Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi
Narrator: Zachary Quinto
Series: The Dispatcher #2
Published by Audible Original on September 10, 2020
Source: Audible Plus
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 3 hrs 33 mins
Pages: 147
Format: Audiobook
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four-half-stars

Welcome to the new world, in which murder is all but a thing of the past. When someone kills you, 999 times out of 1,000, you instantly come back to life. In this world, there are dispatchers—licensed killers who step in when you’re at risk of a natural or unintentional death. They kill you—so you can live.

Tony Valdez is used to working his job as a dispatcher within the rules of the law and the state. But times are tough, and more and more Tony finds himself riding the line between what’s legal and what will pay his bills. After one of these shady gigs, and after being a witness to a crime gone horribly wrong, Tony discovers that people around him are dying, for reasons that make no sense...and which just may implicate him.

Tony is running out of time: to solve the mystery of these deaths, to keep others from dying, and to keep himself from being a victim of what looks like murder, by other means.

First, go back and listen to The Dispatcher if you haven’t already. Murder by Other Means is the sequel and I don’t think it would be best as a stand-alone. The world is pretty much like our world except 99.9% of murder victims come back to life, transported from the murder scene to someplace they feel safe, usually their home. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, someone who steps in and kills you when you’re at risk of an unintentional death, like a car accident or unsuccessful surgery, letting you live 99.9% of the time.

This time around, Tony is taking some jobs that are maybe not as legal as he would like, but money is getting tight all around. It starts going awry when he is hired to help a businessman make it to China quicker than he could by plane. Then he’s a witness to a bank robbery that goes bad. When people start dying and Tony needs to figure out what’s going on before he ends up on that list. People can still be murdered, it just takes more creativity.

Murder by Other Means is clever and fun, light noir with a sci-fi backdrop. The plot is pretty straightforward with no big twists, but seeing how people adapt to the new reality is interesting and believable. The bad guys find ways to use the new system to their advantage, other people find ways to push their “fun” to new limits.

About John Scalzi

John Michael Scalzi II (born May 10, 1969) is an American science fiction author and former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Old Man’s War series, three novels of which have been nominated for the Hugo Award, and for his blog Whatever, where he has written on a number of topics since 1998. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2008 based predominantly on that blog, which he has also used for several charity drives. His novel Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. He has written non-fiction books and columns on diverse topics such as finance, video games, films, astronomy, writing and politics, and served as a creative consultant for the TV series Stargate Universe.

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