• The Contract Man

  • Alex King, Book 1
  • By: A P Bateman
  • Narrated by: Joe Mills
  • Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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The Contract Man  By  cover art

The Contract Man

By: A P Bateman
Narrated by: Joe Mills
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Publisher's Summary

Amazon number-one best seller for over three weeks

When an MI6 agent is found to be keeping records of his missions to protect himself from betrayal he unwittingly makes himself a priority target. But how do you silence the most dangerous man imaginable? Send him into hell on earth....

While Alex King is sent into Northern Iraq to tidy the loose ends of a botched mission, the archipelago of Indonesia is under communist threat from within its own military. A consortium of worried businessmen call for desperate measures and seek the services of an assassin. But what if MI6 could be duped into taking care of their problems for them? With secret links to China the communist contingent threatens Britain's trade initiatives with the largest mineral producing country on the planet. 

In the dark world of intelligence it seems that everybody has their price.

©2016 Anthony P Bateman (P)2019 Anthony P Bateman

What listeners say about The Contract Man

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Kept me engaged

Can not wait to start the second book of this series. King is an character.

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

Alex King. The Removal Man

An outstanding espionage & targeted assassination story. A well written plot, with superb detail. Descriptive & entertaining. Beware you deceive the assassin.

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

Sound issues

Disappointed in sound quality. sounds like tin room. Good story. Worth a listen if you put up with sound.

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

The production

Is messy and lacking. There is a constant buzzing and static coupled with strange sound effects

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

Flaws, but I kept going, it won me over.

So I almost have to review the first half and last half of the book separately

Most of this book is one of those with multiple, concurrent storylines that alternate. After a certain point, this style tends to annoy me. I appreciate complex webs of intrigue as much as the next person, but I listen to these as hero stories. So when the "hero" only amounts to 30% of the "airtime" of the book, I get frustrated. I KNOW that the 2/3 is important, supports the story, etc.
I'm not saying it's bad, or shouldn't be there. I appreciate the details, the other characters. I just don't CARE quite so much. I start to feel like I’m wading through hours of stuff (no matter how artfully written, complex, well thought out, or insightful) to listen to the 30% I'm excited about. It's a very tough balance, I'm sure. Story isn't as rich or interesting without it. But after a certain point….

As of 3.5 hours in, if I had to estimate, I'd say
1) Only about an hour had anything to do with Alex King.
2) about a hour was devoted to a detailed account of the torture of a character we don't even know. We meet him bound and hooded in the back of a car, they tell us his name, eventually why they are torturing him. But mostly it's just about describing his torture.
For the first 2/3 of the book we have absolutely no idea how it or the character fits into the story. It is totally random. It's almost like a commercial break from the rest of the story. A torture commercial.
3) Another hour details long tedious interactions between two characters in which no progress is made. They verbally go back and forth but the whole exchange and plan could have been explained or "developed" in less than 15 min. One of these character's voices is really annoying, neither of them are likeable or particularly interesting. This also seems to have nothing to do with what is happening in the Alex King story--that is only explained 3/5 into the book.


That general style choice aside, the book does wander into some strange and decidedly pointless detail.
There is one chapter that is 15 minutes, in which:
1) A character whose name we don't know creeps up on a minor character's house
2) The minor character A hits golf balls on his lawn
3) A 3rd minor character comes over and watches "A" hit golf balls on his lawn.

Then they go in the house to have an important conversation. Except that is the NEXT chapter. The 15 min chapter covers only those 3 completely useless events in which nothing happens.

There's another 5 minute chapter in which 2 characters do nothing but discuss the living room furniture. (seriously, I'm not kidding)

Maybe it was just my perception, but the bizarre detail always seemed to be about everything OTHER than Alex King. It's almost like someone told him he had to flesh out the other storylines so he went back and added a bunch of detail.

It switches between these storyline's WAY too fast. Sometimes there won't be more than a few sentences of one before it changes to another. You've barely had time to register what storyline is or what is happening and then you're jerked into another. There's never time to get into any of them. It's like catching snippets of conversation. It's made worse by the audible format because sometimes you can't tell until partway through that it IS a new storyline.
When it's a tense time and it's switching between people's perspectives during an "event" I can get it. But that was not the case here.
I can't develop any sense of wanting to know what happens next, because there is no continuity of story, there isn't a "next" because you're still trying to figure out where you are.

Everything is chopped up in a completely indiscernible way. None of the breaks seemed natural. It would stop in the middle of a conversation, jump to another storyline or two, then come back in the middle of the conversation where it left off.
The chapters are broken at seemingly random, too. Some chapters contained snippets of multiple storylines. Other chapters stop in the middle of a scene or conversation and start a new chapter to finish it.
It was so choppy and disorienting it drove me absolutely crazy. It was really hard to keep going and deal with all of that for a mere 30% of the story I liked.
After while I just started advancing ahead during the tedious bits and honestly I didn't miss anything. It took 10 sec to figure out what I missed

ALL that said.
I kept going, and about halfway though, it seemed to iron itself out. It starts focusing more on Alex King, and I enjoyed it a lot more. I was invested, wanted to know what happened next, wanted to "stick with him" through the next steps. I started to like him and he became interesting.

It won me over in the end.

I'm hoping the flaws are maybe a side effect of a new author or book series or whatever and that the rest of the books are more like the last half.

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  • Mr
  • 09-10-20

Brilliant

A rip roaring exciting story, excellently read and superbly written- Joe Mills does a fabulous job of narration.

I thought it was so good I purchased the second book, alas although I’m sure the story was just as exciting- the narrator was not Joe Mills but someone else who completely bollocksed up the story with his crappy attempt.
I tried 3 times to listen to it ......
and 3 times I gave up after 4or 5 chapters .

I got a refund.

Yes I know this isn’t a review for the second book but having returned it I can’t review it.

AUDIBLE- WILL YOU PLEASE SORT OUT WHO IS CAPABLE OF NARRATION BEFORE YOU RELEASE A BRILLIANT BOOK WHICH GETS A POOR PERFORMANCE BY A CRAP NARRATOR
AND

AS YOU GET TO CHOOSE THE NARRATOR- TRY AND EMPLOY SOMEONE WHO HAS A PAIR OF EARS BEFORE YOU LET THEM LOOSE TO KILL A POTENTIALLY GREAT BOOK!!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • lucy
  • 09-08-19

Great Action story brought alive by narrator

The book was a great action thriller brought alive by the narrator who brought a clear vision of it all close your eyes and you were there

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doe
  • 06-27-19

Wonderful narration

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, exciting and well written. The narrator was brilliant, in fact, the accents were so good I began to wonder if there could be more than one

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mangankillarney
  • 10-28-20

Enjoyed

I enjoyed listening to this fast paced thriller. Joe Mills was a great narrator.
Well written and a great listen. Good characters and story.

recommended

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-19-20

dissapointing

was really excited about this and starts off like a cracker then it meanders all over the place, Over emphasis on description a whole paragraph to describe a piece of steak and 2 veg 2 paragraphs for every bullet fired its cut and past from guns and ammo if a lot of the padding had been removed it could have been a five star job

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • duncan evans
  • 03-31-21

good book

the story is well worth getting used to the narration, and well worth the listen..!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Salacious Crumb
  • 12-04-20

Great narration and entertaining story

I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narration was extremely good with very believable foreign accents. The voice given to Alex King was perfect for his character.

My only slight criticism is the lack of research given to the flying scenes. As a pilot, I found the errors excruciating (helicopters, for instance, do not have yolks).

All in all I highly recommend this book for an exciting, easy listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CT
  • 11-18-20

Good story Awful Performance

A really good story if not an original genre.
Badly let down by the performer who narrated in an annoying porn star growl and did not appear to follow the punctuation. He lacked familiarity with technical details and so mis- pronounced many weapon details etc.
I will try the next in the series as the story was good if rather non p.c.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KB
  • 02-01-23

Fantastic!!!!

I was looking for something different and thought that I would give A P Bateman’s books a try and The Contract Man archived the desired effect I was looking for!!! Absolutely loved this novel and is one gripping, thrill ride espionage novel! The Narrator - Joe Mills is magnificent, his narrating voice and character impersonations are brilliant and sounds like a full cast of actors and forget that it’s a one man band production! I would have given it 5 right across the board but the sound quality at times makes it sound like he is talking into a pot. Other than this, The Contract Man is superb and now to start the rest of the Alex King series.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • K Chandler
  • 01-31-23

Too long and too much detail

Having describe a weapon there is no need to continually repeat description and acronyms. Could probably reduce this book by 33% and it would make a better read