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  • Writer's pictureBrendan Holba

What If You Couldn't Be Killed?

Updated: Aug 26, 2023




From the creative mind of John Scalzi, comes the first of a three part thriller series, "The Dispatcher." This gripping tale and Audible Original, winner of the 2017 Audie Award for Best Original Work, combines Scalzi's masterful storytelling with the compelling narration of Zachary Quinto (who has quickly become one of my favorite voice over talents). With his notable performances in Star Trek and Heroes, Quinto brings a captivating blend of sci-fi expertise and simmering intensity to this genre-bending thriller.


In a world not too far into the future, an extraordinary phenomenon emerges—almost every intentional murder victim comes back to life, defying the laws of mortality. The implications of this baffling development are far-reaching, and transformational for horrific catastrophes like war and crime, and consequently alter our everyday existence. This intriguing premise sets the stage for Tony Valdez, a professional Dispatcher whose responsibility is to humanely eliminate individuals on the brink of death, providing them with a second chance to evade the reaper.


"The Dispatcher" is an adrenaline-fueled rollercoaster ride that takes readers on a gripping journey through a world where death is no longer permanent. Scalzi's storytelling prowess shines as he effortlessly weaves together the essential elements of science fiction, mystery, and thriller genres. From the opening this novella's concise length keeps the pace taut and ensures an engrossing experience until the very end.


Tony Valdez, the central character, is a captivating protagonist with depth and charisma. As readers delve into his world, they become quickly immersed in the complexities of his life as a Dispatcher. Scalzi deftly explores the moral quandaries faced by Tony and his fellow assassins, raising thought-provoking questions about the nature of life, death, and the value of second chances.


The intricate web of intrigue that Valdez finds himself entangled in adds an extra layer of suspense to the narrative. As he races against time to locate his missing friend, the story takes unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers guessing until the final pages. Scalzi's ability to build suspense and maintain a high level of tension is commendable, ensuring that each chapter leaves readers craving more.


Scalzi's world-building is both imaginative and plausible. By seamlessly integrating the extraordinary concept of revived murder victims into everyday life, the author prompts readers to contemplate the far-reaching implications of such a phenomenon. The intricately constructed society, with its legal and ethical ramifications, adds depth and richness to the narrative.


In summation, "The Dispatcher" is a remarkable novella that showcases John Scalzi's storytelling prowess and Zachary Quinto's narrative talents. This tremendous thriller offers a riveting exploration of a world where death is not the end and the concept of second chances takes on a whole new meaning. Scalzi's masterful writing, coupled with Quinto's exceptional narration, ensures that readers are on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. If you're seeking a thrilling, thought-provoking read that challenges conventions and pushes the boundaries of storytelling, "Dispatcher" is an absolute must-read.


Overall Rating: 4.8/5


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