The Immorality Clause

Easytown Novels, Book 1
Narrated by: Daniel Penz
Series: Easytown Novels, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Easytown's robotic pleasure clubs are a serial killer's playground.

The futuristic slum in eastern New Orleans is a violent place where any vice can be satisfied - for a price. As long as the taxes are paid and tourists continue to flock to the city, businesses are allowed to operate as they see fit. But a string of violent murders threatens to upset the delicate balance between pleasure and safety.

As homicide detective Zach Forrest tries to unravel the mystery and prevent the next murder, he embarks on a mind-bending investigation that will change his perception of reality forever.

©2016 Brian Parker (P)2016 Brian Parker

What listeners say about The Immorality Clause

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Imagine a cyberpunk techno-thriller

“The Immorality Clause” is written by Brian Parker and the audiobook’s narration was performed by Daniel Penz.  Wow, let me start this review by saying that if you are at all a fan of great science fiction noir (not recommended for younger audiences) and you have not yet picked up and listened to this book, go do so now; you will not be dissatisfied.  I was not sure based on the author’s description how this book would handle some of the subject matter, but between the exceptional writing style and the superior narration, this book was a perfect storm; in a good way!  If you can put up with the adult material, this book is a masterfully nitty, gritty, science fiction action suspense thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.

Imagine a cyberpunk techno-thriller, like Blade Runner, along with solid procedural (homicide) elements.  The author is able to blend these two aspects wonderfully in this story.  The dirty world often had me wanting a shower after each listen, but I had to come back for more.  I enjoyed the new and fresh futuristic technology that similar to devices of today, still have their issues and quirks.  One has to love technology.  There are solid and believable components surrounding the world development and the characters each had dimension and form to them.  Not only did you get great human characters, there were cyborgs and even a quite likable AI with a sense of humor.  When the book finished, I wanted more, but in no way did I feel cheated in what I got.  The nice thing is that even though this is a series, this book can be read as a standalone novel.  All of the story plots are mostly finalized with only a few open-ended aspects whetting one’s appetite for more to come.  I can only imagine the possibilities and places the author will take us in future books.  No real plot cliff-hangers awaiting you, just potential.

Not only was much of the story placed in the legal red-light district of Easytown, the author also took us around to see many of the more well off (and in some cases worse) locations of this world.  There are the ever-watching eyes of the government via surveillance cameras placed nearly everywhere.  All the while I was listening to the story, the author had me wondering who was the one they were looking for and how did they get away with the crime.  A real “who done it” story wrapped in a futuristic cyber world.  Not only was the world well defined, the characters themselves were as well.  Early on in my listening, I discovered a number of the character’s personalities, and what was nice was that these stayed consistent as one would expect.  This is not always the case with many of the books I have previously listened too.  I would have liked to have had a bit more interaction between Paxton and Andy in the book, but I’m sure there will be more of that in future books.  The attention to detail had me feeling like I was watching a movie while I listened.  On that note, I could easily see this being made into a movie and doing well.

Even though Daniel Penz is a newer narrator, with just over thirty books on Audible at the time of this review, the book’s narration and additional extras made it feel like it was performed by a professional studio.  The book was clean, crisp, and well-paced.  All of the characters were unique in both voice and personality, and the narration helped that immensely.  Voicing the AI, along with the many droids was done flawlessly.  I also thought the addition of a few audio effects, both in voicing and sound, greatly enhanced the book without being overdone.  The amount of action and suspense was not lost by the narrator as he added the necessary inflection showing he understood his material.

For parents and potential younger readers, I cannot recommend this book based on the subject matter and content.  The book contains subjects involving sex, drugs, and alcohol.   There are a few graphically violent scenes which I would not think appropriate for younger audiences.  I will add that the author’s focus on the topic of sex is done in a professional and non-sleazy manner.  The subject matter is there, but it is not salacious or over-the-top.  I still would still not recommend it for younger readers.

If you are one who enjoys deep and rich science fiction with a decent mix of noir, this is a book I think you should pick up.  There was action, suspense, and technology.  What more could you ask from a book in this genre.  I look forward to newer books in the series and hope to listen to future books by both the author and narrator.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

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13 people found this helpful

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I wish I could give this more than five stars!!

The Immorality Clause is absolutely, by far the best audiobook I have ever listened to! I listen to them during my two hour daily commute, so I get through quite a few each year. The narrator doesn't just read the story, he brings it to life! There's nothing cheesy or cringe worthy about how he does each character. He truly is an expert and brought this novel to life with his talent.

The story itself is an intriguing concept that may not be all that far-fetched. Robots taking over job that humans aren't too thrilled about performing has already begun. The plot is fast paced and the characters, especially Andi, are quite endearing. Not for the feint of heart, there is quite a bit of foul language as well as blood and gore to be found within the pages, but it's all tastefully done and adds to the story rather than detracting. This was the first book by Brian Parker that I've read, but I'm sure it won't be the last.

7 people found this helpful

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Noir Fiction with a Futuristic Twist

Right off the bat I thought, I really like this, and it only continued to get better. I loved the attention to the detail of adding futuristic everyday items into his world. I understand why people would want to compare this to Blade Runner, but I didn’t think this had that many similarities and thought it played out more like a standard detective adventure that just happens to be set in the future. The setting definitely has a noir feel to it, although Zach does not resemble a typical noir detective, and the world Parker creates is as impressive as this story itself. The seediness of Easytown and the type of murders occurring creates a bleak setting that really throws you into the streets of Easytown. This reminded me a lot of Harry Nile, but with a futuristic twist. Even the narrator reminded me of Phil Harper. While Zach was a bit worn down and was far from perfect, he wasn’t jaded and was on the right side of the law. I loved his interactions with Andy, the two bickered like an old married couple and Andy’s attempt to be helpful in a world she doesn’t quite understand brought levity to the overall story. The two are a great team. The droid aspect in this world was really great. Granted a lot of them are sex bots, so there are a few racy scenes. How Parker describes the droids and establishes them as characters works really well. Like so many science fiction movies, the line between human and droid is blurry. There is an underlying question presented as to whether the droids should be treated as equals. This question ultimately leads to the confrontation in the end. Daniel Penz has a solid voice for narration. He has that voice that is perfect for detective novels and the similarity of his voice to other voice actors I have enjoyed definitely helped. From time to time he added sound effects for the droid voices which enhanced the overall narration. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

4 people found this helpful

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Cyberpunk meets Film Noir

I absolutely loved this book! I love the old time film noir detectives ala Sam Spade and the protagonist in this book, Zachary Forrest, reminds me of those fedora-wearing guys. I also love the original movie, "Blade Runner", and this book reminded me of that movie many, many times.

Futuristic New Orleans has a section called Easytown (probably today's French Quarter)which specializes in sex clubs populated with sex robots. When several patrons and employees are murdered in gruesome ways, Zach has to try to find out who is doing the killing. Along the way, he becomes involved with a beautiful witness named Paxton Amora. This relationship comes to haunt Zach in more ways than one!

I love the characters, including Zach's assistant, Andi, who is little like Alexa (but much more fun). The dialogue is great and I especially enjoyed Zach and Andi's interactions. Zach has a smart-assed attitude that won't quit and adds a lot to the book. I especially loved the idea of the talking toilet that gives you an automatic urine analysis every time you use it.

The narration was wonderful. Mr. Penz didn't just read this book, he portrayed every scene and you feel like you are watching a movie while listening. When the character is in pain, you can feel it in the narration.

Brian Parker has done an excellent job with this book and I look forward to reading more of his work. I will definitely recommend his writing to my friends!

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome AI

In futuristic New Orleans, Easytown clubs are being haunted by a serial killer. But most don't care as long as the tourist still come with the money they bring. All that is but one police detective, Zack Forrest, and even an attempt on his life won't stop him. Zach is like a dog with a bone, he is not going to let go until he has it all figured out, and justice is done.

This is a very interesting book/audiobook with all the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and all the varying types and levels of AI. However, at the same time the author has them very well thought out and realistic in the story, you never once say to yourself, "yeah right", everything seems so real and plausible, and while listing to Daniel Penz narrate the book it is very easy to loose yourself in Easytown as well.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent

A great Futuristic detective Story The setting was perfect and a realistic Look at what the future could look like Daniels narrating And production really bring the characters To life If you like your sci-fi with more adult situations I highly recommend this I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

7 people found this helpful

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What a good AudioBook. Great story...

Great story that keeps you wanting more. The narrator has a myriad of voices to keep the characters separated and unique. This AudioBook is very well read and written from start to finish. Well worth a go, I hear the second book in the series is coming out soon and I will make sure I listen to that as soon as it is.

3 people found this helpful

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A Wonderful Neo-Noir

The rain is coming down on the good ol’ New Orleans, and this rain is cold. It’s the kind of night for a long duster and a fedora, a night where the neon reflects from the puddles. And one tired cop walks the streets alone, on his way to a murder scene. That poor schmuck of a homicide detective is Zach Forrest, and he’s everything you want in an neo-noir cop. Bluff, kind of sweet, kind of clueless around the ladies. Erring on the side of gallant unless you throw a punch. And tired. So. Very. Damn. Tired. This is one of the few neo-noir cyberpunks that feels just as real as everyday life. The tech is futuristic, but it’s neither terrifyingly and malignantly powerful nor is it humanity’s salvation. It still fritzes and glitches. AI has gotten just smart enough to talk to us, but not smart enough to realize that saying ‘he’s unavailable due to being in jail on suspicion of murder’ is really unhelpful. Your toilet can analyze your urine and hearing its health advice every morning is mandated by the city and the insurance companies, but people ignore it all the same. The cars are all self-driving, but the insurance company still keeps beaters to hand to fob off on high-risk cops who managed to sink their last model in a fricking lake (!!) People are still people. New tech lets them be people in new and interesting ways. But their human needs and misdeeds haven’t changed. That touch of tawdry grit made this world wonderfully rough around the edges and as endearing as your favorite, worn-out sweatshirt. You love it partly because it’s been through the mill. It’s familiar. It’s yours. And so is this world. The setup for this story is classic neo-noir, but it’s the characters that sell it. Zach is a lovable, flatfooted sweetheart . The reader for his character in the audiobook version sells the story perfectly: when he reads a character rolling out of bed, he absolutely sells the exhaustion and discombobulation. The performance made a well written story an absolute treat to listen to. Zach’s friends and enemies are all well-rounded and engaging, all the way from his oily sometimes-informant who goes by a name that includes Voodoo–never a good sign–to the other cops who give him shit down at the station and Andi, his adorkably clueless and sweetly competent AI who may just have a computer-crush on him. She’s a great replacement for the peppy secretary of old-world noir. Zach’s friends give a strong sense of reality to his life, grounding it in routine and webs of interpersonal relations that are totally believable. And the people he deals with at work are humans with completely human motivations, in all their shop-soiled glory. Witty, wry and wearily affable, Zach’s voice allows Parker to set the tone and get in plenty of commentary that keeps readers engaged and smiling. It’s a clever, dryly playful style that works beautifully. You feel like you’re sitting with that one globe trotting uncle hearing a good yarn, probably with your mom leaning disapprovingly through the door to give her big brother A Look because he’s being A Bad Influence. The style hits right in the nostalgic sweet spot

2 people found this helpful

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Make Immortality Clause your guide book!

I absolutely loved this book! It's an action packed blend of SciFi and Noir-mystery that introduces us to Zack Forrest, a hardboiled homicide detective who's assigned to Easytown, the seedest part of New Orleans. It's rife with prostitutes, muggers, people looking to make a quick buck, and murderers... and Zack likes it that way. It makes his arrest record look good.  The Immortality Clause starts with Zack looking into a string of seemingly unrelated murders with the only commonality between them is they all took place in clubs offering the services of sex-bots... and all the clubs are located within Zack's beat! Zack puts 2 and 2 together, and realizes that he's on the search for a serial killer... things definitely get personal when the killer places Zack in the cross hairs! As far as I'm  concerned, Daniel Penz isn't simply the voice of Zack Forrest... He IS Zack Forrest, and he nailed all of the other inhabitants of Easytown perfectly! Brian Parker's vision  of Easytown, is a futuristic, yet dark and gritty place... a cityscape full of tourists, broken levees, broken dreams, and mysteries... and The Immortality Clause is your guide book!

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome

The Immorality Clause: Easytown Novels, Book 1. It is certainly not my usual reading genre, But it grabbed me on the first few pages and never let go till the end. Plenty of action in this murder thriller set in the future in a noir style. Zach Forrest is that old style no nonsense cop, Great characters, and a good story line. So pleased I listened to this book. Narration is excellent and clear, accents and voices realistic - an amazing narration and I hope Daniel narrates future books in the series. I was given a free copy of this audio book at my own request, and voluntarily leave this review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MG
  • 04-17-20

5 Stars

recieved this for free, with the usual caviates of writing an honest review etc etc. I got a few chapters in, and then bought the entire trilogy - so that should give you an indication of feelings of this book. Immorality Clause is extrememly will written, and treads to fine line of world building, and actual story telling, with finesse. It mixes Blade Runner (but with less distopia) , a little Raymond Chandler, with the TV show Criminal Minds, and it just works. This was my first introduction to Brian Parker as writer, and Im suitably impressed. The plot is smart, and doesnt get bogged down with trying to be too clever (looking at you Neuromancer and Snow Crash...) The book really hits the mark though, with its characterisation. The protagonist is very well written, easy to sympathise with, and dear god you are completely rooting for him to succeed all the way through. Daniel Penz's narration is perfect for the role and world, adding a lot of depth to the story. If you like Cyberpunk books set in the near future (2090 I believe), and want a complete, well written story, then give Immorality Clause a go....then purchase the sequels I would advise also trying: Optional Retirement Plan Drones

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  • Norma Miles
  • 05-19-19

I've always felt an absence of somethinh.

New Orleans some half century into the future after a nuclear exchange has altered the climate, increasing the ice at the poles and generally cooling the weather. Zach Forrest is one of only two homicide cops working Easytown and he's feeling rather stressed when another murder is called in, the fourth in four weeks in the tourist sex district, where droids supply any deviation for a price. Told in the first person from Zach's point of view, we follow the investigation which endangers not only his life but his standing in the police force, too. The World building is good, the writing style visual and , although concentrating almost entirely within the seedy tourism sex city area, there remains a feeling of there being more beyond. Lifelike androids play a large part in the socjety, performing the more menial tasks, and, especially legally catering for the 'do anything' more exotic sexual demands of some of the population - for a high price, of course. As the story progresses the reader is drawn not only into the murder mystery but also Zach's personal life, or lack of it. All of the characters were unique and well drawn. Narrator David Pens further differentiated the protagonists by giving each a distinctive voice and personality, and his voicings of Zach's AI, Andy, and the other droids was done flawlessly with just a hint of otherness. The occasional addition of a few audio effects also helped to enhance the book's texture without being intrusive. But Mr.Pens really excelled in his close following of the pace of the text, his changing levels of delivery show in his clear understanding of what he was reading. An excellent performance. There are similarities to the film, Bladerunner, but this book is not a repeating copy, it is fresh, individual and, at times, funny, more a detective film noir set into the future. My deep thanks to the rights holder of The Immorality Clause who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom. I enjoyed it immensely, and whilst the sexual content would slightly limit the people to whom I might recommend the story, this is my only reservation, and it is a small one, excluding only the young. Otherwise, great fun, good futuristic world, well developed characters and an intriguing murder thriller.

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  • Michael Bardason
  • 05-09-19

Excellent first book of this detective noir series

Brian Parker has managed to create a fantastic crossover of detective noir and cyberpunk in this intriguing first book of the series. I particularly liked the vibes of blade runner it gave off, and how Brian has developed his A.I to not be too fantastical. The story moves along at a good pace, it is gritty, gory and bloody brilliant. Highly recommended for fans of cyberpunk and film detective noir. Daniel Penz does an excellent job of bringing this world to life, and I can see this being a very productive partnership in the future. This audiobook was provided by the author for review.

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  • Guy Geovani
  • 04-24-18

Noir SF Detective done right

A wonderful reading of an exciting novel. The flawed but human protagonist gets through his day with coffee, Egyptian food and the help from his digital assistant Andi. The gritty details and complex world make the excellent pacing all the more evident, balancing world building and action in the right amounts and keeping me enthralled for the entire ride. A great book and a wonderful performance by the vocal talent.