Travel by Bullet by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
John Scalzi understands that many people read fiction largely for its entertainment value. He gets me. This latest novella featuring Tony Valdez, The Dispatcher, is yet another entertaining story that I dispatched in just a few days (see what I did there?). Tony lives in an odd, parallel universe where almost everyone that is killed comes back to life, restored to some previous level of health and in a safe place. Tony is also our first-person narrator and he's just likable enough (despite being essentially a paid assassin, a dispatcher) and snarky enough to keep us engaged as he works his way through the latest mystery that came his way.
This one begins with the arrival of another dispatcher at the emergency room of the hospital where Tony works. Mason's in bad shape and dying, having jumped out of a moving car and gotten run over, and would seem to be a good candidate for a dispatch. But he refuses the services of the on-duty dispatcher and asks for Tony. He just wants Tony to be with him, as the closest thing to a friend he believes he has. After Tony hears Mason's story, he whispers a suggestion to Mason and suddenly dispatches (kills) him. Mason disappears and we're off to the races to discover what secrets they shared and why Mason is on the run.
Scalzi keeps the story lively, deftly introducing a wide variety of characters from all manner of social strata and brings the story to a quick and amazingly satisfying resolution. Even though this is the third entry in the series, reading the previous stories in unnecessary. Recommended.
Disclosure: Thank you to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.
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