The third novella in the Dispatcher urban fantasy series.


Publication year: 2022

Format: Audio

Running time: 3 hours, 43 minutes
Narrator: Zachary Quinto

Tony Valdez is a dispatcher: he kills people as humanely as possible. In this world, the vast majority of people who are intentionally killed, come back. The killed person disappears and so does any blood spatter. Clothes and all other items are left behind, though. The person reappears where ever they feel safest, usually at home. Also, any injuries suffered in the last couple of hours disappear.

The pandemic changed the dispatchers’ jobs a little because hospitals must have them on call now. The compassion act gives the right to families to dispatch a loved one. Unfortunately, most don’t know how it works; it’s not an instant cure. Tony works in a local hospital, usually with families.

Now, his fellow dispatcher and friend Mason is brought to the ER close to death. He jumped out of a moving car and right in front of another car. He’s asking to speak with Tony. The surgeon in charge thinks it’s best to dispatch him but Mason refuses. He tells Tony that he’s involved in something really dangerous and no place is safe for him. Tony assures him that Tony’s apartment is safe, and Mason slips something into Tony’s hand. Then Mason is dispatched.

When Tony returns home, Mason is waiting for him. But Mason refuses to tell Tony anything, saying it’s too dangerous. Soon, the police come asking for Tony, and people break into his apartment.

This was a very good addition to the series and I enjoyed it a lot. The story feels more modern because of the pandemic and some other things which I won’t spoil here. However, the plot is more complicated than in the previous novellas.

Detective Nora Langdon returns from the previous stories. She doesn’t fully trust Tony which makes her smart. I enjoyed Tony and Langdon working together. They’re friends but they know they have their differences. I’m hoping Scalzi will write more of these short crime stories.