.

So Kroese gives us Chandler's wise-cracking detective and his hard-boiled sidekick in near-future post-collapse L.A. trying to track down a genetically modified sheep and a paranoid superstar actress on behalf of a trio of nefarious criminal and corporate entities. The reveals are borderline preposterous and they unfortunately unfold (and unfold and unfold) during a two-hour climactic gab-fest.

But it's all meant to be in good fun, with a good sense of humor (chuckle-worthy rather than laugh out loud funny like Kroese's Starship Grifters, but that's OK), satisfying nods to Dick and Chandler (and John Scalzi, whose Android's Dream is likewise a nod to Dick's classic), and excellent narration by Fred Berman (voicing the sage Erasmus Keane as the less than sage Joe Pesci).

Definitely worth a listen for fans of comic sci-fi, even if one must deduct a star from Story for the overly talky ending.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I could not stop laughing, it was so good.

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JKO
  • Harlingen, TX United States
  • 10-07-16

Fun read

What did you like best about The Big Sheep? What did you like least?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Blake Fowler. You had to feel for him as he kept the various factions at bay and sorted out a wacky scenario.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Fred Berman?

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.

Do you think The Big Sheep needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It doesn't need a follow-up but I could see them solving other cases. I would read more books with these characters.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom H.
  • RED OAK, TX, United States
  • 07-22-16

Detective Noir meets Dystopian Future

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ijw
  • Cochise, AZ, United States
  • 11-06-16

not my favorite

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • 07-02-18

Not like anything else

This started out like Get Shorty to me: nasty characters presented in an amusing way through someone from the outside.. Then it was Get Shorty meets Robin Cook as a lot of science got thrown in. It's basically a detective story, so that can't be overlooked. Then when it seemed to turn into the horror genre about three quarters of the way through, I nearly stopped. But I persisted and it was fine. Did I mention it's set in the near future so is science fiction too? And there's even romance in there, with some surprising developments. The narrator was amazing, bringing even the female characters to life and adding a lot to what was written. I can't say I really loved it, but I loved some parts of it. And I laughed quite a bit. I've never read anything like this book. You won't forget it if you read it!!! And the sheep is not just a novelty item to provide a cute title. Oh, no, not at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hard-boiled amusement, a little flawed

I picked this one up because I've enjoyed Kroese's other works (namely, the Dis series and the Rex Nihilo books). I liked this, but it was a little bit of a miss for me. The concept was interesting, and the way it played out was really neat. The performance was also good -- the narrator managed to run from Joe Pesci to GLaDOS with relative ease.

What got to me, I suppose, was that this story couldn't seem to get out without a massive amount of expository dialogue (a classic violation of the show-don't-tell maxim). Maybe I don't read enough detective stories for this to not bother me. I know a lot of action needs to happen off-screen, as it were, in such a tale, but this just felt so extreme that it took me out of it a little. There was a very long section of villain-telling-hero-the-entire-plan that was certainly interesting in the way it worked, but sort of made it fail as a cohesive story. The secondary main character, the actual detective, seemed simultaneously overpowered and yet very much failed at his job.

This story was entertaining, but the actual writing was a little shakier than I've noticed Kroese's work to be. If you like your hard-boiled detective novel with a little weirdness, I'd say your time won't be wasted with this. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger that clearly carries into the next one. I'm not sure this is enough of my cup of tea to keep going, though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful