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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 stars
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  • 1 Stars
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Performance

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Story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • Kansas City, MO, 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.

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.

And spoken they were! Zachary Quinto is phenomenal!

Truly this is an easy recommendation to anyone who wants a thriller or a mystery with a clever spin.

89 of 96 people found this review helpful

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

Great premise to an engrossing story

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

41 of 45 people found this review helpful

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

Not bad for a short story

Would you try another book from John Scalzi and/or Zachary Quinto?

I got this as a Daily Deal for $1, so it was definitely worth that. It was a nice short story, but nothing that would cause me to immediately download more John Scalzi books.

If you’ve listened to books by John Scalzi before, how does this one compare?

This was my first Scalzi.

Have you listened to any of Zachary Quinto’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was also my first Zachary Quinto performance. He did a very good job.

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

I don't necessarily think it needs one, though it does seem to be the first installment of a serialized production.

Any additional comments?

There's nothing exceptional or terrible here. It's an easy, short listen, and it is entertaining. If you're not looking to get into anything long or complicated and just want a really good performance of decent story that will hold your attention, then The Dispatcher is for you.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

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

210 of 240 people found this review helpful

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

Sounds Like Television.

I am not a snob about clothes (you’d agree if you could see me). I’m not a snob about food. Or wine. Or bourbon. Or cars. But I am…um…particular about the books I read and listen to. The current popular fiction I glimpse on tablets or in paperback editions on the train seems, mostly, like nothing that would do much to elevate my mind or illuminate my inner being.

Does that sound horrible? I don’t mean for it to. It’s just that I’ve got more life behind me than ahead of me, and I want every book to count. Not trying to be dramatic. It’s just the truth.

So, when Audible offered The Dispatcher for free last October, I only snapped it up because I thought I might be wrong. I might be dismissing great stories just because they weren’t time-tested classics. I might be a victim of my own, perhaps too-precious discernment.

Turns out I was wrong. True, the Dispatcher sounds just like those books I sometimes read over peoples’ shoulders on the way to and from work: like television. Not in any way demanding. No need to rewind and savor a sentence or pause to mull over a fresh insight into the human dilemma. But I enjoyed it thoroughly.

This is a great little piece of science fiction. An odd thing is happening to people who get murdered: they come back. Scalzi’s accomplishment here is to make that completely believable, and then to play out some of the possibilities that scenario offers. Granted, there was far more profanity than I’m used to. Some of the social attitudes annoyed me. And I’m not sure I could have stood an entire novel in the same style. But I enjoyed this short, crisp, well-wrought story very much.

I admit to being out of the loop about what our narrator, Zachary Quinto, has done on stage and screen. But his performance, while excellent overall, got a little shaky in the distinguishing-the-voices department, probably the toughest part of audiobook narration.

72 of 82 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great short story

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

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

36 of 42 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

55 of 66 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ann
  • United States
  • 07-09-17

JUST READ IT!

Succinct and clever tale with a subject matter you will be reflecting on long after the story has ended. (This is only a 2-hour story -- and thus an extra star for its brevity -- so to tell you more would actually give too much away.) Kudos to author Scalzi for not trying to make this into a full-length novel; he lays out his meaty concept quickly, and the listener grasps it with great satisfaction when it's over. Wonderful narrator. Read it.

3 of 3 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jen B
  • 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karolina Patrickson
  • 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • SlateyTV
  • 02-19-17

Interesting read.

I started this book with no information on what it was about and quickly became interested in the phenomena that had occurred and the philosophical debate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katie
  • 10-08-16

Wow

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

Everything -
It was free (tick)
The storyline was terrific (tick)
The narration was great (tick)
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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-18

Good twisted fun!

I really enjoyed the concept of this story as it shows a great imagination. The narrator was delicious... just some of the subtleties in his character's voices was spot on.