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Publisher's Summary

United States Diplomat Danielle Lowen was there when one of her fellow diplomats committed an unthinkable act that had consequences for the entire planet. Now she’s trying to figure out how it happened before it can happen again. Putting the puzzle pieces together could solve the mystery - or it could threaten her own life.

"The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads" is a tale from John Scalzi's The Human Division, a series of self-contained but interrelated short stories set in the Old Man's War universe.

Listen to the complete edition of The Human Division, the fifth full-length book by John Scalzi in the Old Man's War universe.
©2012 John Scalzi (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads

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

A 38-minute murder mystery

STORY - This is one of my favorite episodes in this series. Scalzi managed to cram a pretty good plot with a twisted ending into 38 minutes, which should be some sort of record. This story takes place on earth (contrary to many of the others) and is about trying to solve the mystery of a murder that took place on a vessel in outer space. As far as I can tell, the story stands alone, but I suppose Scalzi might somehow tie all these short stories together in the final episode.

NARRATOR - Good job but not particularly impressive.

OVERALL - Definitely worth 69 cents and 38 minutes of your time!

2 people found this helpful

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Whats Next???

This book is a sequel to "The Observers: Episode 9".. Its an investigation regarding the murderer and how did such a thing happen.
Let me just say that the events in this episode were mind blowing and how such a murder got planned in the first place.

You get to know more about this mysterious party and how intelligent they are.

Whats going to happen next?

2 people found this helpful

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Nearing the Conclusion...

A good solid episode, but short. With only one story left though, I wonder what the last episode is going to be, and how Scalzi is going to tie everything up in two hours. Maybe it's just a big lead-up to a full novel. Still, if you've listened this long, you will enjoy this episode.

3 people found this helpful

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Someone Is Messing with Earth & the Colonial Union

Tension continues to grow as Earth diplomat, Danielle Lowen, starts the story trying to find out why a Brazilian diplomat killed another member of their team before killing herself (in The Observers). It ends with her trying to figure out how the Brazilian consulate was bombed. Overall, it’s an exciting little story that further raises expectations for the final one in the series. Someone is messing with Earth, the Colonial Union, and the Conclave. Hopefully, Scalzi will pull it all together in story #13.

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Part of a series, apparently

I liked the story, until I realized it was just part of a series. The narrator is his usual excellent self. Now I have to find what it's part of a series of.

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Scalzi does not dissapoint

This story could stand alone as the begining of a techno thriller.
fitting snugly into Scalzi's Colonial Union universe it is even better.

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See Review for "The B-Team"

See Review for "The B-Team" this is Episode 12 (minimum 15 words in a Review)

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Good but not his best

The Human Division is another chapter in the saga of Old Man's War, which is a hit and miss series. This one is somewhere in the middle. Good humor, middling characters, overall engaging writing, and convoluted plot.

I'm giving it a rock-bottom overall score due to the fact that this is not the version you should get. Pick up the final full book, not these expensive piece meal episodes.

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Several Stories in The Old Man's War saga

Scalzi is good. He tells stories that I don't want to end. That is the case with The Human Division. I have read several of John Scalzi's books and it just occurred to me while reading The Human Division how much of his work is dialog driven. There were entire stories in this where everything was delivered to you through the conversations of the characters. That seems to be very difficult to do, yet Scalzi does it with ease. If you are a fan of The Old Man's War, you have to read this.

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Read them in order

I enjoyed the series more as I went through each episode. At first I struggled because it seemed like random stories set in this universe. But as it continued and I realized it was interwoven story lines I enjoyed them more. The main characters were enjoyable. It's pretty traditional sci fi fare but still worth the read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 04-07-13

Hope it's going somewhere

I am a big fan of Scalzi, have read most of his books in hardcover and enjoyed everyone. His narrative style, whether in first or third person, is one that I very much like; it is 'easy listening' and always entertaining.

Having said that, I'm not sure if I should applaud his new endeavour in the 'Human Division' story arc or be irritated by it. I do feel that I'm getting my £0.79 worth each time I listen, but at over 10 quid and counting, I'm beginning to wonder if the stories are going anywhere meaningful soon. There is only so long you can string someone along on a 'phantom menace' premise.

Nevertheless, I look forward each week to the next installment of the Human Division soap/space opera--which is a tribute to Scalzi's storytelling, if nothing else.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 04-07-13

Getting better and better!

I was sceptical when I started reading (hearing...) this story. Nowadays I'm eagerly waiting for the next chapter! Paying by the chapter has cost me allready more then what I'm normally willing to pay for an audiobook, but in this case the story and the way it is building up just gets better every chapter!