Imagine a world where murder victims are returned to life, safe at home in their beds, their bodies reset to the condition of several hours prior to death. Now imagine how that could be exploited. That’s where Tony Valdez comes in.
Tony is the dispatcher of the title, someone who routinely “kills” people on the verge of death, maybe the result of accidents, maybe a failure in medical treatment. Since they are technically murdered, they are delivered home and given a second chance at life. But when a fellow dispatcher goes missing and Tony gets drawn into the investigation, it leads him into some dark corners of his business.
One of the things I particularly liked about The Dispatcher, while the central premise is thought out and how it works (including some loopholes) is explained, why it has happened is barely touched. The two main characters do acknowledge that it remains a mystery, but that doesn’t change the way it has affected their world. It also has all the snarkiness and amusing dialogue that I’ve come to expect from other Scalzi work. Part of me would like to see more of this world and maybe the main characters but part of me also thinks that The Dispatcher is a perfect stand-alone read.
The Dispatcher is a great little novella, easy to read and understand, and could very well be consumed in a single sitting. Perfect for a plane, train or anywhere else you have a couple hours to kill. Or if you like audiobooks, get the audio version and have Zachary Quinto read it to you.